1971-1980: The Movies

Though the 1950s is considered the golden age of Indian cinema, it is  the 1970s that provides an astonishing breadth of cinema in the country. There is the fun loopiness of 70s Bollywood (before there was Rajnikant there was Ajit), middle class dramas (e.g. the films of Basu Chatterjee) and the arthouse films that emerged from every part of the country in the decade. The 70s look in each genre of cinema is stylistically specific and easily mined with varying degrees of success by films set in the 70s. Often an actress’ look provides the basis for styling. The look for each genre:

Kangana Ranaut channelling Zeenat Aman in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (1 and 2).

Ileana D’Cruz’s Jaya Bhaduri look for Barfi! - though the pleats pinned at the shoulder is more an 80s thing.(3 and 4).

And the comparisons between Chitrangada and Smita Patil in Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi. (5 and 6).


earth2infini said: Btw, been curious how you ensure the reply icon without a question mark ending the text

I have the reply function enabled.  I am not sure about the question mark thing….

1971-1980: The Festival Sari

Kanjeevaram saris  kind of change every few years and in Pic 1 this magazine from the 70s offers “pudhiya designgal” aka new designs for Deepavali with names and descriptions for the saris (e.g. the blue and green sari in pic 1 is billed as a “Selvi Design” with a “double shade border”).  It would be interesting to chart the changes, the 70s seems to have very broad borders and quite often lines, checks and buttis on the body of the sari.

Pics 2 and 3 are of Diwali ensembles in Tamil Nadu and other states. The other states listed are Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal.  Though Gujarat and West Bengal don’t seem accurate to me, they seem more like the Punjab and Gujarat.

Kanjeevaram kind of went national with the 1980s and Rekha.

All images appear courtesy Raghu. Many thanks!

Dancer (Yamini Krishnamurthy), 1970s*.

*seems more 1950s to me…

Anonymous said: hii so I just came across this post on makeup in Indian cinema and I was wondering how accurate it is?? also are you aware of any blogs which have similar posts? thanks :) makeupartistsofcolour tumblr com/post/97507391020/bollywoods-makeup-evolution-1940s-1950s

Hi there, I had a quick look and I think its broadly correct. Though makeup could be strong in the 1950s (face powder love!!), just not as much as in the 1960s and 1970s.

In general a fair few make up trends in the early decades follow the West purely because a lot of modern make up components like mascara, eye shadow, blush, lipstick etc. weren’t made in India for a long time. I think Lakme was the first to offer a wide range tailored for Indian skin - at least some of the persistent trends of the 1980s/1990s like brownish shades of lipstick for e.g. are possibly due to this. Which idea - that only a certain colour palette could be employed -  I think has now been discarded.

I am not sure about other blogs - anyone aware of similar stuff on tumblr?

I can’t seem to message so thank you to the person running vintageindia for a wonderful stash of pics!

earth2infini said: These are the classic women of Hindi films for my generation. I have no idea who the current crop beyond Madhuri Dixit and various SRK heroines whose name slip my mind right now.

Yeah Rekha, Shabana, Smita etc were goddesses when I was young for sure.  I like them but I have a thing for actresses of the 1930s-1950s :)

Of the present lot I like the way Kangana and Shahana dress (and as actresses) but often it really depends on an ensemble or the way a look is put together.

1971-1980: The Blouse

The blouse as we know it, the kind a small time tailor can run up for you with cloth from the local “matching centre”, is everywhere and on trend in the 1970s (pics 1-3). Key features: must match some component of the sari, almost always plain, short sleeves and normally ending a little below the bra. It is a very modern version of the brief choli, like a final final cut-off from Victorian influences. Of course you could skip the sleeves and head straight to the halter too:) - pics 4 and 5 have Sharmila and Rekha (@8.30) looking effortlessly awesome in the look.

The 1970s was very matchy-matchy.  In Pic 3 for e.g., Raakhee  has a matching bindi, handbag and more. And the crochet net for a hair bun (also popular in the 70s).

The pallu was fairly short in this decade (pics 6-8). After a decade of structured sarees, the 1970s provides one of the most casual drapes of the sari

1971-1980: The Short Sari

The tribal sari is a short sari worn in many parts of India. In the late 1960s/1970s you see a glamourisation of the style in the films (this was also the decade of both Satyam Shivam Sundaram and Jait re Jait). It isn’t specifically tribal always, it seems to replace earlier garments like the ghaghra-choli to denote - and sexify - rusticity in films.  And it was filmy fashion enough to be reproduced on Falkland Road.

In our times, amongst the many sari variations that have been attempted can be included the chhotu sari but for some reason it has never caught on.

In the pics: Rekha (1), Mumtaz in Apna Desh (2), Hema Malini (3), Yogita Bali (4), Sabya chhotu sari (5) and to be id’ed (6).


1971-1980: The Magazines.

Though Baburao Patel had a gossipy paper running in the 50s, the easy-breezy salacious celeb magazine in India is a product of the 1970s and has never been bettered since. Stardust, started in 1971, wrote about the private lives of stars and bestowed on them monikers like Garam Dharam, Shotgun Sinha and Asli Ghee.  And in 1976 a 20 year old named Namita Gokhale started Super - on its cover in pic 2 is Yogita Bali aka Asli Ghee.

On the other side of the border there was Dhanak magazine (pic 1) which seems to have been all kinds of 70s cool. A bit more on 70s Pakistan here.

On the covers: plain sari+plain matching blouse; plucked eyebrows, the penchant for jewellery around the head….(X, X)

redhester said: i love your blog!

Thank you!

1971-1980-Hair and Eyes

For hairstyles, it is back to earth after the towering heights of the 60s. 70s ladies liked their hair flat. Sometimes the front bits were cut and left loose and styled (called bangs back then - but not a fringe). A simple loose plait was common though with the back bun size did matter. Flowers were worn at the side, like in the 1960s.  Eye make up remained dramatic - this was more subdued in the latter half of the decade but as the decade progressed eyebrows tended to be plucked to an inch. And perhaps it is the effect of colour photographs but you see a lot of bindis far removed from the traditional red. This is a decade where the bindi as fashion is far more common than in previous decades.

In the pics: Radha Saluja (1), Jaya Bhaduri (2), Rekha (3), Sharmila Tagore (4), Yogita Bali (5), Shabana Azmi (6), Mumtaz (7), Sulakshana Pandit (8).

1971-1980: The Western influences

The wide pants of the decade, dramatic belts, go go boots, crop tops (a 70s fav), hot pants, printed pant suits (and other kinds as seen here and here), maxis, strong collars for dresses and tops, crochet (also here) and much more are around in this decade. Aka you didn’t HAVE to be in demure clothing to indicate you were a heroine. Though crop tops were not exactly street fashion! Maxis (or long skirts and tops) and to a lesser extent trousers with short tunics or tops were more commonly worn to college and the like.

And of course the Bobby polka dot was the best know film inspired fashion trend of the decade. Apart from the guru kurta that is.

In the pics: Zeenat Aman (1, 2, 3, 9), Reena Roy (4), Dimple Kapadia (5), Nazneen (6, excellent fashion post), Parveen Babi (7), Rehana Sultan (8) and Reena Roy (10).

PS: I didn’t mean this to be a Zeenat Aman post but her stamp on the fashions of the 1970s is undeniable.

badass-bharat-deafmuslim-artista said: is that really Shabana? she looked so different from how she was in the early 80s.

That is indeed Shabana.

The Sari: 1971-1980 

A print sari on Shabana Azmi for a 1975 Phoenix advertisement.

And the present in every decade but subtly different each time around plain sari on Shobha Rajadhyaksha for a 1972 advertisement for Ponds. In this decade matched with a plain blouse. Also see X.