Bollywood’s Timeless Fashion Icons

While many are remembered for their finest acts on the silver screen, some actors are remembered for their inimitable style. At InOnIt, we list Bollywood’s timeless fashion icons who had immense star power both on the screen and off it.

Sharmila Tagore: We can forgive the Western media for their ignorance but not Mallika Sherawat. Else she would have known that this great, grand niece of literature Czar Rabindranath Tagore, was the first Indian actress to don the bikini in 1967 on the cover of Filmfare magazine. She even dazzled the audience with her monokini in An Evening in Paris. One of Indian cinema’s classic beauty rule, the Winged Eyeliner look, was popularized by her in the all-time classics, Amar Prem and Aradhana though her predecessors Saira Banu and Sadhana first sported the look.

Sharmila Tagore in An Evening in Paris

Sharmila Tagore in An Evening in Paris

Rajesh Khanna – The first Superstar of the Hindi film industry held his own charm while emoting those evergreen characters on the silver screen. His jackets and suits had a huge following during the 60’s and the 70’s. Especially the Guru Kurta that was worn by poor farmers in festivals came into fashion when Kaka adorned it in films like Anand, Kati Patang and Amar Prem. He also immortalised himself in back collars and rolled back sleeves in his appearances in Do Raaste, Aap Ki Kasam and Haathi Mere Saathi.

Rajesh Khanna in Anand (L) and Kati Patang (R)

Rajesh Khanna in Anand (L) and Kati Patang (R)

Zeenat Aman, Parveen Babi and Dimple Kapadia – The trio’s arrival in the 70’s brought the advent of the urban, western heroine who was unapologetic in her sartorial choices and in her demeanor. They were not just glam dolls for decorative purposes but they also delivered their career-best performances alongside established heroes. Their films Hulchul, Charitra and Bobby broke all norms of the quintessential Bollywood heroine who usually stood by as her man’s arm candy.

The Gorgeous trio of the 1970's. Zeenat Aman, Parveen Babi and Dimple Kapadia

The Gorgeous trio of the 1970′s. Zeenat Aman, Parveen Babi and Dimple Kapadia

Amitabh Bachchan – Let’s leave the jazzy adjectives aside. Words will fail us in describing Big B’s humility and larger-than life stardom. They will fail us further when it comes to describing his legendary style. He continues to inspire and exude style with whatever he wears. Earlier this year, the Hindustan Times Mumbai honoured him with the Timeless Style Icon tag. I guess, the rest is self explanatory.

The Endless Shades of BigB.

The Endless Shades of Big B.

Rekha – If you (some of you) admire Vidya Balan’s sarees , then the actress would credit the inspiration to the evergreen diva, Rekha. Her penchant for Kanjeevaram sarees and the jhumkas (chandelier earrings) have been inspiring many women who wish to dress the Desi way. Her chiffon sarees in Yash Chopra’s Silsila had the men swooning over her grace and dreamy eyes. She even brought the Anarkali salwars back in vogue with Umrao Jaan much after Madhubala first introduced it in Mughal-e-Azam. Her femme fatale act in Khoon Bhari Maang made the vamp absolutely loved and loathed.

(From L-R) Rekha in her appearances in Bandit Queen, Silsila and Umrao Jaan.

(From L-R) Rekha in her appearances in Khoon Bhari Maang, Silsila and Umrao Jaan.

Rishi Kapoor – After Big B, if there is anyone who manages to make women go berserk at 60, it is Rishi Kapoor. He was best known as the chocolate lover boy who started out as the bespectacled geek in Bobby opposite a bikini clad Dimple Kapadia. His knitted sweaters and white shoes became a style mantra that men wanted to adopt and woo their women in. But his most reliable accessory is his 1000-watt smile that makes every appearance of his, memorable. Even in his devilish and menacing act in Agneepath as Rauf Lala, his grin sent a chill down our spines leaving us shuddering much after we had walked out of the screens. His debonair Principal act in Student of the Year was very stylish and metrosexual.

The Eternal Sunshine of an ageless Rishi Kapoor

The Eternal Sunshine of an ageless Rishi Kapoor

The Hindi film industry continues to deliver till date in terms of style and entertainment with the current generation. But the era gone by gave Bollywood, these timeless fashion icons who continue to inspire and seek inspiration from the common folklore. They are  not only the pride of Indian cinema but are also forces to reckon with for generations to come.

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