As I was spending the last days of 2008 at home, I found myself watching Bollywood movies on the Internet. I have always been a fan of Bollywood. Call me tacky or just weird, but I crave everything Bollywood. Is it the overly positive message? The never ending dancing scenes? The dramatic heart breaking story line? Or just the costumes? I do not know what it is but I am drawn.
I have been drawn to Bollywood for quite a while now. One of my biggest dream was to visit India one day. I had to settle for Little India in Singapore during my numerous trips to Asia because I could not find someone to do the trip to India with me (my hubby is not a big fan; he prefers Malaysia or Singapore which is more diverse he says. But what does he know?) It had been great but never close to the real deal I guess. While in Singapore, I usually like to shop for Pakistani like tunics and Saree like skirts. I also buy lots of Henna for my fingers and Amlaa oil for my hair.
When did this addiction for what I call Bollywood Fashion started? And what is Bollywood Fashion anyway?
Bollywood Fashion is everything that is inspired by Indian/ Pakistani style clothings. From Saree to Shalwar Kameez and every accessories in between.
I like Sarees for the rich colors and sophisticated cut. I do not think that I can actually wear a Saree because of the bear midriff thing. However I could customize it to be more Hijab friendly.
Shalwar Kameez are another thing. They are just tunics with pants. They can be long sleeves or short sleeves, made with linen or embroidered. They are elegant yet easy to wear. I own several shalwar from my shopping trips to Singapore/ Malaysia. I also buy colorful tunics during the summer in trendy stores such as the Gap. I enjoy wearing them with jeans when I want to be casual.
And as for the accessories, I die for the Indian glass bangles: they are colorful and you can stack up hundred in one arm. One a trip to Malaysia with a girlfriend, I saw two lovely Indian women wearing those bracelets. They looked so fancy yet elegant, I was so jealous. Recently I stopped dreaming about owning some and just bought a variety in green and golden to accessorize my Senegalese outfit for a wedding. They were just the right thing. I did not wear too many like the Indian ladies do, but just enough to be noticed.
Moreover, I like the Payaal or silver anklet. Back in Japan I bought some in an Indian style shop and used to wear them around the clock. I loved the sound it makes when I walk. They were very sexy indeed.
Furthermore, I like the Chunari or scarf. Since I decided to wear the Hijab, my craze for scarves have just increased. I own several now. But I guess my next move, would be to get some that will match the tunics I plan on buying. I would love on in very bold pattern fit for a wedding ceremony.
Back in 2005/06, Khussa or Indian style shoes were fashionable back home. They are cute yet practical like ballet flats. I gave in to the trend and bought myself some in black embroidered with beads like this one below:
Finally, I think the Henna is just the perfect accessory. First of all, in Islam it is approved by GOD (there is a Hadith that stated that if a person dies wearing henna, he or she will go to heaven); it is very beautiful yet has curative qualities to it. Personally I think henna is sexy when it covers the entire hand. Indian brides do wear some before the wedding. I am planning of having some henna design made on my hands if I can just figure out a way of letting it dry for 12 hours without using my hands.
Bridal Mehendi (Henna)
I have no idea when this craze for Bollywood fashion started? My first recollection of my liking of Bollywood Fashion was back in 1996. I was not even 16 yet. My father gave me a nice green material with gold and cream flower design he bought during one of his trip to Asia. I brought it to a tailor who made me a custom Saree. It was not even close to the real Saree because it was a short tunic with a floor length tight skirt.
My favorite and only tailor made Saree ( Eid el Kabir 96)
But the beauty of it was that from the side of the skirt was stitched a long scarf that I could drape over my shoulders so it look like a Saree. I wore it for Eid and I was an instant sensation. My friends loved the outfit and some guys even gazed at me in total awe. I loved this outfit because It made me feel like I was a princess. I kept it until it was too tight to wear (yeah I gained a few pounds over the years). Now it surely belongs to some second cousin twice removed I have never heard of.
Some years later, my father gave some men style Shalwar that some he received from a friend as a souvenir from his trip to Pakistan. The tunics were too tight for him so he handed them to me. I just loved them because they were so easy to wear and very light for the crazy Senegalese summer. I have to say my father did play an important role in my addiction for Bollywood fashion.
So did Bollywood movies or Indian movies in general. Even when I was a child, one of the movie I remember watching was Naagin (Female Snake). I went to spend some of the summer holidays with my cousins who gathered near the VCR to watch this Indian movie. Back in those days I have to say that the story line freaked me ( It was about a female snake who could take the appearance of a woman to avenge her lover killed by some 10 men). When I recently watched it on YouTube, I was less frightened and more attracted to the outfits. The same could be told about Monsoon Wedding, my favorite Indian movie. I always cry when I watch it. However, I always drool over the costumes the cast wore specially the women.
I envy Indian women. They have beautiful skin, beautiful long hairs, beautiful colorful outfits (did I mention the Henna). On top of it, some parts of their tradition is just so respectful- I like the fact that they give so much respect to the elders that they touch their feet to greet them-so humble. Sometimes, I tell myself that if I was to be born again, I would love to be born an Indian woman like Ash Rai. However, I just have to be happy being myself. I should stop drooling over the magical world of Bollywood movies. Because after all, they are just movies. Come one, let us be real? Who spend their whole day singing and dancing? Or preparing to be beautiful for their men? I am sure outside of this glamorised Bollywood set, real Indian women have many things to do to survive in this crazy world.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Nevertheless, I cannot stop envying them....