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Thread: What's dirty about Amrapali?

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    Default What's dirty about Amrapali?





    On the very first day of the shoot, I was blown away by my costume,” says actress Vidya Balan, when we catch up with her on the sets of The Dirty Picture in Mumbai. “I’ve grown up watching actresses wear Amrapali outfits and rollick in the hills. And here I am, getting to do all of that. The fact that I get to wear a classic costume that’s come down from the silent movie era is really special,” says Balan, whose character is based on Silk Smitha’s life.
    From heroines of the black-and-white silent mythologicals clad in a dhoti and stanpatti or kancholi (a bustier tied at the back) with a dupatta thrown over the head and shoulders, to the ‘boombaat’ siren Balan plays in Milan Luthra’s latest, the Amrapali outfit has indeed come a long way.

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    Legendary status

    But doyenne of costume design, Bhanu Athaiya, designed actress Vyjayanthimala’s look for the 1966 film Amrapali, is not impressed. “Do those who call this outfit the Amrapali even know who Amrapali was?” she says. “Her legendary beauty led citizens of the erstwhile kingdom of Vaishali (today’s Bihar) to select her as the beauty of the year.” Once director Lekh Tandon told her the concept of the film, this Sir JJ School of Art gold medallist who has designed costumes for over 100 films, began her research. “Unlike the Buddha, who there are many statues to take inspiration from, there was no reference for Amrapali.”

    Athaiya took it on as a challenge to get the look right. She travelled to the Ajanta caves to study Buddhist frescoes of the era. In fact, so authentic was the look she designed that it’s become a template for women’s costumes in all period films since. In her trademark humility, Athaiya gives credit to Vyjayanthimala: “She did justice to the costume. She was a beautiful, trained dancer, and a fine, accomplished actress. This is what brought the costume its legendary status.”


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    Bikini-Amrapali fusion
    Film historian Mukund Joshi says this classic look, with a skin-toned full-sleeved blouse, was worn even by the likes of well-known yesteryears actress Jayshri Gadkar, who almost always played the mother. “Perhaps, rather than accentuate the actresses’ curves, it was thought wise to tone down their more-than-ample hips. So the dhoti got replaced with a lungi-like garment that had pleats down the centre.”

    This look was to be shaken up like little else with the arrival of cabaret costumes. The huge following of these songs for ‘visual’ appeal meant the two piece bikini collision with the Amrapali outfit, a collision that Bollywood has not quite recovered from. One of the best examples of this is Raj Kapoor’s Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), where Athaiya again donned the designer’s hat. “Zeenat Aman’s character wears skimpy cholis and ghaghras but there are scenes in which we can see the bikini-Amrapali outfit too,” says Joshi.
    Today, there are a number of references of the Amrapali for costume designers. But in 1984, while filming Utsav, a film based on the sixth century Sanskrit play ‘Mrichakatika’, the biggest production challenge was designing costumes for the era. “Once the film began garnering rave reviews for its look, many — including Rekha who played the lead character Vasantsena — tried to hog credit for it,” says senior playwright, actor, and director of this classic, Girish Karnad. “All the credit should go to designers Jayoo and Nachiket Patwardhan who worked hard on the look.”
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    Mythological and present-day outfit
    Jayoo laughs as she recalls Karnad’s brief: “A true depiction of the period at any cost, or get fired.” She says the biggest challenge was creating the evolutionary stage of the modern-day sari. “To me it was like finding the missing link between the Amrapali outfit and the sari. I remember reading every available description, seeing all possible sculptures, and attempting the drapes on myself and all those who were willing to be experimented upon.”
    Television followed in the footsteps of film when they decided to go mythological in the mid ‘80s. “With smaller budgets and tighter schedules, the designers did their best,” says designer Nikhat Mariyam Neerushaa, who’s been designing for TV shows for nearly a decade. She admits Athaiya’s template is still the best, but adds that she also liked the look in Utsav and Shyam Benegal’s TV series Bharat Ek Khoj. “Those will be reference points for anything to do with a period look.”
    The slim-yet-curvy look that the Amrapali outfit underlines, has led to the creation of churidaar-pyjamas being stitched with folds so that it looks draped, Jayoo says. “This highlights the body contours as is the demand today.”
    Take Kareena Kapoor’s look in Asoka (2001), says Mukund Joshi. “The same outfit looks more authentic because it went minimalist. But I wonder if Kareena can pull of her ‘san sanana’ look in her current skinny size.” Perhaps Balan would agree. Having been asked to put on weight for The Dirty Picture, she’s been eating every two hours for the curvy look that will fill out her costumes.

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    Nice Information..
    Really good excuses to cover sexy look of vidya

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheikh View Post



    Bikini-Amrapali fusion
    Film historian Mukund Joshi says this classic look, with a skin-toned full-sleeved blouse, was worn even by the likes of well-known yesteryears actress Jayshri Gadkar, who almost always played the mother. “Perhaps, rather than accentuate the actresses’ curves, it was thought wise to tone down their more-than-ample hips. So the dhoti got replaced with a lungi-like garment that had pleats down the centre.”

    This look was to be shaken up like little else with the arrival of cabaret costumes. The huge following of these songs for ‘visual’ appeal meant the two piece bikini collision with the Amrapali outfit, a collision that Bollywood has not quite recovered from. One of the best examples of this is Raj Kapoor’s Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), where Athaiya again donned the designer’s hat. “Zeenat Aman’s character wears skimpy cholis and ghaghras but there are scenes in which we can see the bikini-Amrapali outfit too,” says Joshi.
    Today, there are a number of references of the Amrapali for costume designers. But in 1984, while filming Utsav, a film based on the sixth century Sanskrit play ‘Mrichakatika’, the biggest production challenge was designing costumes for the era. “Once the film began garnering rave reviews for its look, many — including Rekha who played the lead character Vasantsena — tried to hog credit for it,” says senior playwright, actor, and director of this classic, Girish Karnad. “All the credit should go to designers Jayoo and Nachiket Patwardhan who worked hard on the look.”
    ohhh this is the best...
    i wanna see malaika arora doing the same role in remake of this movie. some one make a remake of this movie with her with more hotness in this blistering cold winter

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    tfs..................

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarmantra View Post
    ohhh this is the best...
    i wanna see malaika arora doing the same role in remake of this movie. some one make a remake of this movie with her with more hotness in this blistering cold winter
    superb thought bhai....i agree
    Last edited by rhyme_boy; 28-11-2011 at 08:06 PM.

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    You recommend a great product! http://unrelo.com/2hgK

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