Autumn Favorites and Fabric and Bollywood . . .

It's bordering on autumn here in Minnesota . . .

Tumblr. The ultimate and comprehensive source of every hipstery autumn photo you could ever want. 

Autumn makes me think of five things: 

1. Academics. 

No "explainer" required. (My theory is that at the occasion of my birth, an evil fairy cursed me to prick my finger on the spindle of learning, and fall into the slumber of academia for the rest of my life. I just keep finding excuses to go back.)

I blame Indiana Jones for making me believe school was cool. Nobody could ever make me unlearn-that lesson. 

2.The 70's. 

What doesn't make me think of the 70's you say? Well, I swear I have reasons this time ;)
Autumn colors are kind of a 70s palate, right? Puke greens and oranges and reds and yellows. I love them all.  In my brain, however, the 70's association with autumn in part must be due to my early adolescent exposure and fascination with 1970's Love Story, set at wool and knit dominated-Harvard in the fall. Think the melodrama and sweaters of Kabhi Khabhie (1976), without Shashi and with a much worse second half. (I know, it's hard to imagine.)

But now, of course, I have had the good fortune to find a host of fabulous representations of the 70's that would have caused my 7th grade self to collapse in sheer delight (Thank you Mumbai circa 1975. I owe you one.) No need to mine stupid and depressing Hollywood films to get my fix anymore!

No, I will not, Parveen. I WANT your room. I mean your forced-wedding preparation boudoir. Whatever. 
Note: My long-held obsession with chic flares and (the actors who wear them the best) probably deserves a whole post in itself . . . and I will say that I still have yet to see someone out-shine Vinod and Amitabh in the bell-bottom wearing department.

I mean, look at these two. I realize now that I have  A LOT of screencaps that showcase Vinotabh bell-bottoms. 

Unless that person is, say, Neetu Singh.

Forget Charlie's Angels, Neetu is the ultimate poster girl for the bell-bottoms and tied-t-shirt look.

3. Gothic tales of horror, love, and woe. 

Not necessarily just starring adults... Some of my favorite Gothic tales star children. Probably because children understand fear the best.

Return to Oz (1984). A Gothic heroine's journey,
and the one movie I would give to someone
who wanted to understand my innermost psyche. 
Fall means the obligatory digging through my closet to locate seasonally-craved DVDs (Jane Eyre [BBC 2006], Rebecca [1940], or Frankenstein [1931] . . . come to think of it, I still have yet to own a copy of Frankenstein. Hmmm. Gross oversight.)

Fall also means I must make a list of disturbing and awesome movies I have yet to introduce my younger siblings to. Now that I think of it, I should really schedule that Beetlejuice (1988) night once and for all. You can't talk Gothic without talking about Winona Ryder in that movie. And maybe The Birds (1963) as well. Hmmm, I don't know if I've subjected my 12-year-old brother to that one yet. Plus, there's always my yearly re-watch of Return to Oz (1984), and maybe this October I'll finally get around to seeing my brother's annual watch: Labyrinth (1986).

Plus there's the weird and wonderful and Gothic in fiction.

*The City of Dreaming Books (Walter Moers)

*A Wind in the Door (Madeleine L'Engle)

*Harry Potter. It counts. It always counts.

*Is Underground or The Stolen Lake (Joan Aiken)

*The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova)

4. All things cinnamon and nutmeg-filled. 

And in related tastes: Buffy the Vampire Slayer in binge doses. 'Nuf said.

5. And finallllllyyyyy . . . FABRIC. 

Plaid. Paisley. Knit. Fall is just the best time to show your bohemian leanings. . . and I have more than enough Bohemian leanings to fill several blogs (and several closets). If I was going to get lost somewhere, I think I might like it to be a fabric bazaar.

Like this one in my beloved Mostar, Bosnia. 
Dirty little secret: a lot of the least flattering outfits I've bought in my life have been due to an unfortunate infatuation with the fabric rather than the cut or the style. 

So, to celebrate fall, here are some of the memorable "fabric moments" of Bollywood for me: 

Jaya's Gypsy Outfits from Zanjeer (1973): 

Dharmendra's Legs Robe from Raja Jani (1972): 

You're welcome. 

And on the topic of curtains and Dharmendra: 

Chupke Chupke (1975)

Rakhee's Shaddi Saris from, well, everything: 

Kabhi Kabhie (1976)

Shehzada (1972)

Sharmilee (1971)

The Snake Assassin/Qawwali outfits from Parvarish (1977): 

When I got a closer look at these, I realized you could practically see the sleeves unraveling on screen. However, while they lasted, these would have been awesome to wear. 

Manisha Koirala's symbolically-laden costumes in Satrangi Re, from Dil Se (1998):

This robe/housecoat from Blackmail (1973): 

All of Shabana Azmi's ember-like and bitterness-evoking yellow numbers from Junoon (1978): 

Sanjeev Kumar's borrowed clothes in Anamika (1973): 

These daring dacoit duds from Kuchhe Dhaage (1973):

Or maybe it's just Vinod IN them that appeals to me. I can't be sure. 

Sharmila's orange striped "The snozzberries taste like snozzberries" wall-paper-y harem pants and matching top from Raja Rani (1973): 

This dreamy, I don't know if she's real or not-sari from Sharmilee (1971): 

This turban from Kaala Patthar (1979):

Rajesh-ji's suit (that for once I actually think is well tailored) in Ajanabee (1974): 

Absolutely everything Rakhee wears in Doosara Aadmi (1977): 

Neetu's costumes in this film were almost as fabulous. 

If anyone can make me like this shade of (Barbie) pink, Zeenat can and does in this scene from Ajanabee: 

And finally, the last prize for now . . . awarded for sheer and demonstrated ability to pull the crazy "off" as they say: 

Dharmendra in Blackmail 

What's your favorite fabric moment in a Hindi film? 


  1. Delightful post, Miranda--it made me nostalgic for autumn colors (since I live in a place without any) and, improbably, for 70s fabric design. Where did that elementary-school purple paisley shirt with puff sleeves ever disappear to?

    And I'm so glad you mentioned Return to Oz, which manages to be both a sequel of sorts to the 1939 film and brilliant adaptation of some of L. Frank Baum's later Oz books--an overlooked gem.

    Happy autumn!

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it, P :) I do have impossible hopes of someday walking into a thrift store and finding that shirt/tie combo of Dharmendra's. As regards to awakening nostalgia for 70's fabric design, nothing would make me happier than to see more people embrace certain 70's looks again ;) However, I will concede that some things that the gods and goddesses of Bollywood pull off ... would look ridiculous on us mere mortals. Rakhee and Dharmendra can almost do no wrong sartorially.

    Also, so glad to find a fellow Return to Oz lover. I read most of Baum's books as a child, and I'm still amazed at how well the movie walks the line between the books and the first adaptation.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts