Diary of Hobbitt

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bollywood evolution - Plaits to buffonts to Silky Tresses

Bollywood Evolution-Plaits to Buffont to Silky Tresses

The advantage of having a set top box is the choice available to the viewer of not only multiple movie channels, but also , thanks to Zee network, various categories of movie channels e.g. Zee Premier , Zee cinema ,Zee Classics. Indeed the viewer is really and truly spoilt for choice !

Watching Zee Network’s different movie channels last week I was fascinated with the evolution of the heroine’s crowning glory over the years in Bollywood movies ( a trait which I share with members of my sex , and one that is totally alien to men !).

Indeed we have come a long way since the time when one important physical asset of the Indian woman was her long and lustrous thick black hair- the heroine(of movies of 40s & 50s ) would be portrayed as the true Bharatiya Nari , sporting a long and thick plait (which would have put fairy tale character Rapunzel of long locks fame to shame ! ). Interestingly , a woman sporting a short crop of hair or khulley bal would usually be either the vamp or a ‘club dancer ‘ or a wayward woman ! In the movie Chandan ka Palna , Meena Kumari pretends to transform from a meek and dutiful housewife (the full package- long plaited hair, saree, sindoor and bangles !) to (according to the film maker ) a brazen woman smoking, drinking and sporting a short crop of hair ( symbolic shot meant to convey throwing away all moral values like cutting off long tresses ! ). Today’s feminists would be up in arms if such a scene were to be shown in any movie !

Then came the swinging 60s & 70s heroine with her swinging hips ,swinging dangling earrings and the “buffont ‘ hairstyle (think it must have been the French who invented this hairstyle - hair piled up on top and made to resemble a birds nest (probably stuffed with some sort of hair bun to give that effect !) and knotted into a juda at the nape of the neck ! Of course the style would be modified according to the type of character - a village belle would have a short plait cascading behind & ending with a parandi ,(e.g. Asha Parekh in Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Vyjaythimala in Madhumathi ), an urban simple girl would have the same buffont in the front with a long plait ( e.g. Sharmila Tagore in Safar & Aradhana ) & a modern lass would sport the sophisticated ‘buffont’ which would end in a French bun at the nape of her neck.( e.g Rakhee in Sharmelee, Waheeda Rehmaan in Jewel Thief , Hema Malini in Dost ).

Another fashion of the late 60s was the “Sadhana Cut” made famous by yesteryear’s beautiful actress Sadhana. The Sadhana Haircut was either a plait or a short haircut with a fringe above the forhead. It was alsi referred to as ‘bangs ” -probably so called because the fringe literally bangs the forhead ! Needless to say, Sadhana sported this style in most of her movies.

The ” Buffont” with its various modifications finally died a mutilated death ( thanks to experiment at the hands of Bollywood’s hair stylists ) with ushering in of the enterprising 80s movies ( its another well acknowledged fact that the ‘enterprising 80’s ‘hair stylists churned out some of the most horrendous hair styles in the name of fashion !). The heroines no longer sported very long hair , neither did they sport a ‘buffont’ anymore. Instead the Bollywood heroine of this period started sporting short cropped hair or long tresses.

The 90s and the following years finally brought in style and statement to Bollywood’s hair style. Bollywood actresses of this period have their own qualified hairdressers who are well versed in the art of hairstyling as well as in the art of hair style. The bollywood heroine of today is a far cry from her counterpart of the bygone era movies. The image of the Bharatiya Nari as portrayed in the movies of bygone era has also undergone a change as todays modern woman as portrayed in Bollywood movies is a woman of substance who balances a career and home, a woman who drives fast cars,who does’nt make a big deal out of enjoying a drink or too , a woman who enjoys spending an evening with her friends in a disco, pub or restaurant and yes - A woman who sports a short haircut too !


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