No offence to the reigning queen of extremely loud and incredibly colourful Dolly Bindra but when it comes to making a flashy fashion statement,the ladys got competition. The desperate housewives of Indian television are out to challenge her crown,so are their small-screen daughters and,not forgetting,their mothers-in-law.
The latest entrant in this arena is Tina Dattas new avatar on Colors Uttaran,Meethi. The show may have jumped 18 years,but its fashion has hit the reverse gear. Datta,till now popular as the simpering Ichcha on the show,giggles in gaspingly tight blouses,wears long ghaghara-esque skirts and pancake makeup,and hams. On Chhoti Bahu,Rubina Dilaik is at two extreme ends of the sartorial drama as plain Jane Radhika and her twin sister Imarti in body-hugging clothes. True to Indian TVs gimmicky characterisation,the goody-two-shoes character of Radhika dresses dull,bordering on being boring,while Imarti with grey shades tries to be funky in her outlandish outfits.
Earlier,Hunar Halli made our heads turn as the feisty,nattily dressed Mili in 12/24 Karol Bagh on Zee TV. But on Colors Chhal Sheh Aur Maat,an expressionless Halli is killing the suspense with flat hair and sloppy fashion sense. Switch to Jamuna Paar on Imagine,and Pammiji (played by Amita Nangia) is out there with her gaudy gewgaws,tight synthetic gowns,shiny lipgloss and blow-dried bouffant. Nangia loves this look. All my life I have done serious roles. So,I love playing this character and have even given my inputs regarding her looks, she says.
There are more actors vying for a place in the worst-dressed brigade. If ill-fitting salwar-kameezes on 12/24 Karol Bagh were not enough,Smriti Kalra has dropped sizes and pulled her hair back in a scrunchy from the 70s,slipped on tight stretch jeans and dull kurtis and a purple sweater in an attempt to to pass off as a Class XII student in Suvreen Guggal,Topper of the Year. The characters from Diya Aur Baati Hum are loud to say the least,while the Saathiya cast looks like overdressed baaratis.
Even as television has undergone several changes,Sudha Chandrans appearance,that reads garish,has not changed. She is the assertive matriarch on Saharas Jhilmil Sitaron Ka Aangan Hoga with her big bindi,choking baubles,and bright saris. Taking cue from this veteran of gaudy looks are three other small screen mothers-in-law Kokila Modi (Rupal Patel) on Saath Nibhana Saathiya (Star Plus),Mrs Kaushik (Vibha Chibber) from Mrs Kaushik Ki Paanch Bahuyein (Zee) and Gayatri Sindhiya (Zahida Parveen) from Punar Vivah (Zee). Ironically,Chhiber who loves to be in salwar kameez and jeans-kurta,hates draping a sari. Its heavy and makes one stiff, she laments. Meanwhile,the colour-me-blind award goes to the ladies of Life OKs Amrit Manthan and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai (Star Plus).
Instead of going global with their trends and styling,the actors on Indian television are getting worse, says fashion designer Mandira Virk,adding how television production houses need to invest in getting the right stylist on board. If a film,in three hours,can set a trend for an anarkali or a sharara,then why not a television show? The inspiration,she says,lies in popular international sitcoms such as Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City.
Even though Shivani Shirali works as a television designer,she cant always fathom their style sense. As a designer for television shows,its difficult for me to relate to it, confesses Shirali,who has done outfits for shows like Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon (Star Plus) and Dill Mill Gayye (Star One). Shirali recommends instant makeover for Avika Gor as Roli in Sasural Simar Ka.
The worst of fashion has for long been positioned as rustic appeal,but Vinta Nanda differs. The maker of Tara,blames it on the propensity to make the characters over-the-top. There really is no connection with sociopolitical realities and the television characters. Instead,Bollywood and its item girls are reference points, she says.