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From dhak-dhak to dust

Madhuri Dixit is stuck in a fashion time warp even though her fans have long moved on

Written by Namrata Zakaria | Published: August 1, 2012 1:46:29 am

Madhuri Dixit is stuck in a fashion time warp even though her fans have long moved on

Channel-surfing,I recently flinched at an episode of Colors’ Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa where Madhuri Dixit,bouffant and curls,pancake filled in her laugh-lines,coloured eye shadow and all the get-up we remember her from the disastrous 80s and early 90s,wipe a tear off the corner of her eye before it hit her powdered cheek. She was moved to tears,she was saying,by a very heavy-set woman’s dance performance as a pan-handler,scavenging garbage dumps.

It would have been comical if it weren’t so offensive. Dixit,who came from a middle-class Maharashtrian background,couldn’t have forgotten India’s many malnourished when she married and moved to the US.

Undoubtedly,she’s a formidable talent as a performer. But at 45,it may not earn her enough money and nearly not enough opportunity. There’s always reality TV for celebrities on the fringe.

Dixit still conjures up the worst fashion crimes in Bollywood. She’s like a female Govinda. The excessive padding under her pointy bras would have been lampooned if the songs weren’t such big hits. (Note most of her hit songs are almost vulgar and revolve around the bust: ( Dhak Dhak from Beta ,Hum Ko Aaj Kal Hai ,from Sailaab ,and Choli Ke Peeche from Khalnayak ). Her purple sari in Hum Aapke Hain Koun was so matronly,I was almost glad she was made to hook up with Mohnish Behl and not Salman Khan.

Despite her classical face,her figure didn’t bring on envy. She was neither slim,nor voluptuous. She was short,stocky and had chubby arms that appeared worse in the short-sleeve blouses she favoured. She almost never exposed her legs,which were skinny,and didn’t work with the rest of her chunky frame.

She never looked good in western clothes,which is why I will always question her versatility. Even in Dil Toh Pagal Hai ,where she’s looked her best,she was overshadowed by the very glamorous Karisma Kapoor (who also proved to be a better dancer).

The off-screen Dixit still isn’t too different from the onscreen actor. It may be fine for an artiste of great calibre to not be a fashion maven but Dixit is clearly trying to get stylish. She may finally try nude makeup and beautifully pull her hair back in the Olay commercial,but her television and events appearances hark back the original frump.

Two years ago,a top fashion designer from Delhi aching to have a film actress promote him,was uber excited when his agents had bagged Dixit. “Big mistake,” I warned him. “Nothing can make her look fashionable.” I was right. She appeared on his front row wearing one of his outfits,but didn’t allow herself to be styled differently. She had the same voluminous blown-dry hair,rosy cheeks,glossy lips and adipose arms.

Interestingly,Dixit’s website has a section on fashion where the lady offers tips on handbags and nail polish: She likes “Medium sized shoulder slings”,says,“A basic black purse is a must have all through the year”,and advises that one’s height must be considered when choosing a handbag. She’s also gunning for Priyanka Chopra’s award-winning role in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion 2 . Indian movies have changed along with its actresses. Sridevi (Dixit’s contemporary who’s also making her comeback film this year) has easily kept herself modish with her fashion savvy and fabulous figure. Younger actresses,like Katrina Kaif in Chikni Chameli ,are happy to reveal what lies beneath the choli.

Madhuri Dixit,who’s going for the big-league once again,could do with a style update first.

namratanow@gmail.com

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