From steep to sky-high in fashion - Vidya Balan!
Bollywood sets its own rules for its “heroines”. A skinny build, a seductive pout, skimpy dresses under the best designer labels and such other trademark styles that are synonymous to every other glam doll in the tinsel town. And then, there are some that break the stereotype and set their own standards. If there’s one such woman in the current crop of Bollywood’s leading ladies, then the name that immediately springs to mind is Vidya Balan. She has redefined the clichés associated with current Hindi movie actresses who engage in an undeclared competition amongst themselves to be slimmer than everyone else, to possess those perfect bodily features and flaunt them to the best of their capabilities. And amidst all these “Barbies”, we have a woman who loves her curves and has no qualms about showing them off with élan and chutzpah. Onscreen or off it, what we mostly find her in, is sarees. She loves to drape herself in the ‘desi’ avatar- carrying off all those silks and Kanjivarams, as beautifully as ever! Big bindis and equally well-suited heavy jewellery that complements her sarees gives her the quintessential Indian woman look, and makes her completely stand apart from the Bolly bandwagon of actresses who are more like plastic beauties. She is loved for how she dresses and thus she has managed to carve out a niche for herself even in the sphere of fashion, though following a clearly unconventional route! However, things weren’t as rosy as they are now. Ms.Balan (who’s now Mrs. Siddharth Roy Kapur), in the earlier phase of her career, has been severely, though often with subtle sarcasm, been criticised for her sense of fashion. Those were the days when she had attempted to get under the skin of the prototype called “Bollywood heroine”. Her botched-up style statement in movies like Heyy Babyy, Kismat Connection etc. garnered wide cynicism from the Bolly biggies belonging to all quarters. Her voluptuous build was continuously under the scanner, and this is when she chose to play her cards to her utmost credit! Femininity lies in the curvaceous frame, and not in “size zero”, this is what Vidya showed, and how! Of course, Sabyasachi Mukherjee was like her Fairy Godmother and had a crucial role to play in turning the tables around for her. She got over her “podgy” self, having given up on the A-line dresses and body-hugging outfits that coupled with her short hairstyle was an unpalatable cocktail. With her movies that followed, such as Paa, Ishqiya and No One Killed Jessica, she had emerged as the embodiment of womanly elegance, with earthy hues and graceful ensembles. In these movies, she sported a range of styles from arty cotton sarees to loose shirts and cool sling bags, and was gradually undergoing the process of breaking the mould. And finally, with The Dirty Picture, she defied the norms and created a rage like never before! Bright colours, retro polka dots, flaring old-school bell-bottoms, and all these with an empire-size waistline! Yet, it was her undaunted performance and the oodles of confidence she exuded that made everyone sit up and take notice of her. She again reinforced her image as the standalone woman if the industry with Kahaani, where she blithely got into quaint maternity outfits and classy boots. Thus she resurrected from the ashes and established herself as the fashion nonconformist. Gone are the days when she had to refer to style-book. Her fashion apprehensions have long vanished into thin air, so have the bucketfuls of criticisms. When it comes to her appearances beyond the film reels, she chooses to be spotted in those gorgeous sarees of hers, almost always managing to look ravishing in her own way. Those extra inches around her body must have never felt thus flattered before! Gone are the days of her horrid faux pas, and now what she sports as style is a mix of logic and intuition. Though some are still cynical about her routine jazzy sarees and three-quarter sleeved blouses, but then, it is much more of a visual treat than what she would have dished out, had she endeavoured to follow the herd.