Till a few years ago it seemed like a harmless pass time to comment on, make fun of, or copy the clothes film stars wore. Now it seems to have become a national obsession. Stars can act badly if they please, behave rottenly, fall about drunk or doped or kill people for all anyone cares—what they do is not important, but what they wear when they are doing it, is of great consequence.
The silliness is on display right now, when papers are reporting in great detail who is wearing what at Cannes, quite forgetting that it is a film festival, not a fashion show. Even if glamour and red carpet parading is part of it, ultimately it is a film event, one of the world’s biggest bazaars, where networking happens, negotiations are done, deals are made and at the end of it artistic excellence rewarded. But what makes it out of Cannes is who wore what! Has showbiz been reduced to this?
All eyes wait to see/read breathless reports on what Aishwarya Rai wears, and how she covers her post babyweight gain. And you can sense the collective drool of photographers and photo editors when Mallika Sherawat turns up wearing next to nothing. She has practically made a career out of posing in bizarre wisps—she must be spending all her time keeping the bulges at bay, since she is certainly not all that busy acting.
Back home too, there are some stars who are better known for their wardrobes than for their films. Sonam Kapoor is at the forefront, followed by Kangna Ranaut. At least Kangna has a couple of decent films and one National Award to show for, as she preens and pouts in designer togs. Sonam has just her family name and a handful of forgettable films. But when she steps out for an event, it’s in full fashion glare; and she is invariably asked which designer’s outfits she is wearing rather than what films she has signed. She is, according to reports, invited to haute fashion events all over the world. Wouldn’t that time be better spent in polishing her acting, if she wants to be taken seriously as an actor?
The fall out of this is that perfectly graceful, beautiful actresses are stepping out looking ridiculous in Western designer dresses, because they want to be ‘with it’. And it takes guts for a Vidya Balan to say, hell with it, ignore the “behenji” barbs and appear at functions in saris and long-sleeved blouses. After all why fill the coffers of foreign designers whose clothes, shows, bags and jewellery are obscenely high priced!
The other annoying after effect is an excessive focus on appearance on and off screen, and the media baying for blood if a star dares repeat a dress or accessory, or, god forbid, show any physical imperfection like a tiny bit of flab. It’s a wonder they don’t faint from hunger and exhaustion more often.
Needed, more stars with a care-a-damn attitude, who will wear what they please and say boo to the fashion police!