After watching Deewar couple weeks ago for a writing workshop, I had a sudden urge to re-watch old Hindi films. And so, last evening, while the baby slept, I opened Prime Video and tapped on Deewana.
Partly because it’s Shah Rukh Khan’s debut feature film and partly because I was in the mood for a typical 90s drama. Okay, but mostly because it’s got Shah Rukh Khan.
Anyway, even as I got lost in the endless string of songs and the villainy of Amrish Puri and the classic desi mom-ness of Sushma Seth, I couldn’t help but notice the distinct style differences between the 1990s and today.
Old habits die hard, right?
So here’s a revisit to 1990s fashion from the Deewana lens.
Rishi Kapoor’s (Ravi in the film) costumes were a mixed (err.. confusing) bag of styles, like these:
- Head-to-toe white with a multihued jacket lining, that was also embellished with white sequins. The look was completed with white shoes and sunglasses.
- Outrageous printed shirts
- Big striped and patchwork-type sweaters with dark trousers
Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan’s clothes in Deewana were more interesting than Rishi Kapoor’s, but sadly, the designers fell short of a cohesive look. Most of his clothes made Shah Rukh Khan’s character Raja look seem older than his on-screen age. A young, wealthy brat would be in slightly flashier clothes, that would grab attention and exude confidence.
In his introductory song Koi Na Koi Chahiye, Shah Rukh Khan donned a brown leather jacket, and this became a defining on-screen look for him for many years (remember the black jacket in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge?).
In the rest of the film, he wore oversized shirts with loose sleeves and high waisted jeans, often paired with a prominent belt and matching buckle. And oh, those dull colours—browns and greys. Eeeks.
In true Bollywood fashion, the dream song sequence had the most unusual costume choices. So, in the cornerstone song Aisi Deewangi Dekhi Nahi, Shah Rukh Khan wears the most outrageous ensembles. Think teal shirt with teal trousers, a fully-blue suit (without tie, thank god), and a black and white polka dotted cravat!
As for the hair, it was long-ish, as was the fashion those days, though I’m not sure I dig it.
Divya Bharti as Kajal donned a wide range of ensembles in the film. As a single girl smitten with singing sensation Ravi (Rishi Kapoor) she wore simple salwar suits and some skirts. As soon as she was married though, she became a wealthy family’s bahu, wearing mostly saris of rich fabrics and embroideries. I especially liked the green sari which she wore in a pivotal sequence just before the intermission.
But once injured Ravi tumbled down a waterfall, Kajal had to adopt a widow’s attire. The white-wearing widow is not a custom I agree with, though it’s still practised in some part of the country. Depriving women of clothing (and other choices) is just another form of patriarchal oppression.
In her no-colour-no-makeup phase, she’s donning the nude look, with blush, pink eye shadow and pearl finish nude lip colour. In several scenes, she’s wearing loads of eye liner as well.
But her wardrobe comes to life again, after she marries Raja. So in the rest of the film you will see her in puffed sleeves tops, blouses and kurtas. Plus, lots of makeup and jewellery.
Her go-to accessories seem to be big gold earrings and gold kitten heels.
As for makeup, Divya Bharti’s look featured carefully coordinated lip colours and bindis with wavy hair, reminiscent of a perm. The biggest surprise though were her French braids. They were super cute, and reminded me of my childhood, when I would wonder how girls made those complicated hair style (there was no YouTube then).
But her costumes sparkle in the song sequences, especially when she’s suddenly in “western” clothes. Her clothes were carefully selected to suit her petite frame, and she carried them off with great confidence and flair.
There were bold colours like orange and smart silhouettes like tight, short skirts and glam off-the-shoulder blouses. Those were major drool moments for me!