There were two distinct camps at this year’s Filmfare Awards: actors Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Bipasha Basu and Deepika Padukone were in Team 1, while Priyanka Chopra, Preity Zinta, Katrina Kaif, Sushmita Sen and newcomers Asin and Genelia D’Souza were in Team 2. But it wasn’t old rivalries or warring camps that led to the formation of these factions. It was their clothes.
Free flowing: (L-R) Priyanka Chopra in an Alberta Ferretti gown at the Filmfare Awards; Katrina Kaif in a Jenny Packham at the Star Screen Awards; and Asin in a Diane von Furstenberg gown at the Filmfare Awards. Photographs by Yogen Shah
Kapoor, Padukone, Bachchan and Basu turned up in saris, as actors have done at Indian award ceremonies for years. The other ladies wore floor-length gowns, mirroring international red-carpet culture. Since international labels have launched in India, actors have more than saris to pick from, and their choices mirror their own styles. “There is much more variety in gowns available now with international brands keen to dress Indian stars. Most stars also want the Academy Awards feel at the red carpet and think that wearing a gown does a better job than a sari for that,” says Jayati Bose, a stylist who dressed Chopra for the Filmfare Awards in an Alberta Ferretti gown.
As with most red-carpet events in India, the designer sister duo Gauri and Nainika Karan were well represented. Nainika says while designing gowns they keep in mind that Indian women tend to be more curvaceous and bigger at the hip, so they try to keep the torso form-fitted and opt for voluminous skirts. Zinta and Kaif wore gowns designed by the sisters, as did Sen. Nainika attributes the trend among Indian actors wearing gowns on the Indian red carpet to the fact that they are now attending international events and find that wearing a gown fits in better. “Plus, most are in great shape too, and a well-chosen gown can show off their figure,” says Nainika.
Fashion parade: (L-R) Kareena Kapoor in a Manish Malhotra sari at the Filmfare Awards; Bipasha Basu in a Sabyasachi sari at the Filmfare Awards; Mugda Godse in a Narendra Kumar gown at the Star Screen Awards; Genelia D’Souza in a Just Cavalli gown at the Filmfare Awards; and Sridevi in a Gauri and Nainika gown at the Stardust Awards. Photographs by Yogen Shah
That’s what Asin had in mind when she picked out the gowns she wore to four award ceremonies this season. She chose gowns by Indian designers such as Babita Malkani and Cherie D for some events and picked a purple one by Diane von Furstenberg for the Filmfare function. “I prefer dresses that are fitted at the waist and show off my shoulders and collarbone,” she says. She feels saris are not appropriate for her age and doesn’t wear them often. “There’s plenty of time for me to wear saris; maybe later, when I’m older,” she says.
D’Souza, the petite young star of Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na, wore a black gown by Just Cavalli—she says she wanted a change from the short dresses she’s often seen in. “I don’t have broad hips or anything I need to camouflage or hide, so the gown, which was fitted at the top and had a fishtail skirt, worked well,” she says, adding that it accentuated her small shoulders and narrow frame.
The fishtail or mermaid cut seemed to be a favourite this season, with Zinta also sporting the same silhouette. “Preity and Katrina had called up and asked for a few designs, which were sent to them,” says Nainika. Zinta’s mermaid-cut gown had a satin skirt in black, while the strapless upper half was in white with black lace over it. For Kaif, the sisters had sent five gowns, of which she picked three. She finally wore an orange gown with a draped upper bodice, and voluminous flowing georgette skirt.
Manish Malhotra, Kapoor’s favourite designer, says the actor always wants modern saris, which he creates especially for the event. “She gets the maximum amount of positive feedback when she’s wearing a sexy sari, so she sees no need to change,” says Malhotra. “I think it’s very important on our own red carpet to show our culture.”
But sometimes the choice to wear a sari is more a need to break out of the norm. “In Deepika’s case, for instance, she had been wearing gowns for most red-carpet events, so she decided to wear a sari for Filmfare,” says Bose, who had chatted with Padukone to style her in a gown for the Filmfare function. “Deepika had seen a model wearing this sari and had told her that it was lovely. The model told us that and since we know her measurements, we sent her the sari and the blouse in her size. We were thrilled to see that she wore it to the awards,” says Gautam Rakha of Rabani and Rakha.