Sunday, August 06, 2006

oh, now I get it

Psssst. I have something to tell you. I don't know if it's a secret, technically, although certainly nobody told me, and I had to discover it on my own (although there's little I like more than stumbling across something really interesting, so that's totally okay). Here it is: men's Bollywood costumes make a whole lot more sense once you have seen what some people in India actually wear. It's true!

Not everyone dresses like Govinda, to be sure; but as someone pointed out, even if only one percent of the population is wearing filmy clothes, that's still 11,000,000 people - many of whom were outside and spottable from the bus window.

I saw orange cargo pants and funny hats and insane shirts - including one in a store just outside our hotel in Kolkata that I wanted to hand to Salman right away (only after ripping the sleeves off a bit, of course) (a red button-down with rainbow-striped sleeves, in case you were wondering - he'd wear it with most of the buttons undone, I'm sure, and the sleeves would be detached at the top of the shoulder and frayed - niiiiice). The place I first noticed this kind of thing, oddly, was walking towards the Lotus Temple in Delhi - I guess that's as good a place for a parade of fashion as any - and at one point it just hit me: "Wow, this must be where much of the world's acid-washed denim ended up. Huh."

Of course I'll try to illustrate my point with photos, after I go through them all. But just know this. I have an expression that my friend Melina calls "turn the dial." I use it to describe how thing A is very similar but just a little off from thing B - like when radios had knobs instead of digital tuners, and you could hear a song, faintly or static-ly, and you had to turn the dial in teensy increments to get it just so. It's like that. If you turn the dial on some of the things I saw on Indian men, you'd get some of what you see in Bollywood. It's not everyone, and it's not all the time, and it's certainly not like I saw anyone actually walking around in blue strappy pleather (yes, Shahid, I'm talkin' to you), but there were definitely things in that general range.

I should probably also note that I suspect I could find a sampling of Bollywoodesque clothes at my city's gay bar, or on some of the less disciriminating European tourists (like the German-sounding guy on the elevator with me in Mumbai who had thoughtfully worn red underwear with his white trousers and then sat down on a wet recliner by the pool) (sorry for all the stereotypes going on here. But stereotypes have to start somewhere, and you know what I mean), but that isn't nearly so interesting as seeing the creatures in their natural habitat, now is it?

5 comments:

V N said...

LOL!
:))))))))

V N said...

And waiting to hear as to how u found 36, China Town - apart from the AK factor, that is! ;) :)

Totally Basmatic said...

Can I let you in on another Bollywood wardrobe secret?

Extras in Bollywood movies (at least the ones that have been filmed in NYC recently) were asked to provide their own costumes. All those crazy looking people in the club scenes? Yeah, those are their own clothes.

But it's good to know that regular people dress the way Bollywood does too. 11,000 people can't all be wrong... can they?

Beth said...

Velu - haven't watched it yet, just a few songs. It's on teh schedule for this afternoon, if I can stay awake (I woke up at 4:00 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep, so I am nine kinds of groggy).

TB - that is very satisfying because it is so scary. Love it.

babasko said...

when I manage to stop giggling I need to complain about your and majas constant picking on mera accha bhai salu. but then I need to manage to stop giggling. and I cant.

now i know why they shot the new don in paris not in vienna (as they really wanted to *sigh*) they saw what parts of viennese people wear on saturday nights and decided that to much is to much....