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On Dadasaheb Phalke Award Honour, Amitabh Bachchan's Versatile Fashion In The Movies

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For his contribution to cinema, the legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan was unanimously selected for the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award. The actor, who began his film career way back in 1969 with Saat Hindustani, has done around 200 films, some of which have been blockbuster hits. Dadasaheb Phalke Award, which is India's highest award in cinema, is normally given to those who have retired but Bachchan broke that chain. At the age of 76 with 50 years in the film industry, he is not the actor, who wants a break.

But in his illustrious career, the versatile actor has also set fashion trends with his movies. For instance, he popularised the bell bottoms pants, which were quite a rage in the 70s. With his cowboy avatar in Sholay (1975) or the gangsta look in Deewar (1975), Amitabh Bachchan made a strong case for pants with flared hem and rugged loose shirts. His acting prowess and iconic dialogues obviously boosted his career but the retro outfits also gave a shape to the diverse characters he has played on-screen. He actually gave meaning to those unassuming bell bottoms and plain shirts, even if sub-consciously - this pairing came to define angry young people.

Bollywood as an industry is quite famous for typecasting and Bachchan with his action sequences could have easily found himself stereotyped. However, the actor has experimented a lot with roles and looks. In the 1971 movie Anand, where he shared the screen space with another superstar Rajesh Khanna, the actor was not the bell bottoms-wearing and fighting-half-a-dozen-goons character, he was in fact quite the contrary. Amitabh Bachchan in Anand plays the role of a doctor with cynical view of life. So, with his smart beige professional suits and plain white off-duty kurta pyjamas, Bachchan so eloquently transformed into a shy and reserved person.

It is not as if because of Amitabh Bachchan's commanding personality that any given outfit suits him. It is on the contrary more to do with the fact that he makes us feel that his ensembles are an extension of his personality. He looked as convincing in his printed shirts and pants in Abhimaan (1973) as the red and white uniformed coolie in his 1983 film, Coolie. Not just his films, Bachchan's wardrobe in the movies have been eclectic too. With his polo-neck sweaters and tight pants in movies like Silsila (1981) or the jacket and half-sweater-clad poet in Kabhi Kabhi (1976), Amitabh Bachchan gave romantic looks a fresh perspective.

Amitabh Bachchan, whose movie with Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor, Brahmãstra is scheduled to be released later this year, has in the last decade added more rich characters to his filmography. The veteran actor has given us even more costumes in the last 10-12 years to think about. Right from the track suit-wearing teacher in Black (2005) to the vibrant kurta pyjama and waistcoat-sporting father in Piku (2015), the actor has gone beyond the definitions and elevated the fashion language. He surprised us with the school uniform boy in Paa (2009) and then so effortlessly, he convinced us as the gangster in Leonardo DiCaprio starrer, The Great Gatsby (2013). But this time, unlike the bell bottoms gangster, he was the sophisticated and polished one, who donned Panama hats and crisp western suits. If in Thugs of Hindostan (2018) he is the bandana-wearing and armoured bandit leader, he will be seen as a scraf-draped bearded blue sweater-clad old man in his upcoming movie, Gulabo Sitabo.

On his Dadasaheb Phalke Award, we celebrate the veteran actor as a personality, who has given us rich fashion moments too. Congratulations, Amitabh Bachchan!

Story first published: Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 19:30 [IST]
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