When Bollywood musician Sonu Niigaam recently attended an event in Mumbai sporting two pigtails, fans and online bloggers called him a "catastrophe". The same week, Hollywood’s Olsen twins — Mary Kate and Ashley — were spotted in New York with bright pink and yellow neon hair. Fashion bloggers hailed them as "cutting edge".
Lashing out at his critics, Niigaam says he’s the only Indian celebrity who has the guts to experiment with his look, and adds, “we don’t respect the madness of a musician here.” In light of his comments, HT City spoke to experts to understand why an international singer such as Lady Gaga can go wild, but for Indian celebs experimentation ends with a few demure streaks.
Scared of society
“Indian celebrities don’t have the b***s to do it. Actors are happy to look their same, normal selves. Even our rock stars like Shibani and Anamika shy away from experimentation, which is sad,” says hair stylist Sylvie. “Even though some celebs can carry off striking colours well, they are just not bold enough. They want to play safe,” says hair expert Yatan.
However, hair stylist Jawed Habib says it’s not so simple a situation. “Our celebs are modern, but not outrageous. They are too concerned about what people will think, and too much experimentation doesn’t go down well with Indians,” he explains.
For actress Minissha Lamba too, society is a deterrent. “In India, it is difficult to do something drastic with hair. It is looked upon as a sign that something is wrong with a person, rather than as a sign of their individuality,” she says.
Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt says this is merely an excuse. “Indian culture is just a garb. The actors are timid. It takes a lot of courage to be experimental. These guys just want to follow other trends,” he rues.
“I tried golden streaks but I looked horrendous! I want to try out something new, but my gothic look has become a trademark. Besides, I’d rather be known for my music,” says singer Shibani Kashyap. However, Sonu Niigaam is not deterred by his critics. “I’ll have a funkier hairstyle soon,” he signs off.