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Indian fashion pulls through a tinsel town act

It's as if Indian fashion decided to don the greasepaint for some drama.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUL 24, 2003 10:10 PM IST

It's as if Indian fashion decided to don the greasepaint for some drama.

India's fourth annual fashion extravaganza at the country's film capital has been the most dramatic ever on and off stage.

On the runway, there was more skin, more performance and more titillation, and more Bollywood buttocks perched on the white cloth covered audience seats than in the past.

Among the designers, the buzzword was androgynous and metrosexual. So in Aki Narula's now infamous show, female models wore embroidered underwear and pinched each other's bottoms.

In fact, models Jesse Randhawa and Diandra Soares rubbed cheeks and then stuck out their tongues and made them lick and touch on the ramp.

"Well, it goes with the theme of gender bending," said Narula, "and about the tongue bit, I honestly didn't know they would do that, they just had some fun on the spur of the moment."

Fun was what Indian fashion's poster boy Rohit Bal was having when he streaked the hair partings of his models with vermilion, traditionally a symbol of matrimony for Indian women - only, his models were male.

"There's no difference, no difference at all, brother," said Bal, pushing back his blonde locks. "Men,, men, women, all the same.

"It's all about being seen and heard."

Exactly what the shutterbugs felt. Day after day Bollywood celebrities like Anil Kapoor and Sridevi, Rahul Bose, Rani Mukherjee and Sanjay Leela Bhansali arrived at the venue.

The most mobbed was Kareena Kapoor for Tarun Tahiliani's overcrowded, dazzling show where he showed off his brilliant jewelled T-shirts, a rage across the globe.

Then there were the lesser stars, oomph goddess Malaika Arora with sister Amrita, whistling away to glory at J.J. Valaya's show and regulars, former model-turned-actor Arjun Rampal with wife Mehr Jesia, also an ex-star model.

This was bliss and happiness for the scribes, who are usually fed scrap page three celebrities. This time there the real glamour people - the film stars - were there.

"My boyfriend is on the runway," yelled Amrita Arora to designer Wendell Rodricks, "I'm having a blast."

Exactly what Malini Ramani had for her show when she had models doing the bhangra on stage and when some models did impromptu jigs in Monisha Jaising's show.

As a whole, this has been the most chilled out fashion week in India - less of the staccato models, less of the overbearing trance.

That's what Anshu Arora Sen aimed at when she used sounds of the rainforest, like the intense chirping of crickets, the sound of incessant rainfall and jungle howls and groans for her soundtrack.

The result was a stark and stunning show, devoid of the headache that most shows and their loud tracks cause. "At least you could peacefully concentrate on the clothes," said Sen.

Clothes were very much on the mind of couturier Raghavendra Rathore when he used Hindi radio broadcasts from his hometown of Jodhpur for his soundtrack.

"After all, if there's no drama, nothing different, then I should start an assembly line for my clothes, shouldn't I?" smiled Rathore.

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