Manish Malhotra’s Iconic Saris of Bollywood

by | August 17, 2021, 19:02 IST


Manish Malhotra has been running a very successful label for the past 15 years. Most brides dream of walking down the aisle in the designer's meticulously detailed lehengas that are inundated with sequins, chikankari and zardozi hand embroidery and yet are perfect for the modern women of today. But the designer has been low-key influencing how women dress even before the designer became a household name. With an experience of designing costumes in Bollywood for the last 30 years, he has single-handedly set trends that are visible in the way we dress even today, especially when it comes to sarees.

Love a snug chiffon sari? Malhotra made it famous. Love to swap a basic blouse with its new-age bikini-inspired version? Guess what, the designer made it mainstream in the year 2008.

To list every one of the designer's sartorial achievements in the movies is not an easy feat. But because each of us owes him a debt of gratitude for the contents in our closet, here's a round-up of some the most iconic saris of Bollywood.

Kareena Kapoor Khan's Red Sari In Chammak Challo


Kapoor Khan’s red sari in this song from Ra.One was as famous, if not more, than Shah Rukh Khan playing a robot and Akon singing a Hindi song. This look was also the purveyor of the half-net blouse and the ultra-thin pallu trend that took Indian fashion by a storm in the early 2010s. Of course, for the actor herself, the look became so sartorially significant that her statue at Madame Tussauds also sported it.

Aishwarya Rai’s Lace Sati In Humko Humise Chura Lo


It’s been 21 years since Mohabbatein released, but it is hard to discount the effect of this peach lace sari on pop culture even today. Versions of it are seen making occasional appearances even today. Sure, the halter-neck pattern was a mainstay in the early aughts but pairing it with a saree was pure genius on Manish’s part.

Katrina Kaif’s Modified Nauvari In Chikni Chameli


Part of why Katrina Kaif is so memorable for her dance in Chikni Chameli, apart from her washboard abs and killer dance moves, has a lot to do with the nauvari sari that underwent a stylish makeover, especially for the actor. The pallu was foregone, and the bottom half of the saree was pre-draped to look like capri pants. Although unconventional, it won't be wrong to call this version of traditional nauvari iconic.

Sushmita Sen Sensual Red Sari In Main Hoon Na


Sleeveless blouses with humongous knots in the back, blouses embellished with traditional abhla work, and leheriya tie and dye on body-hugging chiffon and georgette saris became a part of our fashion vocabulary circa 2004, thanks to Sushmita Sen in Main Hoon Na as the chemistry teacher, Chandni. Not only did she teach in them but also sing and dance, reiterating why saris are the most functional garments.

Kajol’s Neon Green Sari In Suraj Hua Madham


Flowly chiffon saris in incandescent hues stood out as starkly against the backdrop of Cairo as the love story of Kajol and Shah Rukh in the movie, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. It challenged the colour norms of the early aughts and put a leading actor in colours that weren’t typically feminine and pastel. Twenty years later, saturated shades in womenswear are making a grand comeback.

Priyanka Chopra’s Metallic Number In Desi Girl


The slinky metallic sari with a sequin border and a smashing bikini-style blouse – which the designer seems to have single-handedly introduced at this point – were significant in creating Priyanka Chopra’s desi girl image in the movie Dostana in 2008. The predecessor of Manish Malhotra’s fully sequined saris of now, this was definitely the ‘It’ outfit of the last decade.

Deepika Padukone's Trendy Sari In Badtameez Dil


The bikini blouse’s second-most iconic outing in Indian cinema, this look from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani inspires people from the Gen Z camp to pick up a sari as well. The sung lapis lazuli chiffon sari with a gota patti border (that’s right!) became an instant hit and continues to inspire going-out sari styles even after eight years. Guarantees enough second looks and head turns, too.

Also Read: See Pics: Bollywood’s Obsession With the Red Sari

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