This week's news of the passing of legendary Indian film actor Rishi Kapoor left me saddened. Mr. Kapoor, aged 67, passed away from leukemia on April 30th, 2020 just a day after another beloved and talented star Irrfan Khan (known both for his roles in Indian and western cinema).
As a youngster growing up in Canada, I was first introduced to Indian (commonly referred to as 'Bollywood' in the popular media) films when the Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) was invented. My parents used to bring home movies every weekend and we would gather excitedly to watch, interrupting every couple of minutes to ask them to translate the Hindi language dialogue into English (the quality of English subtitles has improved quite significantly over the years).
Back in 1973, as we started to explore these fantasy worlds of Indian cinema, the film Bobby was released. The teenage love story was considered to be the first of its kind in Bollywood and was widely imitated in the following decades. In the year of its release, it was the highest grossing Indian film that year.
The story was set against the background of a rich versus poor clash, and starred Rishi Kapoor (above left) in his first leading role as a young man from a prestigious Hindu family who, upon returning home to India from boarding school, falls in love with Bobby, a poor Christian fisherman’s daughter played by Dimple Kapadia (above right) in her debut role.
The film also featured bold, trendy and sometimes revealing costumes that seemed to be the third main character in the film. In western culture, the '70s were a decade of over-the-top ‘peacock’ style dressing with flared trousers, mini skirts and dresses, crop tops, boldly patterned shirts and roll-neck jumpers in a variety of fabrics from silk to corduroy to velvet and sequins. This added to the popularity of the movie amongst the younger generation considering the more conservative nature of Indian culture at that time.
Dimple Kapadia’s iconic cropped polka dot shirt and mini A-line skirt, flirty mini dresses and hot pants made her an instant sex symbol in a demure yet conquettish way. While Rishi Kapoor looked charming, yet suave and debonaire sporting shirts and jackets with wide lapels and bold prints, flared pants, turtlenecks and head-to-toe leather.
As I look back at the film now, I am struck by how the styling of the costumes in the film have made a resurgance in 2020. The era of enjoying fashion and experimenting with patterns, textures, fabrics and silhouettes has re-emerged.The styles of the ‘70s have made a revival and the styles from the Bobby era have been reinvented on the designer runways and high street shops for Spring/Summer 2020.
Let's check out the '70s inspired sartorial style for the gentlemen first...
Gucci paisley oversized printed linen shirt.
Zara Tiger print shirt
Mr Porter P. Johnson Cream Stretch Cotton-blend Corduroy Suit Jacket
Amiri Velour Flare-Leg Velvet Pants
For women, the trends are sexy, flirty and fun...
Adriana Degreas polka-dot tie-front silk top
Gala mini skirt
Valentino VLOGO Belted Wool & Silk Minidress
Zara cotton linen blend shorts
IVRose High Neck Bell Sleeve Wide Leg Jumpsuit With Belt
Burberry Coleta Grommet Embellished Faux Leather Minidress
The choices are endless! Fashionistas wanting to infuse a dose of '70s inspired looks into their wardrobes for SS20 have plenty to choose from.
As I look back with great fondness, I thank the late Rishi Kapoor for the joy, laughter and romance he brought into our lives through the silver screen and pray for the peace and rest of his soul. I also pray for strength of faith and courage for the family left behind, wife Neetu (Singh) Kapoor (below middle) and son Ranbir Kapoor (below left). God Bless.