Remembering the ‘Hawa Hawai’ girl: A glimpse at Sridevi’s fascinating style evolution
Sridevi’s bright orange ghagra with a katori cup blouse was as enthralling as those piles of multi-coloured clay pots in the background. Himmatwala gave the legend a chance to don many colourful outfits with the most eye-popping, chunky accessories in gold and silver. And mind you; all those baubles were totally matchy-matchy with the outfit and fans still went gaga over her dangerous jhatkas and matkas.
For most of us, images of Sridevi in that shiny ivory lehenga choli from the song ‘Main Teri Dushman, Dushman Tu Mera’ with snaky light grey eyes and gaudy makeup are unforgettable. This snake fantasy film lay solely on her shoulders and no matter how much we’re tempted to call it a fashion disaster, those looks are as alluring as Sridevi herself.
Mr. India (1987)
Who could possibly care to look at Mogambo or the handsome Mr.India when Sridevi was busy dancing to ‘Hawa Hawaai’ in that all-gold dress with a gold head gear and scarf made from yellow feathers? Or when she was swaying in that sheer ‘Kaate Nahi Kat Te’ blue saree seductively? Her adaa and those outfits were marvellous, weren't they?
Award-winning designers Bhanu Athaiya, Leena Daru and Neeta Lulla put together the iconic outfits that Sridevi wore in Chandni. This was the era of chiffons sarees for the superstar and we saw her ooze sensuality in her translucent yellow and white chiffon sarees paired with cut-sleeve blouses and matching bindis in this movie.
This movie saw her playing a double role of an innocent and vulnerable Anju who used to only wear Indian attires while her beer-swigging and knife-wielding twin Manju who wore tomboyish western looks. Even that seemingly inconsequential transparent raincoat and matching umbrella look in the song ‘Na Jane Kahan Se Aayi Hai’ has got etched in our minds.
This was one movie that tugged our heart strings, thanks to Sridevi’s teenage character Pooja who was in love with an older man and her mother Pallavi who allured everyone with her quintessential Rajasthani looks. Millions of girls emulated the ‘fringe cut’ look like Pooja and iconic dance moves from ‘Morni Baga Ma Bole’.
English Vinglish (2012)
When Sridevi decided to make her comeback after a long gap of around 15 years, she stunned everyone with of course her amazing acting and the simple Maharashtrian, Sabyasachi-styled cotton saree looks. We totally loved those trench coats she wore with the printed sarees.
We would always smile over Sridevi’s swamped-in-gold-jewellery ‘Himmatwala’ looks, admire that chulbuli ‘Chandi’ and gush over her sensuous curvy hips gyrating in a blue saree in ‘Mr.India’. But Sridevi’s transformation from kitschy to gorgeous has been equally fascinating and today’s generation remembers her for her refined avatars. She bid adieu to days when gold meant gaudy for her, and started donning chic numbers like this metallic power suit from Manish Malhotra with slicked back hair and sophisticated makeup.
The new all-white version
Gone were the days when she wore her white sarees and ghagra cholis with matching accessories. She had now started exuding elegance even in her off-duty avatars. Sridevi looks like a breath of fresh air in this classic button-down shirt with a maxi skirt.
Opulent lehengas and sarees
The southern superstar had acquired poise over the years and started wearing exquisite pieces. The makeup was on point and classic accessories added immense star power to her style game.
The last glimpses
These were one of the last images Sridevi had posted on her Instagram page where she’s seen wearing outfits from Falguni Shane Peacock’s collection. Shimmery, muted shades and that aura of magnetism was all she needed to ace both the ethnic and western avatar. And while we might temporarily find solace in looking at these pictures, we dread to understand how anyone can possibly fill the void she has left. Do we have an ‘erase’ button to wipe off the destiny game that makes her ‘was’ forever?