WATCH: This is how Bollywood partied in the old timesSukanya Verma in Mumbai
Everything looks different in retrospect.
Take Bollywood's movie premieres for example. There was a time when single screen cinemas were the norm and producers welcoming guests at the entrance meant a greater deal than stars posing in designer numbers on the red carpet.
Things were decidedly less fancy, more chaotic/spontaneous and grandeur was defined by protocol not superficiality. Apart from changing trends, bustling multiplexes and technical finesse, one thing that is definitely hard to miss is just how much serious thought goes in what our stars pick to wear at public events today.
Enjoy this compilation of premieres, launches and mahurats to get a drift.
Sometime in November 1993, when Shah Rukh Khan was yet to hit superstardom, Kajol had a flop debut (Bekhudi) behind her and Shilpa Shetty was a rank newcomer came a thriller called Baazigar and changed things for good.
Directed by Abbas-Mustan, high on the runaway success of Khiladi, also produced by Venus (Ganesh and Ratan Jain), the premiere was held in Mumbai's Metro cinema (now Metro BIG Cinema with six screens).
1. The star-studded screening was attended by names like Sanjay Dutt-Sunny Deol (both picked eye-catching ties), Akshay Kumar (stylish beret et al) and veterans, ranging from Feroz Khan, producer GP Sippy and Ranjeet.
2. A bespectacled Saif Ali Khan makes his way in with former wife, Amrita Singh who appears to be completely lost in the hullaballoo.
3. Wait, there's Bappi Lahiri too. And there's absolutely NO sign of gold. Equally eye-popping is to spot Abbas-Mastan in colour as opposed to their signature white attire.
4. While SRK opts for a simple blazer over a tee-shirt, Shetty dresses to the nines for the first premiere of her acting career but it's that hideous beige suit worn by Kajol that fills us up with gratitude for fashion designer Manish Malhotra's entry into her life.
5. All the big shot filmmakers like Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai, David Dhawan, Prakash Mehra, N Chandra, Mehul Kumar, Raj Kanwar came in to give their blessings, majority picking on gaudy printed shirts to wear.
6. The true worth of a starry event is measured by its crowd of onlookers. Quite a mass gathered to check out even as some jaded security keeps them at bay.
Image: Baazigar premiere
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander premiere
Bandra's Galaxy theatre transformed into a star haven on the premiere night of Mansoor Khan's coming-of-age sports drama, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander.
1. Epic moment, this! It's a pleasure to see the legendary composer Rahul Dev Burman extend his best wishes to a visibly elated Mansoor even as his father and RD's longest collaborators Nasir Hussain ( Teesri Manzil, Caravan, Pyar Ka Mausam, Yaadon Ki Baarat, Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai Manzil Manzil) fondly looks on.
2. Aamir Khan, clad in a mustard yellow shirt and trousers, accompanied by his then wife Reena Datta graciously welcome guests like Dilip Kumar, Saira Bano, Rajkumar Santoshi, Rajiv Rai, Mahesh Bhatt and Prakash Mehra.
3. Clearly, big, bold, floral patterns were the 'in' thing during early 1990s. Even the uber fashionable Rishi Kapoor cannot resist them as he drops in to wish well the banner that gave him blockbuster songs like Bachna ae haseeno, Hoga tumse pyaara kaun, Dil kya mehfil to dance on.
4. Guess it's pretty stuffy inside given how Mrs Udit Narayan cannot stop fanning herself with what seems to be the premiere invite.
5. Aamir's Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin co-star Pooja Bhatt attends the premiere with buddy Deepak Tijori and a little boy. Could that be her brother Rahul?
Andaz Apna Apna mahurat
At the mahurat of the supremely funny, Andaz Apna Apna, a film that has attained iconic stature among its still-growing population of followers.
1. Today, she's all about clean cut, classy couture but there was a time Karisma Kapoor defined tacky. We've got evidence. But how fetch is mom Babita in that off-white and wine red salwar kameez? Raveena Tandon, on the other hand, lives up to her ravishing title mingling with the cast and crew with a friendly smile and accessible aura. She, too, is accompanied by parents -- director Ravi and Veena Tandon.
2. And there's filmmaker Shekhar Kapur engaged in an animated discussion with Aamir Khan, probably around the pre-production of his ambitious sci-fi flick, Time Machine co-starring the latter and Tandon. The film, unfortunately, got shelved mid-way.
3. Look, there's Salman Khan too. The Maine Pyaar Kiya hunk appears rather shy and conscious, nothing like his care-a-damn, quirky, larger-than-life aura that dominates the box-office today.
4. It takes some time to register that the scrawny guy in a funky checkered shirt and gray cap is the man responsible for the hilarious antics of Andaz Apna Apna. Director Rajkumar Santoshi.
5. And if you sense some cold vibes between the Khans, they're probably true. Apparently the duo wasn't on the best of terms during the making of this film. Over the years, as we all know, they've developed a warm friendship.
6. He may be known as the He-Man of Hindi cinema but Dharmendra has delivered some solid comic punches in films like Sholay, Chupke Chupke, Ghazab and Naukar Biwi Ka. it's only fair he gives the mahurat clap for AAA. Also, it's under his banner, Vijayta Films that Santoshi delivered his beginning successes Ghayal and Damini.
7. The super skinny foursome, in all their amateurish glory, performs a scene, which gives one a fair idea of the extent of silliness to expect from the final product.
8. But the greatest star attraction of this event is the presence of the baby-faced cricket legend, Sachin Tendulkar looking all bashful and out-of-place in an over-sized t-shirt that ought to fit him just right at this time.
This year saw Vijay Dinanath Chauhan return to the big screens in the face of Hrithik Roshan.
Here's the real deal.
1. In the modest setting of hall, the Bachchans -- Amitabh and Jaya cut a dashing picture as they welcome Yash Johar's Agneepath, directed by Mukul Anand, on celluloid.
2. Known for his eloquent speech, Big B doesn't disappoint when he's called upon to say a few words on stage before the screening starts. Meanwhile co-stars Mithun Chakraborty and Madhavi turn on their charm with polite affection.
3. 90s fashion trends, you remember? If not, Madhavi's bangs, Archana Puran Singh's Whitney Houston-inspired curls and puffy sleeved outfit are a dreadful reminder.
4. And those tortured looking bouquets?
5. Anybody see Karan Johar?
The debut of a star son is akin to a marriage celebration in Bollywood.
And this sentiment is very well reflected in the Vinod Khanna's premiere of son Akshaye's launch pad, Himalayaputra.
1. There's a dapper Akshaye with his stylish brother, Rahul and their mom, Geetanjali. A brief glimpse of step mom, Kavita standing alongside his dad Vinod while screen mother Hema Malini glitters in a traditional kanjeevaram. His co-star Anjali, however, picks a flashy blue outfit and chunky baubles for her big day.
2. A lot of future star kids and their celebrity parents are here too. For starters, there's a chubby teenager Kareena in a trendy shirt and blazer greeting VK. Her date for the night? Daddy Randhir Kapoor. Brothers -- Rishi and Rajiv Kapoor mark in their attendance as well. Kareena's Refugee co-star, Abhishek Bachchan makes a suave appearance in a three-piece suit accompanying his lovely mother, Jaya. Meanwhile, VK's Qurbaani co-star Feroz Khan makes a grand entrance with daughter Laila.
3. VK's co-star of numerous films like Insaaf, Batwaara and Lekin, Dimple Kapadia looks lovely in her steel grey woven sari. Ex-husband Rajesh Khanna is there too to lend support. So is friend and socialite Parmeshwar Godrej.
Showman Subhash Ghai leaves no stone unturned to ensure the premiere of his ambitious Pardes launching newcomer Mahima Chaudhry and Apoorva Agnihotri is a grand affair.
1. The scene could almost be mistaken for a wedding reception what with a enthusiastic Ghai introducing his two young finds to the who's who of tinsel town ranging from Dilip Kumar, Saira Bano, Shammi Kapoor, Javed Akhtar, Juhi Chawla, Sanjay and Zarine Khan,Rakesh Roshan, Manisha Koirala, Amrish Puri, Raj Kanwar and Kapoor brothers -- Rishi and Randhir.
2. Ah yes, that's Sunil Gavaskar and a very young Rohan shaking hands with Ghai on his East versus West drama starring Shah Rukh Khan. Nope, he didn't attend the premiere.
3. Lot of reporters gathering around Sunil Shetty. And why not? 1997 was a landmark year for the action hero who finally earned some recognition for his performance in J P Dutta's Border and a solo success in Bhai.
4. A clearly exuberant Mahima chirps, 'It's a very special night. I am excited. I am happy.'
Dil Se... premiere
Mani Ratnam, Shekhar Kapur and Ram Gopal Varma collaborating on a movie was always going to be a big deal.
Excerpts from the Dil Se.. premiere held in Mumbai's Cine Magic.
1. Manisha Koirala doesn't seem to be in the mood for conversation. Or looking presentable. That is one heck of a frumpy kurta-jeans combination to be worn by the leading lady on the premiere night of a much-anticipated movie. She later steps out of the screening all spaced out, to give some sound bytes, oddly covering her head with her hand in a bid to protect herself from the flashlights.
2. The film's hero Shah Rukh Khan, too, doesn't seem to be in the mood to dress up. Moreover, his body language and a rather dismissive tone, 'I don't know, my job is done,' compel you to suspect he may not be entirely convinced about the final product.
3. Thank god for Malaika Arora. The gorgeous Chhaiya Chhaiya girl, with barely any make-up on, compensates for the main leads' lack of enthusiasm with her vivacity and excitement.
4. Not a very starry turnout this. Here's who we spotted: Varma, Kapur, Lata Mangeshkar, David Dhawan, Vashu Bhagnani, Arbaaz Khan, Smita Thackerey, Bharat Shah, Poonam Dhillon and Farah Khan.
Rangeela music launch
A R Rahman's soundtrack for Ram Gopal Varma's Rangeela was easily one of the talking points of the entertainer.
Here's what the music launch had to offer:
1. All the usual suspects: Rakesh Roshan, Subhash Ghai, Indra Kumar, GP Sippy, Mehul Kumar and Shekhar Kapur with ex-wife Suchitra Krishnamurthy.
2. Aamir Khan made his entry with Reena Dutta looking nice in a black sari. He also spoke briefly about the distinct sound of Rahman's creations and how they need some getting used to. The two would later go on to work on his Oscar-nominated Lagaan and other hit productions like Jaane Tu Yaa Jaane Naa.
3. Director Varma picked a rather colorful shirt, perfect for a beach outing, to attend the function. Perhaps an after-effect of filming all those songs in the sun and sand?
4. Notice the quiet warmth enveloping Rahman when his mother, Kareema Begum launches the music along even as chief guest Amitabh Bachchan (again someone Varma would work on features like Sarkar series, Nishabd and the upcoming Department) applauds to support.
5. Urmila Matondkar would become a household name after Rangeela. But at its launch, she was just another hopeful with starry-eyed dreams. Her eagerness and zeal is reminiscent of her character Mili while talking about her expectations from the film.
Prem Aggan premiere
Another star son. Another lavish premiere.
Trust actor/filmmaker Feroz Khan to do things in style. This time to mark the debut of son Fardeen in Prem Aggan, directed by the late legend.
1. The premiere, hosted in downtown Mumbai's New Excelsior, is running a matinee show of Titanic. What's the big deal? The film released in 1997. Prem Aggan came out in 1998.
1. The Khan clan -- Feroz, ex-wife Sundari, their daughter Laila, brothers -- Sanjay, Akbar, sister-in-law Zarine came in full strength to cheer for their darling Fardeen. The debutant and his leading lady Meghana Kothari, however, are a wild mix of anxiety, relief and nervousness.
2. How glamorous is Rekha in a cream and gold ensemble?
3. Curious about that wiry haired stunner? That's model, actr ess Suman Ranganathan.
4. A gleaming, proud FK Sr appears assured about the film, which, to his dismay, was instantly thumbed down by critics and viewers alike. Check out the clips interspersed in this video, you'll know why.