Take a bow, Manish Malhotra!
As a kid, he would instinctively pick the clothes that suited his mother best.
He loved watching Bollywood movies, ONLY Bollywood movies.
The only reason he passed his science tests is because he excelled at diagrams.
When he grew up, he knew he didn’t want to be a part of his father’s air-conditioning business but do his bit for the glitzy and glamorous Hindi film industry.
And that’s exactly what celebrated fashion designer Manish Malhotra and his resplendent costumes have gone on to achieve. He doesn’t merely create pretty clothes for his heroines. He transforms them.
Except his journey to the top wasn’t as smooth as his velvety creations. Without any formal training to boast, the soft-spoken Malhotra relied purely on his knack for fashion and sheer hard work during his struggling phase before making a breakthrough in Urmila Matondkar’s iconic transformation of Rangeela.
Through the last 25 years, he’s emerged as Bollywood’s most reliable trendsetter as well as a brand to reckon with in the realm of high-end fashion.
As Manish Malhotra turns 50 on December 5, we take a look at his 25 signature looks on and off screen.
Urmila Matondkar’s short dresses, skimpy shorts, knotted shirts and lycra tights keenly contributed in her metamorphosis from girl-next-door to sexy kitten in Rangeela. Only nothing asserted it as wildly as her strapless red number during the Hai Rama song.
Audiences loved the sophisticated, feminine grace of a previously gawky Karisma Kapoor as she completely stole the thunder from Aamir Khan’s titular Raja Hindustani.
Malhotra’s chartreuse green and gold creation worn by Kajol in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’s mehendi melody enjoys a fond place right next to Madhuri Dixit’s purple crystal sari from Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!
Criticised throughout her career for sporting tacky wardrobe, Madhuri Dixit is poetry in motion under Malhotra’s pastel-themed attire for Yash Chopra’s musical confection, Dil Toh Pagal Hai.
If Madhuri dripped sensuality in desi attire, Karisma rocked effortless chic in her bold and beautiful westerns in DTPH. Mini MM dresses became her thing for a while in the movies to follow.
Worn by Kajol at a My Name is Khan promotion, Malhotra’s black georgette with a gold and red velvet border (and its more affordable knock-offs) found a huge following among budding fashionistas.
Ditto for the ditzy polka dot sari worn by the leggy Sushmita Sen in Main Hoon Naa.
From Amrita Puri in Aisha to Alia Bhatt in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, it’s easy to see why every fashion-conscious girl is starry-eyed about Kareena Kapoor’s stylish pink lehenga in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’s Bole Chudiyan.
Katrina Kaif likes to keep her off screen outings fairly uncomplicated but even she can’t resist the allure of a sparkly Manish Malhotra design.
Kareena Kapoor radiates a regal and red-hot vibe shaking leg to Ra.One’s Chammak Challo in her glorious sari avatar.
It’s not just movies, red carpets and ramps, good friend and go-to designer Manish Malhotra turned out to be Bebo’s immediate choice for her trousseau too.
Expectedly, he does not disappoint.
Rani Mukerji’s lace sleeved kurtas and Kajol’s crocheted blouses turned out to be quite a rage alongside SRK’s GAP and Tommy Hilfiger clothing in Karan Johar’s super hit debut, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
Raveena Tandon’s smouldering appearance as Shaher Ki Ladki in Rakshak kick started the on-going trend of item numbers but what sets it apart from most is Malhotra’s super hip creations.
There’s a reason why a Manish Malhotra lehenga is as coveted as it is. One look at Preity Zinta’s turquoise and fawn sequinned combo in Kal Ho Naa Ho and you know why.
How to do desi and dishy at once? Malhotra demonstrates in the hugely popular lamé gold seven yards draped around the curvy Priyanka Chopra in Dostana.
Dreamy, glittery and oozing romance, one doesn’t need to read the label to figure who Anushka Sharma is wearing.
At the start of his career, Malhotra styled Sridevi for a photo shoot. Today, he’s easily among her most preferred designers. Few can do justice to his elaborate, kitschy designs like the Chandni star.
When speaking of one Bollywood queen, can the other be too far? Madhuri Dixit dance-filled comeback post-marriage may not be a box office success but her black and blue outfit in Aaja Nachle’s title track sure hit the jackpot.
Alia Bhatt inspires a spanking new generation of fashion lovers in her shimmering silver-pink lehenga for the Radha chartbuster in her debut, Student of the Year.
Malhotra’s glittery saris aren’t his only virtue. He can make a statement with minimal trimmings as Deepika Padukone’s sexily flaunts during Badtameez Dil in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.
Malhotra’s fascination with velvet is well known and most gorgeously modeled by desi girl Priyanka Chopra.
Nothing like an eternal beauty to play fashion muse. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan lends her classic charm to play showstopper to Malhotra’s Empress Story.
It’s only natural Bollywood’s ultimate clotheshorse has walked in Malhotra’s creations too. But when it’s with daddy Anil Kapoor in tow, glamour hits a new peak.
How swell is Sonakshi Sinha in her festive red, embellished and collared ankle-length kurta?
No mention of Manish Malhotra is complete without his ornate take on the anarkali, a trend that simply refuses to fade out of style.
We quite dig this version on his pal Kajol.