Sukanya Verma in Mumbai
In films, nothing is pointless.
Not even the clothes worn by the actors. Every single fragment of a frame exhales what was originally created on paper to produce an everlasting visual.
The Indian sari, with its rich heritage, exquisite variety and dazzling temperament lends itself to such a cause with quiet candor, rendering a bewitching picture of the celluloid maiden.
Resembling its own versatile existence, the sari plays different roles, apart from its obvious function, in its screen avatar as well. At times, to bring out the sensual side of the demure heroine.
On others, to attest her pristine essence. Occasionally, standing in to convey a symbolic gesture. But, mostly to adorn a breezy song with trendsetting creativity and delightful fashion.
Here's my list of 25 unforgettable saris in Hindi films and why. Feel free to add your picks to the collection!
It doesn't matter if Shah Rukh Khan's superhero film wasn't quite what it set out to be, Kareena Kapoor's red-hot delivery in and as Chammak Challo isn't leaving public memory anytime soon.
One sees her in saris all the time but Vidya Balan instinctive sexuality in the opening scene of Ishqiya is inimitable.
Picture this: Lying on the bed in a tantalizing pose, which brings attention to her curvaceous outline draped in a sparkling red sari, she languidly hums the Gulzar-penned Ab mujhe koi.
Singh is Kinng, 2008
No Sheila or Chameli can match the allure and sexiness of Katrina Kaif's tall figure draped around a gorgeous black net sari in the Teri ore song from the super-hit Akshay Kumar vehicle, Singh is Kinng.
From swimsuit to sari, all that glitters is gold reiterates 'Desi Girl' Priyanka Chopra wearing the sparkling hue not once but twice to provide memorable results in the Miami-set comedy, Dostana.
Main Hoon Naa, 2004
Sushmita Sen's last memorable outing had her play a sexy, sophisticated teacher with a penchant for flowy saris and vibrant prints in Farah Khan's Main Hoon Naa.
And her red and black polka dot sari became a huge rage.
Playing a streetwalker with a shoddy sense of style in Chameli explains Kareena Kapoor's choice of a flashy red sari teamed with cheap floral blouse, which she adorns all through the film.
But thanks to her spontaneous performance, we haven't forgotten either.
In the final scene of Devdas, Aishwarya Rai's Paro rushes out of her huge mansion to catch one last glimpse of her 'Deva.'
Call it over the top or dramatic, it is her white puja sari with a traditional lal paad that takes a life of its own in the final moments of this lavishly-filmed tragedy.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, 1998
Bollywood's tomboys have a thing for transforming into an epitome of femininity.
We experience something to the effect with Kajol's Anjali.
Her sudden preference for chiffon saris and lace blouses in Karan Johar's directorial debut Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is ultimately excused just because she's looking so divine, especially in this red (represents amore and passion) version, when she and Rahul (SRK), finally reach a romantic realisation.
Raveena Tandon's Mast Mast avatar in Mohra continues to be hugely popular.
So is her visible aggression towards Akshay Kumar as the no-holds barred seductress wearing a bright yellow sari against the beats of Tip tip barsa paani.
Katrina Kaif tried to recreate the look and magic with AK in De Dana Dan but it was nowhere close to the original.
Hum Aapke Hain Koun...!, 1994
Bollywood outfits go viral too.
Remember Madhuri Dixit's Didi tera devar look in Sooraj Barjatya's blockbuster?
Her purple satin sari, heavily embellished in crystals, teamed with a striking backless blouse caught the fancy of an overwhelming female population.
Unlike the festive and playful rendition of the sari in the previous slide, Madhuri aimed to turn guys into weak-kneed jell-o with her lustful moves and draping style in Beta's Dhak Dhak.
All through the flashbacks of Ijaazat, Gulzar's masterful take on relationships, Rekha dons beautiful Narayan peth saris in all possible colours.
But it's her striking red crepe silk sari as she recalls the threads of a past life in a railway waiting room, which indicates a new life, a new weave.
Dimple Kapadia paints the screen in shades of crimson allowing her radiating skin and tease-of-a-blouse with all its multiple strings to prolong and resonate the superhot sentiments of the RD Burman ditty, Jaane do na in Saagar.
Mr India, 1987
No one can deny Sridevi's ability to look erotic even when she's covered from head to toe.
Her provocative dance in Mr India, draped in layers of electric blue chiffon, is testimony to this scorching fact.
Ram Teri Ganga Maili, 1985
Usually a white sari's job is to either communicate either spooky circumstances (Sadhana in Woh Kaun Thi?) or a colour-robbed existence (Jaya Bachchan in Sholay).
Mandakini's interpretation redefined the genre. Let's just say that the relationship between a viewer and artist was never this transparent.
If only her life was as glossy and smooth as the steel gray silk worn by Shabana Azmi in one of the most crucial scenes of Mahesh Bhatt's acclaimed Arth.
Azmi's Pooja faces open humiliation at the hands of her unfaithful husband leading to a public showdown and consequent end of their marriage.
Roti Kapda Aur Makaan, 1974
From romping on the roof to bouncing on a swing, Zeenat Aman engages in all sorts of craziness during her seductive rain dance, Hai hai yeh majboori in a dripping flower-print orange sari.
Only the object of her affection, Manoj Kumar is too busy making silly to absurd faces to notice or join in.
From a school-going girl excited about wearing a mini-dress to the movies to a young woman sporting a gleaming red Benarasi and singing the classical beauty, Bole re papeehara, Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Guddi conveys the coming-of-age of a Dharmendra-obsessed Jaya Bhaduri in characteristic, inimitable style.
Johny Mera Naam, 1970
There's something instantly elegant and chic about this black chiffon with a turquoise blue embroidery border worn by a stunning Hema Malini in the O Mere Raja track from Johny Mera Naam.
Sultry Nanda is a portrait of sly mystique and understated sensuality in a see-through cerulean blue sari, playing the unwilling host(age) to an escaped convict (Rajesh Khanna) in Yash Chopra's experimental thriller, Ittefaq.
It's amazing how she didn't even play the main lead in Brahmachari and yet Mumtaz is credited for the most iconic image of this family flick starring Shammi Kapoor.
Her uniquely draped orange -- gold sari highlight all her best assets allowing her to freely twist around the buoyant tunes of Aaj kal tere mere pyaar ke charche.
Jewel Thief, 1967
This one's memorable for rather curious reasons.
It's as though Vyjayantimala set out to pay tribute to Santa's style with her vibrant red sari dotted by not sequins, stars or crystal, but ladoo-sized, puffy cotton balls.
The frothy rom-com about a staunch bachelor and his equally hard-nosed Guru comically fall for the same village girl forms the crux of Shagird's plot.
Adding some novelty to the proceedings, an impish Saira Banu made a style statement in spunky mini-saris, which garnered a lot of notice.
Urmila Matondkar copied her look to unsuccessful results in its lacklustre 1993 remake Shreeman Aashique.
There is much poetry to be found in the captivating frames and lilting sound of Vijay Anand's classic.
And among its many enduring images is Waheeda Rahman's enthralling snake dance in an attractive orange sari with an encrusted gold border and a contrasting black blouse.
Shree 420, 1955
Even a simple cotton sari can go a long way in the path of cinematic immortality.
It certainly appears true in the case of Nargis and that iconic moment in the rain, under an umbrella, with Raj Kapoor.
From Raveena Tandon in Patthar Ke Phool to Zarine Khan in Ready, it's been several decades of tribute.