How do I dress Bollywood?
September 11, 2005 5:50 PM   Subscribe

What can I do to easily whip up a "Bollywood" costume for myself and my husband in the next three days?

We're going to rather unconventional wedding this Friday - the ceremony is taking place in a cave - and the bride and groom have invited everyone to this Bollywood-themed dinner Saturday night. We're supposed to come in costume. Unfortunately I've never even seen a Bollywood film so I've got no idea which things are iconic and essential and which aren't. Is it just as simple as throwing on a sari and putting a dot on my forehead? Is there anything more original that wouldn't necessitate spending a lot of money? There is a costume shop nearby that I plan to check out but the only time I can get down there is right before we leave, and besides, they're hella expensive. So I'd prefer to put something together myself if possible. We're in Sydney, Australia if anybody has any specific shop suggestions...
posted by web-goddess to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total)
Can you watch a movie and dress as a character you like?
posted by null terminated at 5:54 PM on September 11, 2005

Try to find an indian colleague or a friend's friend (if you dont have one yourself) of indian origin for ideas. Here in US that wont be much of a problem. Not sure of Australia.

Instead of a "costume" shop try an indian store. Here in US those seem to carry clothes etc. too, specially the larger ones. With costume shops you will probably end up as what item is saying. It depends whose wedding it is I guess. If the bride/groom are of Indian origin then I would avoid the costume shop and try finding some indian folks for ideas.
posted by flyby22 at 6:35 PM on September 11, 2005

I'd go with a brightly-colored sari and some gold bangles. If you can, try to get someone who can help you put on the sari- I've been taught how to do it a couple times but still find it difficult.
posted by elisabeth r at 6:48 PM on September 11, 2005

I'd recommend watching Bride and Prejudice -- silly, fun, and sufficiently bollywoody that it should give you enough ideas.

In a nutshell -- colour, colour, colour. When in doubt, add more colour. Except for your husband. Baggy white for him, with a turban.

Note: I am neither indian nor a costume designer. In fact, my abilities in this area are as bountiful as the Kalahari. Be warned ;)

Heh. "Kalahari" was originally "kalamari", before my internal editor smacked me in the mouth. Mmm.. fishy desert.
posted by coriolisdave at 6:58 PM on September 11, 2005

Response by poster: They're not Indian; I think they just have a fondness for Bollywood films. And just to clarify, the wedding itself isn't themed. This is just a dinner party on the next day for anyone who's sticking around for the weekend.

Elisabeth's answer is the best so far in terms of what I'm looking for. Okay, so lots of color for me and white for him. That's helpful.

We considered going to an Indian store - I'm sure there are some around - but I'm guessing that would mean shelling out more money. I'm sure I could get a lovely sari but how expensive are they? As this is a one-off event, I was sorta hoping for ways to use stuff we already have or that are readily available for cheap.

Now I'm off to Accessorize to pick up a ton of gold bangles...
posted by web-goddess at 7:12 PM on September 11, 2005

Response by poster: Oh, that should have read "Elisabeth's and coriolisdave's answers are the best so far..."
posted by web-goddess at 7:14 PM on September 11, 2005

i guess then you should just enjoy it and not worry much about any cultural issues.
posted by flyby22 at 7:28 PM on September 11, 2005

Warning Sholay Spoiler:

If the man is going to wear all white, he might try to play a character in the classic Sholay: Sanjeev Kumar as the silver haired armless former cop. His arms have been cut off but he can fight like a mofo with the help of his special pointy shoes with spikes! (he wear's a shawl throughout the movie to hide the handicap).
posted by crack at 7:49 PM on September 11, 2005

Best answer: How to wear a sari.
posted by Tarrama at 8:03 PM on September 11, 2005

You could go as Kajol, a beautiful actress who had a trademark unibrow - just pencil it in, I suppose. If the party includes people who are fans of Bollywood films or have actually watched a few, they should get the reference.
posted by PY at 10:32 PM on September 11, 2005

Don't worry about spending money on sari material - buy fabric that you can re-use to make cushion covers or curtains. I have a sari length wrapped around a wrought iron curtain pole on a large french window and it looks wonderful. Best of all, you just whip it off, launder it and put it back up (no pesky hooks to fiddle with). Alternatively you could trim an existing tunic or plain dress with indian style fabric.

The boyfriend's outfit doesn't have to be white by the way, if either of you have sewing skills you could try making a tunic like this for him to wear with plain cotton pants.

Good luck and enjoy the wedding!
posted by ceri richard at 12:13 AM on September 12, 2005

Crack and PY have excellent suggestions.

And the Sanjeev Kumar suggestion would be really easy and cheap -- just get a very large shawl (or a blanket) grey, if possible, and have your husband drape it around his body, pinning his arms to his sides.

Sholay is the biggest blockbuster in Indian history, so people will get it. Then, at the party, he can go around looking noble and pensive, and kicking people without moving his arms.">
(The best picture I could find.)

And Kajol would be as easy as drawing on a unibrow and grinning innocently all the time. Kajol seems to dress like a Nascar driver, in the movies I've seen -- big logos: DKNY, Polo, whatever. Bright colors, lots of logos, modern, western dress. Sleek hair. A floppy hat.

posted by Methylviolet at 5:21 AM on September 12, 2005

Now I'm off to Accessorize to pick up a ton of gold bangles...

Buy them in the Indian store too, you'll save a fortune on Accessorize prices.
posted by essexjan at 11:36 AM on September 12, 2005

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