Five decades of Yashraj and three decades of the chiffon sari. Though I was born in the late ‘90s, almost inching towards the new millennium, the pop-culture movement of the decade is not lost on me and I love to identify as the ‘90s baby who wants nothing but to wear a yellow chiffon sari and flaunt her moves against the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland with a rosy-cheeked boy to the soft tunes of Tere Mere Hothon to Pe—akin to Sridevi’s look in the Yash Chopra-directed Chandni. And I know I’m not alone.
The film paved the way for romance as a genre in Hindi cinema and Sridevi redefined beauty, grace, and elegance with her on-screen presence. She ventured into the film industry at the age of four as a child artist in South Indian cinema, and made her debut in the Hindi film industry at the age of nine. Her bold expressions, mishchievous eyes and cheeky smile had everyone smitten and in love with all that the actor had to offer. Her filmography spans over three decades, with classics such as Mr India, Chandni, Julie, Maqsad, Lamhe, and more.
Her iconic looks made waves then, and continue to be a trend that many wish to cop. What was started by Sridevi, years ago, became an irreplaceable legacy with Rekha in Silsila, Kajol in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham..., and most recently, Alia Bhatt in Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani acing the looks. On Sridevi’s birthday, we decided to take a look back at some of her most iconic on-screen looks and saris that will be ingrained in our minds and hearts forever.
Yellow lace sari, 'Chandni'
Sridevi’s yellow lace sari that she wears for the song Tere Mere Hothon Pe, became one of the main talking points of the film and it appears impossible to forget the classic look. Her beauty, grace, and elegance stood out against the blue skies, lush green hills, and snowcapped mountains. Most of her looks from the film were conceptualised and created by veteran costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, who worked in tandem with Chopra’s vision for the ultimate romance.
Red chiffon sari, 'Jaanbaaz'
Even her cameo in the 1986 film, Jaanbaaz made for an absolutely head-turning moment as the actor wore a bold red chiffon sari during the song, Har Kisi Ko Nahi Milta Yahan Pyaar Zindagi Mein. Her voluminous hair and statement make-up set against the backdrop of the ocean, was ethereal, dream-like and unforgettable for most.
Blue sari, 'Mr India'
There are only a few moments more iconic than Sridevi in Mr. India during the song, Kaate Nahi Kat Te. Set against the backdrop of a downpour invoking romance, love, and intimacy, Sridevi looks sultry and stunning in a blue chiffon sari, a matching bindi, and bold red lipstick.
White Sari, 'Chandni'
Who is a Yash Chopra heroine? She’s otherworldly beautiful, the epitome of grace, and exudes delicate yet bold Indian-ness. And a Yash Chopra heroine staple was the classic white sari. Inevitably, the white sari made its way into Sridevi’s wardrobe in the film Chandni. Here’s a still from the film with the ever-so-charming Rishi Kapoor that gives us a glimpse into the fairytale-esque world of Yash Chopra.
Pink sari, 'Lamhe'
Going a little astray from the chiffon sari norm, Sridevi wore a stunning fuschia pink sari with gold zari work on the borders in her film Lamhe, also directed by Yash Chopra. The actor’s looks were designed by costumer designer Neeta Lulla, who won the national award for her work in the film and whose frequent interactions with Sridevi enabled a life-long relationship with her.
Red sari, 'Sadma'
Sridevi wore yet another iconic sari in the cult film, Sadma. Her elbow length blouse, plaited hair and deep red sari with golden borders are an ode to the fashion moments of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
All saris, 'English Vinglish'
Sridevi made her come back to Hindi films with the Gauri Shinde-directed English Vinglish that dwelled on the shortcoming of a society with narrowly defined roles of a mother. Many of her looks were designed by master couturier Sabyasachi Mukherjee and reflected the themes of beauty in simplicity and the various nuances of motherhood.