When it comes to representing India abroad, why do we always go overboard? Here’s why
When Anil Ambani walked the Oscar red carpet last year with his DreamWorks Studios partners Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider, one couldn’t help notice the contrast in the attires. Ambani opted for black velvet, red-trimmed bandhgala, with ruby and diamond buttons, as opposed to a tuxedo. While it is commendable that he went for the Indian attire, surely he could have done better than the ill-fitting pants and the over the top bandhgala. The otherwise sauve businessman is known for his crisp suits and formal clothes but why did he lose the plot while walking the red carpet?
Cut to 65th Cannes Film Festival, the hotbed of the latest in style, fashion and couture. Cannes 2012 saw Aishwarya Rai bounce back after the public backlash regarding her weight post preganancy. Ash chose clever makeup and a ….dress to hide pregnancy fat. It worked. Well, almost. However, L’Oreal Paris brand ambassador Sonam Kapoor, known for her quirky fashion sense got it all wrong with her red Dolce & Gabbana dress at the Winners Dinner. After her successful debut the year before at the festival, Sonam’s experiments with her looks made her look like a makeup mannequin. Her choice of polka dotted Naeem Khan gown left much to be desired. Kalki Koelchin who was there to support her husband’s film ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ wore a nude Dior gown, an over-sized necklace and a Dior clutch completed her tooth fairy look.
This year at the French Rivera was no different. Attending his first Cannes event for his role in Great Gatsby, the otherwise dapper Amitabh Bachchan wore a stripped jacket with a belt, white pants and white shoes. Perhaps he was getting ready for snowfall? His evening look didn’t do any good either as he wore glittery black suit with a sequin tuxedo jacket with a polka-dotted bow-tied which was blinding enough amidst the sea of formal tuxedos in the room.
When it came to choosing the attire for the red carpet, both Sonam and Vidya were the crusaders on Indian culture on the red carpet. While Sonam chose Anamika Khanna's couture saree with a shimmering white golden blouse, her nose-ring ruined the show. After her first appearance in a maroon Sabyasachi lehenga, Vidya took her love for Indian costumes to another level with duppatta-on-forehead Umrao Jaan look. After that, she changed to a matronly sari and nose ring with hair tightly tied behind. Perhaps she could’ve hired a new hair stylist to turn drab into dashing.
Why do we overdo the traditional when it comes to representing the country abroad? Is it to showcase the couture of the Indian designers or is it to get a nod from the international media? Whatever it is, it is certainly not working. The only saving grace has been the belated entry of Fresh Rivera veteran Aishwarya Rai. After experimenting with her looks for years and battling backlash for her fashion sense, the diva stopped traffic with her stunning Eli Saab gown and minimal make-up and hairdo. Here’s hoping her good run continues for the rest of the days too.