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Itsy-bitsy cholis spice up Bollywood

Radhika Bhirani
3 December 2011

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) The glamorous choli made several hearts go 'dhak dhak' when Madhuri Dixit gyrated to 'Choli ke peeche kya hai' back in the early 1990s. Now the focus is once again on this indigenous piece of clothing for women, thanks to divas like Katrina Kaif and Vidya Balan, though designers warn against following the Bollywood trend blindly.

Be it Katrina in her popular 'Sheila ki jawaani' avatar and in the item number 'Chikni chameli' in the re-made 'Agneepath', or Vidya Balan unabashedly showing off her cleavage as dancing star Silk in 'The Dirty Picture' -- the choli is back into prominence.

Even Malaika Arora sizzled in a stylish choli for chartbuster 'Munni badnaam hui', Bipasha donned the teeny-weeny top for hit item numbers like 'Beedi' and 'Namak', and slim and trim Anushka Sharma was also seen in it the song 'Laung da lashkara'.

Former beauty queen Aishwarya Rai too didn't shy away from the choli for her chartbusters 'Ishq Kameena' and 'Kajra re', and even flaunted the garment confidently in 'Jodhaa Akbar'. And Kareena Kapoor did total justice to it - whether it was in the film 'Chameli' or in her latest song 'Chhammak challo'.

However, if you plan to wear one of these to a party or a wedding, fashion designers have a word of caution.

Required first and foremost is a perfect 10 body -- a trim waistline and washboard stomach always work for choli enthusiasts. Otherwise, Vidya's 'Dirty Picture' look is a no-no!

'Vidya has played a character, which was meant to be little voluptuous. But in everyday life, please don't wear that look if you don't have a perfect waistline. You don't want your love handles showing; neither do you want to make a fool of yourself. So only if you have a toned body, go for the choli,' designer Nida Mahmood, known for her quirky and stylish blouses, told IANS.

Mahmood says a good, simple and classic cut is the basic requisite to an 'eye-popping' choli.

'I think the first most important thing for a good choli is the cut. It is nice to keep it classic. That's what makes it stylish. The rest -- the colour and embellishments come later. I think strange necklines and unnecessary strings should be avoided, and then the choli can be teamed with anything - a sari or a skirt and dupatta,' Mahmood told IANS.

Designer Varija Bajaj advises busty women and those without toned backs to avoid cholis.

'Cholis accentuate the bust; so heavier women must avoid it. Besides, in India, women are not as comfortable showing off their cleavage as they are about showing off their back. What they don't realise is that they need a toned back to show it off in a sexy choli,' said Bajaj.

Since a lot of old-time actresses like Jaya Prada, Rekha, Hema Malini and Sridevi used to flaunt garish cholis with front knots, Bajaj warns against following the style blindly.

'What used to be the Bollywood style cholis cannot be worn in day-to-day life. Earlier, film actresses used to wear cholis with a bust patch, which would look very awkward on a woman in a wedding. So cholis have got a contemporary look now,' he said.

According to her, Priyanka Chopra's 'bikini blouse' in the song 'Desi girl' is a perfect example of the change in the look of the traditional choli.

'Cholis are popular in Gujarat and Rajasthan, but those are quite embroidered and embellished. Today's women like to wear cholis with what we call cocktail saris. So crystal studded blouses, or silver and golden-coloured blouses which may or may not be backless have taken over the bright orange, yellow, red and green colours of cholis popular in the rural areas of India,' added Bajaj, known for her bridal wear.

Mahmood added: 'A lot of actresses wore heavily embellished cholis because the character required them to. Even Kareena wore a gota-choli in 'Chameli'. For people off screen, it is best to keep cholis simple, and they should keep the choice of colour wise,' she added.

According to Niharika Khan, who designed for Vidya in 'The Dirty Picture', cholis are a very sexy part of Indian wardrobe, but people should use the right style depending upon their body and frame.

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)

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