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Article Hindi

12 years on, revisiting the colourful fashion of Bunty Aur Babli

The 2005 film, which completes 12 years today on 27 May, had trendy Indian outfits paired with modern styles created by fashion designer Aki Narula.

Sonal Pandya

Fashion and Indian cinema has always gone hand in hand. From the skin-tight churidars in Waqt (1965) to Madhuri Dixit’s iconic purple sari in Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994), the audiences, especially women have looked up to the stars of silver screen for their fashion inspiration.

Shaad Ali’s second film Bunty Aur Babli (2005) used fashion as backdrop whereby his two lead characters, Rakesh aka Bunty (Abhishek Bachchan) and Vimmi aka Babli (Rani Mukerji), are able to slip in and out to con people of their money and valuables. The small-town nobodies become somebodies of importance as they change their appearance to impersonate health inspectors, religious figures, and wealthy investors.

Rani Mukerji

Rani Mukerji’s look in the film became a rage after the film was released. Costume designer Aki Narula made her wear bright collared kurtis, with matching patialas. The whole outfit was then accented by a red jhola bag which also became popular. Her style in the film became known as the ‘Bunty Babli suit’. Many tailors that year were besieged by customers wanting to replicate Mukerji's clothes.

Amitabh Bachchan

Bunty Aur Babli was the first time that Amitabh Bachchan was acting alongside his son Abhishek. He played a senior police officer hot on heels on the scheming twosome. For Amitabh’s look in the film, Narula gave him an interesting mix of the rustic with the fashionable — a leather jacket with a red gamcha (sweat towel) topped off with cool sunglasses for his character, deputy commissioner Dashrath Singh.

At the time, Rediff review by Sukanya Verma had noted that “a lot of attention is paid on detailing and structuring the two lead protagonists' character sketches. Besides their onscreen tricks, the viewer immediately notices the appearance of the actors.”

Aishwarya Rai made a special appearance in the film in an item number (which were lesser then than they are now) ‘Kajra Re’ with Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan. Two years later in April 2007, Aishwarya and Abhishek were married.

In the film, Aishwarya’s ethnically Indian yet glamourous look, interestingly with a striking passa [a side hair tikka] in her hair came at a time when she was being wooed as an international star with projects in Hollywood like Bride & Prejudice (2004) and The Mistress of Spices (2005).   

The fashion of the film, complimented by a hit soundtrack by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, was one of the reasons why Bunty Aur Babli clicked with audiences 12 years ago.