WOMEN’S COSTUMES AND FASHION IN CONTEMPORARY BOLLYWOOD FILMS
The essay presents basic ways of using costume in the process of constructing female characters in Bollywood films. The author starts with defining film costume in its relation to fashion and then elaborates on the role of costumes in constructing the character, transferring information about him or her in a condensed form, while at the same time creating new meanings and popularizing new trends. The evolution of costumes in Bollywood mirrors social changes in 20th and 21st century India — new definitions of femininity and the changing status of women in the social structure. Costumes also play an important role in articulating the opposition of tradition versus modernity in Bollywood films. Saree and salwar kameez are contrasted with western costumes and each of them involves particular symbolic meanings. Traditional costumes are situated in the nationalist discourse, while at the same time playing an important role in codifying sexuality and eroticism. On the other hand, iconic costumes, saturated with specific meanings are brought to the forefront in filmic mise en scène, earning some autonomy and entering into the cultural imaginarium.