May 01, 2022

All-Time Favorite Indian Dresses in Bollywood

When you think of your favorite Bollywood movies, what comes to your mind?

For most people, this ranges between interesting storylines and the incredibly believable performance of the star actors and actresses. For many women though, the dresses and fashion choices featured in certain scenes of certain iconic movies are forever imprinted on our minds.

This is why we are here discussing our all-time favorite Indian dresses in Bollywood.

A lot has happened since Dadasaheb Phalke's silent Raja Harishchandra was produced in 1913 as India’s first-ever feature film. Today, Bollywood releases about 2000 movies every year.

It’s a whole lot to watch and certainly, there are more than enough dresses guaranteed to steal your heart. This post, however, comprises our exhaustive list and review of the most iconic Indian dresses in Bollywood that have not only become fan favorites but also assumed icon status in India and beyond.

1. Retro-wrap Orange Saree - Mumtaz in Brahmachari

Legendary Bollywood actress, Mumtaz made a statement in the late 1960s when she graced our screens in an orange saree while performing the song Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyar Ke.

A Women in Orange Saree

A Women in Orange Saree

That movie might have been released over fifty years ago, but Mumtaz’s style inspired a change in how we wrap sarees. That fashion statement still reverberates today and it’s one of those scenes that just won’t go away.

2. Red Embellished Anarkali - Madhubala in Mughal-E-Azam

There were a lot of things that made Mugal-E-Azam one of the most iconic epics to have come out of Bollywood.

The storyline is based on the legendary love affair between Mughal Prince Saleem and court dancer Lady Anarkali. The red costume worn by Madhubala as the lead actress turned out to be one of the lasting impacts and legacy of that movie.

Since the young Madhubala dazzled in that red and light blue embellished Anarkali costume while performing the song Jab Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, that dress style has since set a precedent for Indian fashion that we still follow today.

A Traditional Style Anarkali Suit

A Traditional Style Anarkali Suit

3. Tight-fitting churidar kurta - Sadhana in Waqt

Sadhana Shivdasani’s performance in the 1965 Bollywood blockbuster Waqt did not only steal our hearts with her brilliant interpretation of her character and role, but her fashion choices throughout the movie also enjoyed great reception among the young generation of her time and even today.

Her tight-fitting churidar kurtas became the rage for young women who love the body-hugging style. Over five decades later, that style still remains evident in Indian fashion today.

4. Blue chiffon saree - Sridevi in Mr. India

We never imagined a chiffon saree could make for such an exciting sight. However, many people will agree today that hardly can we think of seeing Sridevi in anything better than the blue chiffon saree she wore in Mr. India. Sridevi turned what many would usually see as just a mere saree into a statement piece that has become inseparable from Bollywood and modern fashion since the 90s.

5. Short shirts - Rani Mukerji in Bunty Aur Babli

Rani Mukerji’s character might have been criminal and all in this movie but the actress’ selection of collared short shirts and patialas paired with a jhola bag, is always tied to this popular movie. So popular that this led to the birth of a range of dress styles known as the Bunty Babli suits.

Deepika Padukone’s dark blue chiffon Saree in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is another example of how captivatingly powerful a simple blue chiffon dress can be.

6. Long T-shirts - Kareena Kapoor in Jab We Met

Bollywood’s screen queen was playing Geet Dhillion in Jab We Met along with co-star Shahid Kapoor, not long ago. In that movie, her costumes of mostly casual dresses became so popular among youngsters, setting a kind of new trend in Indian dresses.

While her suit salwar with no matching color combination is one of the most talked-about, the most popular dresses Kareena wore in that movie has to be her range of long t-shirts with Patiala salwar pants, which are arguably the most prominent.

7. One-piece Swimsuit - Sharmila Tagore in An Evening in Paris

The legendary Sharmila Tagore will forever be revered for her contributions to Bollywood and Bengali cinema. And one of her many undying legacies aside from her raw talent is her choice of costumes, with the one-piece swimsuit she wore in the movie (and on the cover of Filmfare, too!), An Evening In Paris being one of the most popular.

An Evening In Paris was released in the late 1960s when Bollywood was still finding its feet. The dress was as controversial as it was successful. It was the first-ever bikini shoot in an Indian movie. Not only did it become a success after the movie's release, but it also helped pioneer a new era of fashion for Indian women.

8. Backless Blouse with Saree - Madhuri Dixit in Hum Aapke Hai Kaun

This is one of those movies impossible to remove from the conversation when discussing Indian dresses in Bollywood. Hum Aapke Hai Kaun was a huge success and set standards in fashion for both men and women.

Lead actress, Madhuri Dixit shone in different outfits, including a simple green lehenga dress. Her three-piece combo of an embroidered backless blouse with a saree is perhaps her most attention-grabbing outfit in any movie.

Women in Backless Blouse and Saree

Women in Backless Blouse and Saree

9. Pastel Color Sarees - Aishwarya Rai in Mohabbatein

Screen gem, Aishwarya Rai paired with Shah Rukh Khan in Mohabbatein and won many over with their impressive acting skills. You know they did well when that movie was the highest-grossing movie during its release year.

But alongside the undeniable expertise of these legends delivering on the screen, their choice of costumes also made headlines. Aishwarya made do with a range of chiffon sarees like Sridevi’s Mr. India only that this time, the sarees are in some very cool pastel shades

10. Golden saree - Priyanka Chopra in Dostana

Manish Malhotra styled Priyanka Chopra for the movie Dostana and boy did he nail it perfectly. Her choice of costumes ranges from a beautiful gold swimsuit to beach-ready summer dresses but it is her golden saree that was the talk of the town after the movie's release. This metallic saree style became a hit in 2008 and still is, today.

Bollywood and fashion are inseparable!

There are hundreds, if not thousands of dresses and costumes in Bollywood that will leave you drooling. Up here are the few Indian dresses in Bollywood we could think of that have not only garnered public attention but also started fashion movements.

Bollywood is home to divas from across every corner of India and is undoubtedly the best place to get a wide view of the Indian fashion culture.  

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