Ekta Kapoor’s Kyunki Saans Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi changed the face of Indian television forever. The show struck a cord with the previously untapped market for shows based on the real lives of housewives all over the country. Much like international daily soaps like Bold And The Beautiful and The Days Of Our Lives, Kyunki…..also had an extremely successful run for over a decade. The show created a category for Indian drama that suddenly became the standard format for almost all shows on all channels.
For many years nearly every show was a clone of each other following the Kyunki model until storylines became more and more convoluted and audiences grew tired of the same old scripts. Refreshingly some channels started producing different genres of shows and reality shows suddenly became all the rage. Even though drama is still the dominant category on Indian television, writers have started experimenting with more real life scenarios and believable characters.
Another effect of mainly women centric television soaps is their influence on women’s fashion in India. Even though the characters are becoming more realistic there is still an element of awe about them, which is cued through their costumes. For Indian television it’s not uncommon to see women dressed in head to toe wedding finery even for ordinary chores. Given the massive reach of Indian television it’s hardly surprising that the outfits worn by the characters become the prevailing fashion for many ordinary women.
It’s rather common to have nearly all female characters dressed primarily in Indian clothing because the show wants to create a connect with the more traditional suburban and rural Indian women. Without going into too much detail and only focussing on the fashion, we have selected our top picks for stylish Indian television characters.
Another leading Ekta Kapoor production, Kumkum Bhagya is a love story drama series about the lives of Abhi and Pragya. The famous musician Abhi is married to Pragya who is thought to be the love interest of Abhi’s sister’s crush. As the love story continues to get ever complicated many layers are added to Pragya’s character. Along with the character, her style on the show also undergoes a metamorphosis. Initially seen in simple chiffon anarkalis in sold colours with little make up and jewellery, Pragya’s character goes through a make over to emerge as a more contemporary Indian woman who wears pre-pleated saris and fitted lehengas.
Pragya in Kumkum Bhagya
The recently concluded show was a similar love triangle style story with a slightly more urban twist. Nia Sharma who plays Roshni was already an established television star with quite a few hit shows under her belt. Unlike the frumpy matrons on other shows, Nia is a svelte seductress who’s been voted the 3rd Sexiest Asian in UK. The show’s costume department also played it bold as compared to Indian television standards by often dressing Nia’s character Roshni in sheer jacket lehenga, anarkalis and saris especially in the colour yellow. The character and her style was a breath of fresh air in a sea of modest ethnic silhouettes.
Roshni in Jamai Raja
Naira in Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai
The long concluded show has returned as a web series but the unforgettable character of Maya Sarabhai is still used as a style inspiration for mature urban women in India. The show follows the trials and tribulations of high society life in South Mumbai, which is home to the country’s wealthiest people. The elitist matriarch of her family controls everything with an iron fist, sharp tongue and quick wit, while also making some classic fashion statements.
Maya’s character is a true blue Mumbai woman who is dressed for both practicality and style. From her woven silk and cotton saris that are aesthetically pleated to her slightly eyebrow raising yet totally on point blouses and her thankfully true portrayal of night suits rather than ethnic Indian for bedtime, Maya Sarabhai’s character was fantastically accurate to the style philosophies of real women. No wonder then that her costumes are still considered one of the best in Indian television so many years after the show wrapped up.
Maya in Sarabhai vs Sarabhai
Sources: Pinterest.com, Tellychakkar.com, Filmibeat.com, Vanani.com, Zeetv.com, Bollywoodlife.com, India-forums.com, Indiatoday.intoday.in