Thursday, October 29, 2015

Filmi Halloween Costumes!

**reposted from Masala Mommas October 2015 issue:

It’s almost Halloween! Some folks plan their costumes out months in advance, painting, sewing and bedazzling creative concepts and pop culture icons into completely original likenesses. Others go the traditional route of a mask or robe and just try to be as scary as possible. If you were like me growing up, you spent several years recycling old lehengas and costume jewelry to be an “Indian girl” or “gypsy”.

I remember one year in particular that my sister and I decided to dress in black faux-leather and pose as Kajol and Manisha Koirala (respectively) from the poster of 90s film Gupt. It took some true filmi nerds to recognize us but we had a blast. I’ve thought year after year that Hindi films offer so many fabulous characters and signature “looks” that it would be really fun to come up with “filmi” Halloween costumes. Some are more appropriate for adults, but some could even work for kids!

Here were some really recognizable looks that came to mind immediately:

  • Ra.One: Shah Rukh Khan’s video game hero can satisfy any robot or video game enthusiast. Bonus points for doing the Chammak Challo dance!

  • Amar Akbar Anthony: Ideal if you have three boys! Might be a little difficult procuring an accordion but still …
  • Hawa Hawaii: For anyone who loves gold and glitter, big hair and a certain 80s aesthetic.
  • Shahenshah: That hair tho. Amitabh’s signature look for this movie is rough, tough and totally do-able with some silver washable hair spray.
  • Madhumati: Cutesy and innocent, Vyjayanthimala’s look in this film would suit the young and not-so-young.
  • Geet from Jab We Met: I’m particularly thinking of Kareena Kapoor’s look in the popular song “Yeh Ishq Haye” with the long skirt and peasant blouse.

  • Basanti from Sholay: Who wouldn’t love to play the feisty village belle?
  • Sridevi’s Nagina Costume: Dramatic, glittery white and beautiful, and no one will fault you if you want to skip the blue contact lenses.
  • Dimple’s 70s fashions from Bobby: All those bold prints! But watch out, some of these outfits can get a little mature for any little ones.
  • Zeenat Aman in Hare Rama Hare Krishna: Not a far leap from your standard hippie costume - all you need are some big tinted glasses, a flower garland or bead rudraksh mala, and a nice red tilak.

  • Rishi Kapoor’s silver disco suit from Karz: Those in the know will be singing “Om Shanti Om” upon sight. Larger than life turntable is optional.
  • Disco Dancer: Mithun’s sweet disco moves aren’t for everyone, but those spangly sequins costumes and headbands would certainly capture attention!
  • Chulbul Pandey from Dabangg: The khaki police uniform and pencil moustache Salman Khan sported in Dabangg is hilariously cute on little ones.

From the blog:

  • Mr. India: This could be really cute on a little guy - all you need is a floppy bucket hat, slightly oversize suit jacket and big bushy moustache. And of course those fancy glasses.
  • Raj from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge: Leather jacket, jeans and a fedora with a prominent feather sticking out. Add in a mandolin and you’ll have all the ladies swooning.

  • Krrish: The superhero costume Hrithik donned was really just a re-hash of Neo’s outfit from The Matrix. All you have to do is cut up a Batman mask and voila!
  • Anarkali from Mughal-E-Azam: Stunning, lavish and utterly recognizable, Madhubala’s beautiful Anarkali costumes from Mughal-E-Azam were specially designed and stitched from Agra and Delhi.
  • Anjali from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: Just find the most ill-fitting, unflattering overalls imaginable and a big wide headband. You can even carry a basketball for the complete effect. Just don’t wear Rahul’s “Cool” necklace.

  • Lightbulb Suit from Yaarana: This is my personal favorite idea! Saara Zamaana is such a fun song and apparently it was Amitabh Bachchan’s own idea to create the light up suit he wears in it. Nowadays it shouldn’t even be that hard to re-create with LED light ropes. If someone actually tries this please send in a picture -- I’m dying to see it brought to life!

These are just a few of my ideas. I would love to hear some other concepts, or see photos if you have tried them out! Happy Trick or Treating! Here’s a bonus Bollywood Halloween song for you!

Monday, October 19, 2015

RETRO POST: Diwali Dances for Kids

**Reprinted from Masala Mommas, October 2013 issue:

It's the most festive, exciting time of year according to me. It all starts with Navarathri which means a whirl of garbas and Durga Puja and visits to see people's Golu (South Indian custom). This is quickly followed by what feels like an endless stream of Diwali functions - community showcases, dinner dances and so on. And a guaranteed feature at these events is a whole bunch of kids dances!

Year after year I attend these functions and alternately find myself enraptured by or horrified by some of these displays. Sometimes the kids are amazingly coordinated or immaculately dressed, other times I find myself seriously questioning the parents that sanction sparkly booty shorts as appropriate costumes for children.

This is actually the first time I'm finding myself involved in these types of items. As a child I was always separated from these community items by virtue of being a Bharata Natyam dancer - so our items were set apart and usually themed on either Ram's return to Ayodhya,
Krishna defeating Narakasura or generally about Mahalakshmi or Devi.

Now as the parent of an almost six year old boy, I'm experiencing my first community Diwali dance - and it is beyond adorable. But it also led me to think about what songs I'm seeing performed at local events. Now if you are organizing a show you are likely to see the same songs popping up over and over -- One Two Three Four Get On The Dance Floor from Chennai Express, Radha from Student of the Year and either Badtameez Dil or Dilliwali Girlfriend from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. These seem to be the hot picks for Diwali 2013.

But supposing you wanted a more unique choice - something more age appropriate than lyrics about "booty shaking" and Radha's "sexy body". What songs exist out there in the Bolly Universe that could suit the occasion and the age of the performers? I had a great deal of fun pondering this question and thought I would share my short list - and I'm sure there are a great many more out there so we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

So here are my picks for Kid-Friendly Diwali Performance Songs from Bollywood Films:

For the younger set (songs that are a bit easier-paced for more lyrical moves than complicated steps but still fun and cute):

For elementary to pre-teen aged kids (more upbeat and/or would require more complex choreography):

For diya/candle dances (better for older children, probably 8+ to handle diyas):

No matter what song is chosen though, any efforts parents make to get the children involved in the spirit of celebrating our traditional holidays is a plus in my book. And as a little extra incentive, I definitely recommend getting a hold of some sparklers to light on Diwali night! My own childhood memories of Diwali definitely include the excitement (and slight fear) of sparklers.

I wish you all and your families a very fun-filled holiday season, whether you are celebrating Bakr Eid or Diwali or any other tradition!