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CAPS AND HEADS: History of caps in the film industry

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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While Aamir Khan has shaved of his head, he would not have forgotten the rage he had created in the country by the cap that he had adorned in DIL HAI KI MANTA NAHIN. Anybody and everybody wanted to adorn a cap with Captain embossed on it. Cap manufacturers never had such a field day as the purple patch that they had reached after DIL HAI KI MANTA NAHIN. His contemporary Salman Khan had also used the cap to great effect in MAINE PYAAR KIYA, and the cap displaying ''FRIEND'' logo had become a rage.

Caps have been there with the film stars and in one film or the other they have brought out one particular nuance or the other about adorning the cap. The man who can be considered to be the Cap Master of Indian Film industry is Dev Anand. Who would have thought that when Kishore Kumar had sung ''Ai Meri Topi Palat ke aa'', in FANTOOSH he would be triggering further such expressions and exaltations about the virtues of the cap. As he acquired a sophisticated urban image for himself, Dev Anand came into his own with his association with the caps. He started his sojourn with caps in PREM PUJARI and Kishore Kumar in JEWEL THIEF with the song, ''Akela Hoon Main,'' incidentally sang its pinnacle.

In his times though Raj Kapoor had sung a song'' Sar Pe Lal topi Roosi'' in SHREE 420, his romance with caps was of a limited duration, and whenever it was, it was more a prop for tickling the rib, than to convey the expression of a debonair man. Shammi Kapoor was another person who had found cap to be his lucky mascot, and in score of the films that he had enacted in, caps in one form or the other adorned his head. As a matter of fact Shammi Kapoor could be credited with having introduced different kind of caps from different parts of the world to the Indian audience.

When the mystery films like HAMRAJ were ruling the box office, English bowl hats were the favorites with the Indian stars. As a matter of fact we also had a film with hat as one of the titles ''TIRCHI TOPI LAL RUMAAL''. During the good old times, more so in the black and white era, hats were synonymous with the villain and that could be the reason by other stars, leaving Dev Anand did not want to be identified with it. Dev Anand could do it, as his characters were mainly those from street, and therefore he could carry them off.

While Sam Manekshaw, the field Marshal may have given the Gurkha Battalion of the Indian army an Indian patronage; the manner in which Rajesh Khanna popularized it had no parallels. With Mere Sapno Ki Raani in ARADHANA, once again sung by Kishore Kumar, Gurkha topi had become the rage of the nation. Rajesh Khanna had become synonymous with the Gurkha topi, and he needed occasions to adorn it in his films.

Feroze Khan had brought the Mexican cow boy hats to the Indian film industry, but it became a fashion symbol in a big way with Rajiv Rai's TRIDEV and the song, ''Tirchi topi waale'', had become a national anthem. Such was its craze that people used to adorn it even though an occasion may not be there.

Amitabh Bachchan also had his fling with the caps, and he could be the man who bought leather golf caps in the film industry, after he wore it for the first time in AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY, following it up in LAWARIS, NASEEB etc. Jackie Shroff was also its big patron along with Sunny Deol more so in rain songs, as they had to probably hide their receding hairlines. As a matter of fact they also introduced bandana in the Hindi films with a flourish.

Caps, Hats and Bandana form an integral part of the style statement and they add to the personality of the actor. This could be the reason why they keep on returning to it in one-way or the other.

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