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Lungi, ban and Hindi cinema

April 8, 2010 02:35:34 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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Soul of Mehmood indeed would be in great torment after hearing the news that the humble lungi has been banned in Saudi Arabia as a dress to be worn in public place. Lungi as a dress came into the Filmi dress lexicon after Mehmood wore it with flourish in score of his films, most significant being in KUNWARA BAAP and in SABSE BADA RUPAIYAH.

Such was the impact of Lungi that even Big B did not think it twice before wearing it with a flourish to woe Hema Malini singing "Khatun ki khidmat mein salaam apun ka", for the Manmohan Desai produced film DESH PREMEE. Big B repeated experimentation with lungi again with MAHAAN, but subsequently he gave it over as a dress to wear on the silver screen.

While Big B and Mehmood used lungi in films more to make a humorous statement, lungi as a part of the dress for the common man was used in a big way by Om Puri in CITY OF JOY, where his character throughout the film wore it, same blue check lungi. It also is an interesting fact that most of the times the lungi that has been worn on the silver screen has been a blue check lungi. Lungi, interestingly has been used in Hindi cinema more to denote social class, that of Muslims whenever a Muslim set up has been used as a backdrop. It was more a cultural representation than anything else, but as the times have changed, the lungi has also disappeared as a sign of social class from there as well.

Element of sensuality was added to Lungi when Rajesh Khanna during his heydays appeared in one of the issues of Star Dust wearing a lungi along with Tina Munim. Lungi moved from being a sartorial garment made of cotton to being an up-market and hap garment as it now started being made in silk as well. It was Vinod Khanna also in his heydays, when he had become the follower of Rajnish that he used to appear in the cobalt colored lungis in all his public appearances.

It was left to Govinda and Karishma Kapoor when they appeared together in the song " Sarkai lo Khatiya" in RAJA BABU that lungi became the ultimate dress that oozed of sexuality. But lungi has now lost its past glory, and may be in retaliation to what has been done in Saudi Arabia should be given cinematic representation in the coming Hindi films. As Saudi Arabia has iconic fan following of Hindi films, may be, this intervention by Hindi cinema would make them rethink of the decision that they have taken.

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