A Brief History of the saree blouse and Indian fashion before 1960 with an occasional excursion after. All images are credited but if they are here by accident please do let me know and I will take it down. All posts also on vintageindianclothing.tumblr.com
A few more posts on modern interpretations of Ancient Indian Costume where the productions depart from fidelity to historical costume, either because the production follows the norms of popular Indian cinema or modern theatre.
Bhanu Athaiya (who also designed for Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam and later won an Oscar for Gandhi) apparently based the costumes on Buddhist frescoes, though in the frescoes (as in the statues in the first picture), no breast band is worn and the lower half of the costume tends to be the shorter version (the length of the antariya seems to change with time).
Under black hair, which made to tower high on her head, he saw a very fair, very delicate, very smart face, a brightly red mouth, like a freshly cracked fig, eyebrows which were well tended and painted in a high arch, smart and watchful dark eyes, a clear, tall neck rising from a green and golden garment, resting fair hands, long and thin, with wide golden bracelets over the wrists.
Santosh Sivan’s epic film of the Mauryan King, Asoka, surprisingly sticks to a simple, subdued palette and body decoration for the princess Kaurwaki. Again not quite the choli but perhaps a sewn breast band.
The movie adaptation of Maitreyi starred Hugh Grant and Supriya Pathak and is a listless Jean-Claude Carriere adaptation in which the costuming is the least of its troubles. But it is as uncertain as Hugh Grant’s French accented English in the film, partly because it is never made clear which year the movie is set in. However, the film largely borrows from the novel and leaves intact references to Tagore. For the most part Supriya Pathak wears handloom sarees and blouses common in the 80s. And Alain/Mircea never appears in Indian dress.
Shabana Azmi plays Maitreyi’s mother in the film. While her saris are worn in the Bengali style, the blouses are fairly unremarkable.
Apologies for the pics-my copy has a pretty crap transfer.