இது, இது, இது எல்லாம் ஜப்பான். எல்லாம் செத்து ஒரு ரூபாய் கூட இருக்காது!
This, this, this, it’s all from Japan. And all together not more than 1 Rupee!
1940s movies can be a bit amateurish to the modern eye but they can be quite fun and as it happens also have a lot of interesting fashion titbits. E.g. this scene from En Manaivi aka My Wife (1942) which has two maids discussing clothes and employers. The maid with a parasol (Lux Padma aka R. Padma) has a generous employer who has provided her with the entire ensemble. All that fashion forwardness is from Japan*. Apart from the parasol, a stylish accessory in the 30s and 40s there is the sari brooch (horizontal pins are popular in the 30s and 40s), the soft collar, slightly puff sleeve blouse (here in satin) and the finger waved hair. All quite stylish in 1942.
The 1 Rupee price tag for the entire ensemble wasn’t much apparently even for 1942. The other maid is in a local handloom sari worn in a style prevalent at the time (the pallu is folded down the middle and then tucked in – a style called “madi” aka fold) but one that wasn’t fashionable.
The printed sari with a jazzed up border is probably an affordable version of the saris of the 1930s and 1940s.
*In the 30s raw cotton went from India to Japan and finished textile goods were imported from Japan. The war had an impact on this but Japanese goods were still available cheaply during the war years.
Also from En Manaivi (1942).
Note the actress’s bra, this along with a number of accoutrements in many of her scenes mark her as stylish and upper class – she is pretty much the sartorial standout of the movie. The bra and the drape exposing a part of the bust seems quite daring but was fairly common in films of the decade. And of course if its the 40s the puff sleeve blouse can’t be far away. This sari too is probably Japanese, at any rate the fabric marks it as foreign
Note also the steel cup and saucer for coffee as opposed to steel glasses suggesting a slightly westernised heroine. Flowers in the hair arranged as here were also common in AVM movies of the 1940s.
The 1940s movies seem to favour a slender type in comparison to the fuller silhouette seen in the 1950s.
For a bit on bras go here.
Notes: En Manaivi was an adaptation of a 1916 Marathi play, Govind Ballal Deval’s Sanshay Kallol. This in turn was adapted from Molière’s Sganarelle. The actress in the screencaps (I think MK Meenalochani but I cannot be sure) is playing Revathi aka Célie.