Dadar Kirti (1980) is based on a Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay story and is a highly fun, easy watch with a charming ensemble cast doing it justice. While it is not subtitled, a rudimentary knowledge of Bengali is enough to enjoy the movie. The movie is on youtube – bless Rajshri for not cluttering it with a hundred flashing logos!
The time the movie is set in wasn’t entirely clear to me but the story and treatment is suggestive of early 20th century Bengal. There are a lot of 1980s touches though and the colour palette is of the decade too but for all that I enjoyed the costumes of the film.
First up a veritable feast of Bengal sarees with specific types for each character. The look is severe and no-nonsense for brainy Saraswati (Mahua Roychowdhury) and cheerful and sweet for her younger sister Beeni (Debashree Roy). A lot of “lawyerly” blouses for Saraswati and puff sleeve girlish ones for Beeni.
Saris are worn Bengal style for Boudi (Sandhya Roy) – very much a married woman’s attire. Most are daily wear cotton, for a function out comes the Benares! Like me Boudi really loves a frill – even her hand fan has it.
The Bihar style of sari worn seedha pallu with jacket like blouses and heavy silver jewellery is seen on the family help Phulmatia (Sulata Chowdhury).
While Saraswati’s look is a simple and scholarly for the most part, she pulls out all the stops for a “girl-seeing” ceremony at the end of the film with a bright orange Benarasi sari worn with a sea green blouse with paisley print sleeves. Also some beautiful hair ornaments. Boudi wears a Dhakai saree, I think Beeni’s is a Santiniketan print.
Naturally I like Beeni’s red ribbon being a ribbon fan.
I think the white blouse that Boudi is wearing is dotted Swiss cotton, a fabric popular for blouses for several decades but rarely spotted now.
Saraswati is also in a dance drama (Chitrangada) and wears a lovely Manipuri costume (above) – the dance drama can be seen in this video.
The knitwear is gloriously 80s! There are the shawls of course but that sweater with the embroidery on Saraswati and that crochet jacket on Beeni owe much to the decade. And all those patterned vests for Santu the smart bro (Ayan Banerjee) are also quite 80s. The lead, Kedar (Tapas Paul) has to make do with a bog standard scarf.
I have so much love for Indian woolies post a winter post I did. Not exactly smartly cut coats (though the shawls can give the coats a run for their money) but so colourful and sweet and comfortable looking.
And last up the hoop earrings. I wore these as a child, my aunts wore them all through the 70s and 80s so I assume they are of the time!
Part of a continuing series on costumes in films.