Everything that Shabana Azmi wore in Kadambari (1976)

With a side helping of her co-stars.

Screencaps from the uploaded youtube film.

Few actresses carry the 70s/80s look better than Shabana Azmi.  Plus she (and the costume designer) create a consistent look for the entire film, a costume capsule that speaks of the character, the actress and the decade.  So let’s look at what she wore as Chetana!

There are a few different kind of sarees here but most of all you will want a Khatau Terkosa revival (I think Terkosa is Terene, cotton, saree – if so its a polycot and looks a lot more comfortable for the Indian weather than the faux Kanjeevaram thick  polycotton of the 90s).  Other mills offered similar sarees too – DCM, Cali-cloth, Finlays etc.

The whole look is so casual and sophisticated, in no other decade does the sari look as soft and easily drapeable .  Plus it looks like an easy care working woman’s wardrobe. Though I like printed and more elaborate saree blouses I find that the 2 by 2 matched blouses of this decade focus attention on the saree and let it shine.

First up the prints which immediately recall the 70s:

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There are a fair few saris with prints and borders. As well as some of the large prints popular in the 70s. The bright rani pink with olive green dispersed in it – I didn’t expect to be so charmed by it.

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Above: These large prints dispersed on a white background – especially the white and blue one – are also very 70s, as seen in this Air India uniform.

There is nothing much to say about Vijay Arora’s costumes for this film given they are usually a pant-shirt combo with the occasional kurta but here he wears a kurta and lungi/dhoti.

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Above: A pretty pink leheriya and also a gloriously multi-coloured bandhani. Probably both chiffons.

Above: The plain sarees.

In the flashback scenes, a gharara (which in the 70s doesn’t look too much like the classic gharara, the narrow upper half and a flared bottom half seems to fit in with the bell bottom era). And a salwar worn with a short kurta.

Above: A lot of glass bangles matched to the sari. Even the multi coloured bandhani has perfectly co-ordinated bangles.

The bindis – both a sindoor sort and the plastic stick on.  And of course hoop earrings and plucked eyebrows. And the straight hair with a few side wisps.

Chetana’s brother and his girlfriend Sheetal are trendy and “groovy” in the first half but later Sheetal (Arpana Chowdhury) wears a few printed saris which are pleasant in their own way (also full view of bandhani on Chetana in last pic).

The pink sari on the left is on a minor character in the film but I added it because I have a vague memory of similar sarees being Terkosa and it induced a bit of nostalgia for my family’s wardrobe – I was a child but I think the women of the house made frequent trips to the Khatau showroom:).

Chand Usmani has a charming turn as the male lead’s mother who forms a bond with Shabana’s character,  her sarees are very simple (all single mothers must only wear white! kind of thing).

kad credits

Above: In the credits.

Notes on the movie: Kadambari is based on Amrita Pritam’s story, Dharti Sagar te Sippiyan.  The link to the movie is provided but the uploaded film has no subtitles.


About Anu M

A potted history of Indian clothing and fashion.
This entry was posted in 1970s, 2017 posts, Accessories, Actor, bindi, Cinema, Indian Dress, Indian fashion, Indian Tales, Indian Textiles, Indian Women, late 20th century, Movies, Prints, retro, retro cinema, retro fashion, retro hair, Salwar Kameez, Sari, Sari Blouse, Vintage, Vintage Blouse, vintage cinema, vintage fashion, vintage sari, vintage style, Working Women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Everything that Shabana Azmi wore in Kadambari (1976)

  1. Revathy says:

    Lovely post, I must say. The white gharara is too pretty.
    The neck piece worn with the plain blue saree has brought so much beauty to the saree. I just love them. Thank you for the post Anu 🙂 Love all your posts.

    • Anu M says:

      Hi Revathy apologies for a late reply!! I love the gharara too! And on the whole love what Shabana has done with her accessories etc. Many thanks for reading!

  2. Pingback: Sparsh (1980) deconstructed | Vintage Indian Clothing

  3. Priyamvada says:

    Chanced upon your blog while looking for a way to create colour from harsingar flowers. What a delightful find! You have such a unique style and also such unique content. Have bookmarked this site on my phone:).

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