Looking Back: Manish Malhotra And His Endless Love For Bollywood

In his career spanning over 30 years, Manish Malhotra has established himself as one of the top fashion designers in the country. Being an avid film enthusiast, his love for the silver screen and fashion has also made him one of the most credible costume designers and stylists, changing the fashion scene for Bollywood. Taking his everlasting love for the film industry a step further, Manish is all set to make his Bollywood debut as a director. While he has already blessed the industry with some of THE MOST iconic costumes in the history of Hindi cinema- from Rangeela to Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, we cannot wait to see what he has to offer as a director.

Celebrating his contributions to the film industry, we’re looking back at 10 iconic Bollywood fashion moments created by the legend himself.

1. Rangeela (1995)

This film saw Urmila Matondkar in skater dresses, shorts, berets, skirts and gowns, which were all the rage when the movie was released. Manish also received his first Filmfare for Best Costume Designer for the film.

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2. Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997)

Mention Dil Toh Pagal Hai, and one instantly thinks of athletic fits—bicycle shorts, sports bras, wrist bands, etc. Be it Karisma Kapoor’s activewear which portrayed her character’s confidence, or Madhuri Dixit’s sheer suit sets in lace and chiffon symbolic of her coy nature; the costumes were true to their character. Everyone wanted to look that chic, and can we blame them?

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3. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

Everything about this movie is iconic—the cast, songs, dialogues, costumes. What truly makes the film memorable and plays an integral part in the story is the costumes. Kajol’s tomboyish overalls, jackets and caps; Rani’s mini-skirts, dresses and crop tops—everything made the characters who they are. You can see growth through their attires, and Kajol’s sarees in the second half of the film stands true to that.  To this day, the costumes from KKHH are easily recognisable.

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4. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001)

Kareena Kapoor’s character Poo and her fashion became an instant hit and continue to remain so even 20 years post the film’s release. Shimmer crop tops, mini-skirts, leather pants, jackets and scarves—everything from Poo’s wardrobe screamed PHAT (pretty hot and tempting). Her sharara in Bole Chudiyan became the hottest trend at the time, and two decades later, versions of Poo’s style make for viral reels. After all, imitation is the best form of flattery!

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5. Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)

Manish worked his magic while creating some amazing ensembles for the cast of Kal Ho Naa Ho. Preity Zinta’s simple yet statement pieces included scarves, trench coats, halter dresses (the red one, yes!), sweaters, slip dresses and flared pants—relevant to the era and character. Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan’s embroidered kurtas and Preity’s blue Maahi Ve lehenga created waves at the time, much like the film itself!

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6. Main Hoon Naa (2004)

Sushmita Sen, in a sultry red chiffon sari with an attendance register in hand, is the Chemistry teacher everyone wished they had when Main Hoon Na was first released. Manish is known for making women feel sexy in saris, and that is exactly what he did in this film. Be it Sushmita’s saris or Amrita Rao’s suits and lehengas, he put a modern spin on traditional garments, making them desirable to every girl at the time and even now.

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7. Jab We Met (2007)

There is no denial that Jab We Met was a landmark film, from the story and songs to dialogues. Kareena’s character Geet became a cult classic and started a new wave of trends in the fashion world. We saw the rise of harem pants paired with long t-shirts, phulkari scarves, corset tops (with the iconic red skirt) and hoop earrings with short kurtas, which were MAJOR at the time. ‘Aap convince hogaye ya main aur bolun?’

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8. Dostana (2008)

The vibe of the film was easy-breezy, and so were the costumes. It saw Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ shimmering golden swimsuit that instantly became the talk of the town. Our Desi Girl’s classic sari with a super sensuous blouse launched many versions of the same. As if these two outfits weren’t enough to break the news, ensembles in the rest of the film—tank tops, bikinis, shorts and tube dresses were true to the beachy vibe and caught a lot of attention!

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9. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2012)

Who can forget Deepika Padukone’s electric blue sari with a black shimmer blouse that instantly became a trendsetter with replicas and versions of it seen at almost every boutique? Be it her form-fitting kurtas with plunging necklines, low waist lehengas with short blouses or floral dresses paired with sweaters and denim jackets, Naina Talwar’s (Deepika) looks became just as iconic as her character.

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10. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016)

Anushka Sharma’s heavily kohled eyes, long kurtis with torn jeans and combat boots became just as popular as the concept of silent discos post the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Her looks began a new wave of Indo-western ensembles like satin shirts paired with lehenga skirts and heavy jewellery; chikan kurtas with leather jackets and scarves. However, Manish’s mastery is reflected in Anushka’s wedding lehenga in the song Channa Mereya, which is recreated by many brides even today.

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Photographs: Instagram, Pinterest

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