The Stars of Style [H - M]

Actors that impacted Indian fashion and style

Hema Malini (1980s)Museum of Design Excellence


1960 - Present

The “Dream Girl” of Bollywood;

Hema Malini dazzled the silver screen with a range of trendsetting looks. Chiffon saris, monochrome suits, shimmery bodysuits with deep necklines and experimental hairdos and accessories, Hema Malini’s confident avatars have left their indelible mark on India's fashion tapestry.

Hrithik Roshan (2000)Museum of Design Excellence


1980 - Present

While his burly, well-defined physique, chiselled jaw-line, and sun-kissed skin may have got him the title ‘Greek God of Bollywood’, Hrithik Roshan has also proved to be a fashion inspiration. His muscle tees, red vest, denim jeans, aviators, and lush wavy hair in Dhoom 2 (2006) set admirable goals for men wishing to emulate his cool, seductive persona.

Hrithik Roshan, 2005, From the collection of: Museum of Design Excellence
Show lessRead more

Film still of Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan in Ek Nazar (1972)Original Source: Anil Khanna & A. C. Diwan (Producers)


1963 - Present

The Girl Next Door

Jaya Bachchan’s effortless performances parallel the type of wardrobe she opted for while playing certain roles. She did not believe in wearing heavy make-up, elaborate hairdos or risque clothing in situations where other actresses may have chosen to do so. Her defiance in conforming to fashion standards during her time in the industry made her a model of self-assurance.

Film still of Jeetendra (1970)Museum of Design Excellence


1959 - Present

The Jumping Jack of Bollywood;

Jeetendra, was known for beginning a fashion trend that solely consisted of white clothes (because he believed it made him look taller and slimmer.) At the time Jeetendra was working in the film industry, there was no formal costume department which consequently gave the actor freedom to dress his characters in the clothes he favoured - white pants, white shirts, white jackets, white socks and white shoes.

Kareena Kapoor (2010s)Museum of Design Excellence


2000 - Present

Kareena Kapoor’s baby pink sequined cropped top and leather jacket paired with a khaki leather mini skirt, and oversized sunglasses in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) and her Patiala pants with a long white printed T-shirt and juttis in Jab We Met (2007) took the fashion world by storm. The bold pairings paved the way for modern women to adopt a new glam and unconventional look.

Kareena Kapoor (2022) by Sunhil SippyOriginal Source: Sunhil Sippy (Photographer)

The New Glam

Karishma Kapoor (1990s)Museum of Design Excellence


1991 - Present

Pioneering Retro Fashion;

Karishma Kapoor’s bandeau tops, pigtails, halternecks, and midriff-baring dresses were essential to every girl's wardrobe. Through Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) and Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge (2000), Karishma Kapoor  redefined modern style by introducing cycling shorts, jackets, puffed sleeves, and denim on denim looks to the Indian fashion lexicon.

Film still of Madhubala in Pardes (1950)Original Source: P. N. Arora & Madhubala (Producers)


1942 - 1964

Madhubala has been credited for setting path-breaking trends in the 1940s with a range of bold fashion statements. She introduced hip wide trousers with chequered shirts, buxom blouses paired with plain, simple saris and skirts, and unruly, wavy hair as opposed to straight or curly dos, which ruled the fashion game then. The manner in which she draped her ornate, textured anarkalis in Mughal-e-Azam (1960), continues to inspire designers and fans even today.

Movie Queens (1941-11) by James BurkeLIFE Photo Collection

The Style Diva

Madhuri Dixit (2000s)Museum of Design Excellence


1984 - Present

Madhuri Dixit, 1990s, From the collection of: Museum of Design Excellence
Madhuri Dixit | Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai | Khalnayak, 1992, Original Source: Subhash Ghai (Producer)
Show lessRead more

Film still of Meena Kumari and Shammi Kapoor in Mem Sahib (1956)Original Source: R.C Talwar (Producer)


1939 - 1972

Floral, silk saris, elaborate anarkalis, ornate gold jewellery, and deeply kohled eyes were staples of the Tragedy Queen, Meena Kumari. The anarkali she wore in Pakeezah (1972) was self-styled and has been firmly entrenched in Indian fashion. Her distinctive eye makeup, dark, deep lip hues, and unique hairstyles continue to trend and inspire actresses today.

Film still of Meena Kumari in Yahudi, 1958, Original Source: Savak B. Vacha
Meena Kumari, c.1950, From the collection of: Museum of Design Excellence
Show lessRead more

Shammi Kapoor’s pencil pants, slicked-back hair, iconic dance moves gave him the name the Elvis Presley of Bollywood. While his over the top outfits, such as his flamboyant
printed suits and vibrant colour combinations may be back in vogue today, they became sought after styles during the time Shammi Kapoor reigned the silver screen.

Shammi Kapoor, 1960s, From the collection of: Museum of Design Excellence
Show lessRead more

Film still of Mithun Chakraborty (1980s)Museum of Design Excellence


1976 - Present

Mr. Cool Moves

Mithun Chakraborty’s monochromatic outfits, bright vibrant scarves and jackets, and denim on denim look made him the face of the “cool and casual” style that was imitated by thousands. He was fearless in experimenting with unconventional looks, the climax of which is seen in his iconic flashy, glittery bodysuit in the film Disco Dancer (1982).

Mumtaz in Brahmachari (1968)Original Source: G.P Sippy (Producer)


1959 - 1990

Although she was already a seasoned actor, it was Mumtaz’s role in Brahmachari (1968) that iconised her as a national fashion icon. Her low-waist, pre-pleated orange sari from the film became a style symbol for generations of fashion lovers because it tweaked the traditional attire and strayed from the conventional six yards. Along with the floor-sweeping pallu, the sari had a tight fit and a frilled hemline and has served as an inspiration to the contemporary sari-gown.

Still of Mumtaz, 2022, From the collection of: Museum of Design Excellence
Show lessRead more
Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Hindi Cinema
Your ticket into the magical world of Indian cinema
View theme
Google apps