Swag and the South

deccan chronicle  | Gokul M G

Entertainment, Kollywood

Exposure to international cinema and global platforms appears to have recently improved the fashion sensibilities of South stars

Bollywood actors Dhanush (C) poses with American movie directors and producers Joseph Russo and his brother Anthony Russo during the special screening of Netflix’s upcoming action thriller movie ‘The Gray Man’ in Mumbai on July 20, 2022. (AFP)

When it comes to fashion and styling, Bollywood has traditionally been at the forefront of Indian cinema, whereas the South has played it safe, blending the modern and conservative looks both on and off the screen. However, exposure to international cinema and global platforms appears to have recently improved the fashion sensibilities of South stars. With more Southern Indian films appearing in global festivals and stars from the region appearing in international films, stylists and fashion designers are coming into their own.

When it comes to international exposure, Dhanush stands out among South Indian film stars. The actor’s Instagram profile reveals a mix of conservative and stylish images, both of which he projects in his films. Dhanush has recently been seen wearing some dapper tuxedos while promoting his upcoming Hollywood film The Gray Man in the United States. In the company of the film’s directors, The Russo Brothers, he is also seen honouring his roots by wearing a white shirt and veshti with style.

Dhanush’s stylist, Kavya Sriram says, "Working with Dhanush Sir has been an absolute delight! He’s one of our finest and is constantly crossing borders and straddling between multiple industries so effortlessly, be it Kollywood, Tollywood, or Hollywood. Similarly even with his style, he pulls off everything with such ease. We like to keep it real and honest and stick to what reflects his identity the best. I feel honest self-representation and comfort are most important when it comes to styling someone and keeping it real goes a long way."

Osman Abdul Razak, a celebrity designer and ‘sartorial reformist’ who has travelled the world with his fashion statements, says, “Because of the impact of social media, the South film industry has been adapting very quickly. The rise of Instagram and TikTok is to blame for the recent surge in styling and shift in fashion sensibilities. Even when they are not on screen, celebrities project themselves through their fashion sense.”

Anu Parthasarathy, a popular costume designer and stylist whose most recent release was DON for Sivakarthikeyan, emphasises the importance of understanding the occasion as well as the brands available in order to achieve the best effect. “It’s fun to experiment with different brands to find a style for a celebrity. Off-screen and for film characters are the two types of styling I do. In films, I dress the character according to the needs of the screenplay, not the stars, so there are rules to follow. However, stars nowadays place a high value on off-screen appearances at promotional events and award ceremonies. So, for this, I talk to them about how we can experiment with different trendy looks and accessories,” Anu says.