Remembering Mani Rabadi – Queen of Polka Dots


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 18 , 2013           11.50 P.M.

        Mani Rabadi

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A well-known costume designer of 60s and 70s , Mani Rabadi died this month on August 06 , 2013 . She was older sister of yesteryear actress Nargis Rabadi a.k.a. Shammi or Shammi aunty .
   

Much before the advent of Manish Malhotra and Neeta Lulla , long before Anna Singh and Anaita Shroff Adajania and eons ago Niharika Khan , there was Mani Rabadi , who along with Bhanu Athaiya , became couturier to the stars in the Golden Age of Hindi Cinema.

Making her debut in 1967 with the Dev Anand starrer Jewel Thief , she worked all the way in to the 90s ending her career with the mega hit ” Hum Aapke Hain Koun ” .

” Jewel Thief ” [ 1967 ] , ” An Evening In Paris ” [ 1967 ] , ” Farz ” [ 1967 ] , ” Sapnon Ka Saudagar ” [ 1968 ] , ” Aankhen ” [ 1968 ] , ” Duniya ” [ 1968 ] , ” Mahal ” [ 1969 ] , ” Ek Phool Do Mali ” [ 1969 ] , ” Aradhana ” [ 1969 ] , ” Prince [ 1969 ] , ” The Train ” [ 1970 ] , ” Kati Patang ” [ 1970 ] , ” Gambler ” [ 1971 ] , ” Victoria No. 203 ” [ 1972 ] , ” Kachche Dhaage ” [ 1973 ] , ” Jheel Ke Us Paar ” [ 1973 ] , ” Bobby ” [ 1973 ] , ” Trimurti ” [ 1974 ] , ” Aap Ki Kasam ” [ 1974 ] , ” Amir Garib ” [ 1974 ] , ” Kasauti ” [ 1974 ] , ” Sanyasi ” [ 1975 ] , ” Rafoo Chakkar ” [ 1975 ] , ” Bairaag ” [ 1976 ] , ” Hera Pheri ” [ 1976 ] , ” Don ” [ 1978 ] ,  ” Amar Akbar Anthony ” [ 1979 ] , ” Aasha ” [ 1980 ] , ” Kaalia ” [ 1981 ] , ” Mard ” [ 1985 ] , ” Pestonjee ” [ 1987 ] , ” Maine Pyar Kiya ” [ 1989 ] , ” Hum Aapke Hain Koun ! ” [ 1994 ]  are her famous and most successful films .

She also won National Film Award , along with Ramilla Patel , for Best Costume for ” Pestonjee ” [ 1987 ] .


English: Scanned photograph of my grandmother,...

Costume Designer Bhanu Athaiya. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apart from Bhanu Athaiya , she was another one , who was a professional dress designer in the early years of our film industry . She worked for 27 long years in this unpredictable and risk-driven industry . She successfully withered changing times , fluid tastes and all the changing patterns from ” Jewel Thief ” [ 1967 ] till ” Hum Aapke Hain Kaun ” [ 1994 ] .

Jewel Thief

Jewel Thief (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Evening in Paris

An Evening in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amar Akbar Anthony

Amar Akbar Anthony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maine Pyar Kiya

Maine Pyar Kiya (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hum Aapke Hain Kaun...!

Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Born as Mani Rabadi in a family of Parsi priests , she was only a kid when her father died . Her mother made a living by cooking at religious functions. Later on , along with her younger sister Shammi , Mani Rabadi worked in toy factories after school to source their tuition fees. After school time, they worked at offices, ran a magazine and did odd jobs. Mani also worked with the Indian People’s Theatre Association and did some Gujarati films.

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Here is a gallery of her designs from the movies we all love :

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An Evening in Paris (1967)

Sharmila actually plays a dual role in the film. The villainous side incidentally always shows her tummy–just to help the audience keep things straight.

Uhh, what precisely are you looking at Pran?

Cutsy hair clip that’s bigger than my nose? Don’t mind if I do.

Jewel Thief (1967)

I’ve talked a lot about my feelings for Helen in a chicken suit from this film, but this picture definitely deserves one more mention.

Yup, those are cotton balls puffing out of that red sari like polka dots. Just saying, it takes a bold and confident woman to try and pull that off.

Dev Anand poses as a French jewelry importer. Can’t you tell by the beret?

Aradhana (1969)

Who can forget Rajesh Khanna’s tall Nepali hat as he bellows “Mere Sapnon Ki Rani” on a hillside?

Rajesh Khanna in a blue suit with a hot red turtleneck during “Kora Kaagaz Tha” is the epitome of suave.

Unarguably the most famous scene from Aradhana, Sharmila Tagore makes a sari out of a flimsy blanket…and the rest is history.

Bobby (1973)

Youth and freedom must mean a tight leather jacket!

Umm, ok Dimple Kapadia, where did the rest of your shirt go though?

Cute but completely arbitrary villager costume for “Jhoot Bole Kauva Kate.”

Farz (1967)

Nice ascot, Jeetendra.

Oh, those tight white pants that made you who you were. It’s no wonder Jeetendra was nicknamed “Jumping Jack”!

Prince (1969)

Did someone say “hep cat”?!

Helen and Vijayantimala dance off in “Muqabla Humse Na Karo.”

Kati Patang (1970)

Asha briefly portrays a 70s bride before running away from the ceremony.

Bindu makes a spectacle of herself in comparison to Asha’s stark white sari..

Amar Akbar Anthony (1979)

Rishi Kapoor dresses as a qawwal by night.

There actually aren’t really words for this.

Moss green leather jacket with religious bling.

You are wearing a fedora? Clearly, you have become a millionaire.

Don (1978)

Nothing says “bad boy” like a big red bow tie.

Don’t mess with her scarf.

Or his.

Helen rocks an overly slitted dress for “Yeh Mera Dil” in Don (1978)

The bottom line here is , could Jeetendra have seized Bombay by storm without his famous tight white pants ? Could Dimple Kapadia have shot to stardom without costumes that only covered half of the minimum required? Her polka dots top for ” Bobby ” is still remembered . Vyjayantimala’s red saree from ” Jewel Thief ” is still fresh in our memories . Amitabh Bachchan’s tuxedo in the song My name is Anthony Gonsalves from the film ” Amar Akbar Anthony ” or Rishi Kapoor’s costumes from the same film are still there in our memory lane . Polka dot waist – coat of Amitabh Bachchan in ” Don ” is unforgettable . You remember his iconic song Khai ke paan Banaraswalla …… from the film and you will surely remember his polka dot waist-coat . You will never forget any costume of legendary Helen . Mani Rabadi designed innumerable costumes for her in films . They were revealing but not vulgar .

Her work is so diverse, so eye-catching, and so unpredictable . Mani Rabadi is unarguably genius. It is sad that her death is not widely reported in newspapers . Today , when Parsi community is celebrating Navroz [ thier new year ] , I am writing this obituary of Mani Rabadi , one of the prominent member of Parsi community .

FULL EDITNG STUDIO

NEWS LETTER

On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , which is known as Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , I offer my condolences to the bereaved family and specially Shammi aunty who is left alone to bear this loss at the age of 84 .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to offer heartfelt sympathies at the sad demise of the legendary but almost forgotten dress designer of the golden era of the Hindi films .

[ It is sad that I could know about her death after a week through the latest issue of ” Screen ” weekly . I found material about her in magazines like ” Screen ” , ” Parsi Khabar ” and ” Mid Day ” . For her photographs and her volume of work , I had to refer to online posting of ” Mr. & Mrs. 55 – Classic Bollywood Revisited ” . I express my profound gratitude to all of them . ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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A. K. Hangal & His Communist Comrades


Last month I was traveling. While going out of Mumbai, I came to know about pitiable condition of veteran actor Shri Avtar Krishn Hangal, aka A. K. Hangal. I was saddened and felt ashamed that such a veteran actor should be almost begging for his medical and other expenses. When I wrote an obituary to Nalini Jayawant, I mentioned that it is duty of CINTAA [ Cine & TV Artistes’ Association ] to look after its ailing members and aging veterans who have no one to look after them. Nalini Jayawant died in her bungalow and world came to know about it after 3 days. There was no one in her family and her body was wrapped in a bed sheet and was taken away by BMC people. CINTAA maintained an enigmatic silence, Now barely a month passed and tragedy struck the industry again. 90 years old actor A. K. Hangal’s son gave a statement and sought help for his ailing and aging father, who is unable to earn because of his advance age and failing health.

I saw Hangal Sahab’s photo and read about his economic condition and was aghast. Film fraternity ran to his rescue in full force. His colleagues and filmmakers, with whom he had worked , immediately donated money and pledged support. Some filmmakers also came forward to help, even though they hadn’t worked with Hangal Sahab.

It was very heartening and satisfying that the industry rose as one family and magnanimously helped one of its infirm and ailing veteran member, who is unable to earn because of his advancing age.. Government of Maharashtra also pitched in and a decent sum was given to Mr. Vijay Hangal, son of Hangal Sahab.

Flag, in style used by many South Asian Commun...

Image via Wikipedia - Communist Flag

Only worrying part in this episode was the behaviour of his communist colleagues. Hangal Sahab is a member of Communist Party of India. He was an active member of IPTA [ Indian Peoples Theatre Association ] also and worked in many plays for them. Throughout his active years he supported them wholeheartedly and they conveniently forgot him at the time of his need. There was no clamour for his help from the communists. No word of support at his hour of distress was heard from the comrades. There was baffling and intriguing silence in the camp of comrades. When this veteran actor was fighting for his survival, another prominent proletariat [ ? ] Shabana Azmi was busy organizing a fashion show with the help of a prominent fashion designer Manish Malhotra. Because of her standing in the industry, she was able to have 39 prominent Hindi film stars for her show. Bourgeoisie [ ? ] like Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and Mr. Aamir Khan rushed to help Hangal Sahab and a proletariat [ ? ] like Shabana Azmi was busy inviting 39 prominent stars to walk the ramp for Manish Malhotra.

Shabana Azmi

Image via Wikipedia - Shabana Azmi

May I ask the reason of this silence? May I know the cause for this apathy? It is shameful and disgusting. Communists are born opportunists. They use people and when they find them worthless, they dump them nicely. This what they have done to Hangal Sahab.

A dream never fulfilled

Image via Wikipedia - A Dream Never Fulfilled

Thank God ! India is yet to become a communist nation.  Thank God ! USSR [ Union of Soviet Socialist Republic ] does not exist any more. Thank God ! Lenin and Stalin have been nicely consigned to the dustbins of history. Thank God ! Dictatorship of the proletariat is not the norm in our society.

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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