Throwback Thursday: Rajnigandha

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Let’s throwback to ‘Rajnigandha‘ this week, a 1974 film that starred Vidya Sinha, Amol Palekar and Dinesh Thakur. Though always having enjoyed the song, I only got around to seeing the movie in late Nineties. And the impression that it made on me then still holds true- how refreshing was the styling in the movie? It really was a palette cleanser from all the visual overload then and now.

Styled in handloom saris, bindi, braided hair and minimal jewelry, the actor’s look perfectly mirrored the style of the character she played- an educated, middle class woman in the Seventies. The colors and patterns definitely attested to the time. It’s as if the simplistic, non-fussy story-telling was aided by just as simplistic, non-fussy visual clues.



Vidya Sinha In Rajnigandha, 1974

The saris and hair-do might not have left much leeway for the actor to go glam, but that didn’t stop her from working a dramatic cat-eye through out the movie- asleep, washing her face or out and about, the winged eye-liner remained, un-smudged and consistent. You’ve got to love that!

Through the span of her career she came to be known for a certain look- simple Indianwear, pulled back hair (most of the time) and a look that essentially said ‘the (good) girl next door’. Having briefly modeled for textiles and consumer goods before her debut in movies, she perhaps had an innate ability to make a look her own.

Do you have a favorite moment from the movie? I have a few, and among them is this still that triggered the post.



Vidya Sinha In Rajnigandha, 1974

P.S: With these throwbacks, the intent is to go down a memory road, picking certain movie moments that stood out to me personally for their style. The intent is not to however deep dive in to an actor’s filmography or review the films in question.

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15 Comments

  1. I don’t remember the movie for the heroine’s fashion sense. However, when I watched this move some 12 years back, I couldn’t help wonder just how contemporary the movie is. My F-I-L tells me that this was the first instance that a hero (Amol Palekar) was shown getting a second division as opposed to topping the college.

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    • It would have been even more accurate if the girl was the topper in the school/college.

      It’s ironic how some of the older movies were ahead of their time and challenging the norms of the society.

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  2. She certainly was elegant and graceful in the girl-next-door kind of way. Since you opened that rabbit hole, I am thinking from the 70s you could feature Hema Malini in Seeta aur Geeta and Sharmila Tagore and Jaya Bhaduri in Chupke Chupke and many more! And maybe Sadhna and Asha Parekh from the 60s. I am a 90s kid but I appreciate vintage fashion from the bygone eras! Much to learn from them while adapting them to modern fashion.

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  3. OMG! Did you just read my mind? I was also recently watching the song ‘Kai baar yuNhi dekha hai’ , and just love the juxtaposition of style from the big sunglasses, winged eye-liner with simplicity from white cotton blouses and light sarees.

    Maybe I am a 80’s middle class kid, but growing up that’s how I saw epitome of feminity.

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  4. I absolutely love Vidya Sinha in Rajnigandha and Choti Si Baat. She had her own style. Loved her sarees, hair, eye make up ( I wouldnt dare to wear it but love it on her) and every single song of both the movies she featured in with Mumbai from the 70’s as the backdrop in her movies. 🙂 So good to see you featured her on your site.

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  5. Amol Palekar’s bell bottoms and long side burns ! Vidya Sinha and his movies were all abt simplicity. I also liked what shabana wore in Arth . Monotone Saris and simple salwar suits.

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  6. Thank you for bringing this back Priyanka! I remember Rajnigandha being quite ahead of its times in terms of the topic. And how much free time they had after work! Rajnigandha and Chhoti Si Baat both make a good snapshot of city life in the mid-70s…

    Vidya Sinha’s printed silks and handloom sarees, short-sleeved blouses, remind me of my mum’s own style of dressing in those days…

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  7. For whomsever interested 😀 I saw that first saree a few days back on amazon.. something like patola print cotton saree..

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