Tip Tip Barsa Paani: How Fashion Evolved in Bolly’s Rain Songs
Sharmila Tagore in <i>Aradhana</i>, Sridevi in <i>Mr India</i>, and Shraddha Kapoor in  <i>Baaghi.</i>
Sharmila Tagore in Aradhana, Sridevi in Mr India, and Shraddha Kapoor in Baaghi.

Tip Tip Barsa Paani: How Fashion Evolved in Bolly’s Rain Songs

Yes, the skies are pouring by the bucket and on days we are warm and dry at home, we can’t help crooning to Bollywood’s best rain songs. Come on, admit it! You have hummed Rim Jhim Geere Sawan at least once this season!

Barish wala songs are an intimate part of Hindi films, generally used to showcase blooming romance. But have you ever stopped to think how much - or not - the style statement of our heroines have changed over the years in these rain songs?

Watch some of the most popular songs (coming up right below!), and you’d realize how fashion in rain songs has evolved, and how important the sari still is (no matter in how itsy an avatar) to convey sensuality.

P.S.: We are not talking about the heroes because curiously, they come quite overdressed in rain songs. In most cases, they come in suits - don’t ask why.

Sorry, Peeps: Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua Hai (1955)

Though the pair of Raj Kapoor and Nargis first introduced chemistry beyond the platonic on the Hindi screen, this immortal song from Shri 420 sees Nargis dressed in character as the “good”, shy heroine, who’s hesitant in acknowledging her love. She dresses in a simple printed sari paired with a virginal, no-peek blouse. Skin show was restricted to “vamps” in those days.

Peek-a-boo: Roop Tera Mastana (1969)

Yes, you don’t see the leads drenched in rain but the song is set against a rainy night - and you must admit - it is as sexy as they get. With the Kishore Kumar number playing in the background, the incomparable Sharmila Tagore - who also happens to be the first bikini heroine in Bollywood - flaunts an one shoulder orange robe that’s just enough to entice but doesn’t reveal much.

A Little Coy, A Little Bold: Aaj Rapat Jaye Toh (1974)

Smita Patil was rarely seen in glamorous roles but she nailed it in Namak Haraam with really sexy blouses and saris. In this number, the simple red-and-white sari nicely shows off her slim waist and flat abs as she dances with Amitabh Bachchan. The fine waist band makes the look super sexy.

Oomph Does It: Kaate Nahi Katte (1987)

Making chiffon sari all the rage, especially when it comes to having heroines strutting their stuff - and the trend continues even today (ask Karan Johar) - Sridevi brought a sex appeal to the game that earlier heroines never dared. Showing off her every curve and dancing without any inhibition, Sridevi and her sari pretty much wrote the fashion bible for Hindi film rain songs.

No Holds Barred: Tip Tip Barsa Paani (1994)

If you were growing up in the ’90s, this is the baarish song you’d remember. All your life. The chiffon sari is still there - just about - and the blouse is a low-cut, nearly bare-back number. And reflecting the ensemble, the leading lady has no qualms in flaunting her body and sensuality.

Off the Ramp: Jo Haal Dil Ka (1999)

Sonali Bendre actually wears the same ensemble in the entire song, but in different colours that match Aamir Khan’s shirts. It’s designer wear entering the rain song arena, with strategic cuts showing off Sonali’s amazing figure in that old beloved, chiffon.

Short ‘N’ Sexy: Dilbara (2004)

A cropped off-shoulder top paired with a micro -mini jeans skirt that showed off her toned legs and abs, Esha Deol’s look in this song from Dhoom is girly and sexy at the same time. It’s one of the first rain songs in Bollywood that dodged Indian wear to go all out for sexy western outfits.

Simple Yet Oh-so-sensuous: O Saiyyan (2012)

Now after the sari, the ghagra-choli has been the second most favourite rainy song ensemble for Bollywood filmmakers. It serves two purposes you see. It implies simplicity - it’s usually the village belle (remember Ash in Barso Re in Guru?) or the good-hearted heroine (PeeCee in this song) wearing them - and yet, at the same time, it’s all oomph,allowing as it does to show as much skin as you desire.

The Haute Quotient: Girl I Need You (2016)

Shraddha Kapoor almost seems to be the new rain song girl in Bollywood! From donning the sari in Tum Hi Ho in Aashiqui 2 and a kurta in Cham Cham , to rocking a cropped one-shoulder top and hot pants and even a super-hot dhoti-choli in Girl I Need You in Baaghi, she rocks both ethnic and western outfits. And perhaps, that’s what the new rain song fashion mantra is - the best of both worlds!

(This story is from The Quint’s archives and was first published on 30 May 2017.)

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