Feathers, metallic bralettes, and tailored garments in Mohenjo Daro? Sorry, Ashutosh Gowarikar, this history lesson is way off
The short and stout Mughal emperor Akbar, in a Filmfare award-winning portrayal, is depicted as tall and toned sex symbol. That’s Bollywood for you, an industry known for unnecessarily glamorizing anything and everything. The trailer of Ashutosh Gowarikar’s latest period drama 'Mohenjo Daro', opens with subtitles, “It’s imperative that I tell you the truth about the past. Or else, the future generations will never know, the truth or goodness, of Mohenjo Daro.”
The subtitles were juxtaposed on the visual where Hrithik Roshan, the hero, is wearing a bifurcated dhoti trousers and cut and sewn top – garments which never existed in the Mohenjo Daro period. “Hello, it’s me,” sings irony.
The costumes are designed by Emmy award winner April Ferry and three-time National award winner Neeta Lulla. The latter designed the breathtaking costumes in ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ as well. One could learn the differences between Rajput and Mughal costumes by watching that film, and that should explain the quality of Neeta Lulla’s work.
So, how did two incredible talents succumb to exotic desi stereotypes and create garments irrelevant to Mohenjo Daro era?
The trailer says it’s 2016 BC. It’s a bit worrisome that the next time someone Googles “Mohenjo Daro Costumes” for educational purposes, they’ll stumble upon snapshots from the film!
Swipe ahead to see everything that’s wrong with the film...
On the right is one of the earliest documented evidence of trousers in Kushana statue, approximately 2000 years after Indus Valley Civilization. But Hrithik (left) is wearing a similar one in 'Mohenjo Daro'.
NO TROUSERS IN MOHENJO DARO:
India is a hot and humid nation and due to climatic conditions, both men and women living in the time of Mohenjo Daro simply wrapped a rectangular cloth in lungi style. Bifurcated garments came much later around the time of the Kushanas.
Cut-and-sewn garments were a no-go in that era
NO CUT-AND-SEWN GARMENTS:
Cut and sewn garments like kurta, pajama or trousers didn’t exist in the Mohenjo Daro era. People simply draped their garments over the body back then – a custom which evolved to give birth to sari and dhoti.
Men and women predominantly left their upper bodies uncovered in the Mohenjo Daro era. It was in exceptionally rare occasions, such as for royalty, did people wear a robe across the shoulders. Layering different pieces of clothing never happened in the era.
The printed turban on Arunoday Singh is way too ahead of time
NO PRINTED FABRICS:
The earliest reference of printed cottons in India comes approximately around 300 BC. The ancient art of textile printing was popularized some time roughly around 4th and 5th centuries BC. The elaborately printed turban is way too ahead of time.
Purple wasn't a possibility
FABRIC DYE COLOUR:
Indus Valley Civilization had access to fabric dyes. Although only surviving fragment of coloured cloth is dyed red with madder, historians believed that indigo and turmeric were used too. However, colours like purple didn’t exist in the era.
The oldest known pigment of purple was made from mollusk extracted from the Mediterranean Sea snail, recorded since 4 BC. The colour was so expensive back then that only the royal family could afford it – the reason why purple is associated with royalty and luxury. The man in the screenshot has clearly travelled to the future and obtained the rich purple fabrics.
Women didn't wear bras or blouses back in the days of Mohenjo Daro
WOMEN DEFINITELY DIDN’T WEAR BRA OR BLOUSE
In fact, women left their upper body uncovered for the most part of our clothing history. But the censor board gives no choice to filmmakers, since Mohenjo Daro customs are unacceptable in modern Indian society. During the Mauryan era, women still covered their upper body with a breastband known as patidhi… but they definitely didn’t wear bra or blouse at least till the British Raj happened.
No bralettes or feathers, thank you very much
CLOTHING WAS UNISEX:
Back in the Indus Valley Civilization, clothing for men and women was more similar than different – wrapped garments, duh!
Neither did women wear feathers in their head.
Perfect for a detergent ad, not for a historic era
PRISTINE WHITES DIDN’T EXIST:
Though the bleaching technique was known to ancient Indians, they mostly used natural bleaching techniques like sun drying and so on, and not chemicals like chlorine or peroxides. As a result, pristine white clothes never existed in ancient history and they always had a slight beige shade.
No photoshop in the pre-historic era
PEOPLE IN MOHENJO DARO WERE DARK-SKINNED
This exposes Bollywood’s white-skin fetish. Natives of Indus Valley Civilization, often regarded as Dravidians by most scholars due to cultural and linguistic similarities, were dark-skinned people. Light skinned Indo-Aryan nomads reached Punjab province only around 1500 BC marking the onset of the early Rigvedic period.
Purushu Arie is India’s most-read men’s fashion blogger. He is also a gender-neutral fashion designer, illustrator and columnist. Find him atwww.purushu.com or on Instagram. This post was first publishedhere. You can read more posts on hisFashion101 Blog.