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Flowers and Indian Cinema

Flowers and Indian Cinema

As we celebrate the centennial year of Indian Cinema, let us look back and see the contributions made by the two elements – human and nature. We all know that contributions made by the iconic artists like Raj Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Lata Mangeshkar etc. have been phenomenal but nature has also played a very important role in framing what Indian Cinema is today! When we talk about nature the first thing that comes to our mind is flowers! Let us have a look at how flowers have contributed in different eras of the Indian Cinema.

1898 – 1950s: It all started in 1898 with the first short film ‘Flower of Persia’ directed by Hiralal Sen. Back then there was an extensive use of ‘Gajras’ (flower garland) by the heroine to adorn her hair. In those times the word ‘phool’ (flower) was also used very prominently be it movie titles like kamal ke phool (1950), kagaz ke phool (1959), dhool ka phool( 1959) or names of characters like ‘phoolchand’, ‘gulabsingh’ or even names of actresses like Nargis (meaning Narcissus, a daffodil flower), Vyajantimala (meaning garland).

1960s: This was the era when for the first time flowers came in use as symbols to depict love between the lead actor and actress. With censorship entering Indian Cinema, directors moved on to using symbols and metaphors in their movies. How can one forget when the camera suddenly used to turn to two nodding flowers portraying romance between couples! Symbolism took over in full swing and made presence in the evergreen songs like ‘phool tumhe bheja hai khat mein’ from the movie Saraswati Chandra (1968) where flower symbolizes the heart and ‘gulabi aankhein’ (meaning rosy eyes) from the movie The Train (1970).

1970s-1980s: This decade brought the scenic beauty of Switzerland on the silver screen! The flower-carpeted gardens where the couple would sing and dance to the romantic tunes, the leading lady draped in a gorgeous sari dancing amidst the field of flowers in a gorgeous European locale were simply a treat to the eyes. The masses fell in love with the ‘sarson ke khet’ of Punjab where the villagers would sing and dance in harmony! It was also the era of flower power in terms of fashion. Floral prints splashed everywhere, not to forget Zeenat Aman’s floral printed kurtis in Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971) or actresses flaunting their floral printed blouses!

1990s – 2013: This era showed the Indian Weddings Celebrations in grandeur & style. Splendid flower decorations came to display complemented by stunning lighting. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994) was a wedding epic covering all the occasions of a wedding in glamour and glitz. Evergreen hits like Dilwale dulhaniya le jaayenge (1995), Chandni (1989), Jodha Akbar (2008), Band baaja baaraat (2010) showcased North Indian weddings with pomp and extravagance with flowers adding grace and charm to the events.