There was perhaps only one man in the country during the 1990’s who wore yellow pants. If you guessed it right, it sure gives away your age! Yes, it was none other than Govinda who became a rage with his Coolie No. 1 and Biwi No. 1 series of movies. Govinda movies, light in their storylines, colourful in costume design and peppered with raunchy item number songs were a hit with the masses. It was the intellectual middleclass of India who didn’t know which way to swing. Govinda certainly piqued their interest. Secretly, they grooved to his raunchy songs but it was all too blasphemous to gain acceptability in the drawing room conversations.
That was then; today, pants in yellow, green, peach or even purple are now a part of many self-respecting folks’ wardrobes in India. Including yours truly. Our choice of colours has expanded not only with respect to our pants but also our cars, mobile-phone covers, our hair and of course the walls in our homes and offices. India is going through a colour revolution, more importantly, we are going through a revolution in how we express ourselves. From a society that abhorred chest thumping and promoted the idea of being held-back and lying-low, we are now tuning into a society that’s embracing hyper stimulus of all kinds.
Everything in today’s India has to be on the surface. We have now transitioned to the times of six-pack-abs, spiked hair and tattoos peeping through wide-cut tops. Compact sedans have given way to muscular SUVs (still compact on price though), lyrics have surrendered to beats and television to reality TV. This India is embracing colours in all walks of life and in all their glory. In this India, everyday has to be a celebration and all celebrations have to be loud.
If as a child, you had travelled in a train through parts of small town India, you would have seen big houses built on large plots, but neither plastered nor painted. Traditionally, it was important in India to own a big house, but it wasn’t important to make it look good. Not anymore, the exterior paint industry has gone through a transformation in the last few decades, so has everything else related to our home décor and interiors. The change is also visible in our choice of colour when it comes to cars. White has been India’s favourite colour in cars – remember the white Ambassador and then the white Maruti 800 that proliferated the Indian roads? But recently, a certain brand of compact SUV had its bestseller in orange. The big deal in a new car launch nowadays is the unique red, orange or chocolate colour, not just its price and mileage.
As a culture, we are learning to enjoy extroversion. “He is a colourful man”, wasn’t exactly a compliment in India a few decades ago. But today, it may mean something different. As a society, we are learning to be exuberant; we are keen to signify our progress to the world around us. In this quest, the various shades of colours on our pants, cars, walls and hair are helping us spread the joy. The Govinda phenomenon has finally crossed the chasm; the intellectual Indians have welcomed colours in their lives, they have embraced yellow as the colour of their pants, finally!
Image Courtesy: Mr. R. Ramakrishnan, Sr. VP Commercial, Tata Motors