ASH SETTING TRENDS IN MALAYSIA
Traditional dresses worn by Aishwarya Rai in the films Raavan and Robot have been runaway hits in Malaysia.
The churidar and long-sleeved kameez Aishwarya wore as a dance teacher who gets kidnapped in the modern-day version of the Ramayana are a hit among women shoppers. Both Tamil (Raavanan) and Hindi versions (Raavan) along with Robot with megastar Rajnikant were huge hits among Malaysian Indians.
The traditional dresses - called masakali - have been in the market since early this year. But sales have peaked as Deepavali approaches.
Malaysia is home to 2.1 million ethnic Indians, a bulk of them Tamils who throng to Chennai-made films. But craze for Bollywood films is there among everybody. The Bachchans – Amitabh, Jaya, Abhishek and Aishwarya – and the Khans, SRK, Aamir, Salman and Saif Ali – are immensely popular there.
Thiyananthan Bathumalai, managing director of Harekrishna Silk, said most of the masakali dresses in the market were inspired by movie stars.
"For example, we now have 'Robot masakali', which was inspired from the movie Robot and 'Raavan masakali', which was inspired by Raavan, of course," he said.
Thiyananthan said many customers ask for masakali suits on entering his shop.
"People still ask for 'Anarkali suits' or 'Patiala suits' which were the craze some time ago. But this year, it looks like Aishwarya Rai is leading," he said.