Through the ages: A film on the evolution of the sari

May 28 2021. views 424

The sari is an item of clothing that holds much mystique and allure. Six yards of fabric wrapped around the female form can be a conundrum as it both conceals and reveals. The sari covers up the bare body but when it is draped across the contours of the body it reveals the contours of the figure, the roundness of the hips, a peek of the midriff and the roundness of the bosom. Harbouring a love for the sari, actress Dinara Punchihewa has created a short film titled “Through the ages”, which charts the evolution of not only the sari over the years but of hairstyles and makeup trends.  A beautifully created piece of visual art, Dinara conveys the story of the sari during the respective eras through carefully selected music, dance moves and facial expressions.

Q What inspired you to create this film?
I have always had a strong fascination towards the arts, more specifically in Sri Lankan contexts. As an actress, the evolution of local cinema, along with the costumes, music and fashion that came with it has always intrigued me. Nothing of this nature was done before, and I wanted to create an informative, yet fun and light-hearted video to highlight the beauty and magic of the sari along with our island. Somehow, this was the best way to go!

Q Why did you select the Sari?
The versatility and charm of a sari are not to be underestimated. These six yards of delicately woven grace has been a huge part of a Sri Lankan woman’s fashion and has provided an identity over the years. I have always been mesmerised by it. It stands as a symbol of history for Sri Lankan women; from raising children, starting businesses, getting married, or even partying with friends! Ironically, personally too, a sari is my go-to outfit. I love it! Sari over a dress any day!

Q How long did you spend creating this film?
I’ve had this idea for a while, but just didn’t have the time to do it. So this period of lockdown and travel restrictions helped me to sit at home and finally work on it. I first spent about 2 months researching the journey of the sari and the changes it went through over the years. I looked at old photographs from family members, read books, watched old films and even read part of a thesis. I must also mention that I had a very good production team of a few like-minded friends from the industry. All I had to do was tell them my idea and they helped me make it a reality - Especially, the talented director and editor of this film, Trilan Shastri, from SHASTRI and I are truly grateful for that.

Q How did you select the saris to be featured in this video?
Some of the saris belong to my mother and grandma. I literally opened their wardrobes and pulled out whatever I could find. The sari jackets and styling were all done by the talented costume designer Buddhi Edirisinghe.

Q What allure does the sari hold for you?
As a traditional outfit in our country, I find it unique and creative. The fact that it is such a versatile outfit that women of all ages can wear, makes it transcend both age and culture. It is a piece of clothing that holds so much ground and principle, and as a woman, I am so proud it is a part of our Sri Lankan heritage.

Q In your opinion why do you think the sari is a timeless item of clothing?
It is so elegant and never fails to impress. This piece of clothing has lived through so much history and culture! As a piece of cloth that has survived through multiple trends that have gone in and out of fashion on numerous occasions, the sari remains. It is timeless.

Q Where was the film shot?
The film was shot at Rio Cinema in Colombo.

Q What is the objective of creating this film?
When I first thought of starting this project, I wanted to create something light and fun. But the more I researched, the more I wanted our younger generation to know what I had learnt. We have lost so much along the way, and I thought this would be a great way of reviving things to light again. I want our youth to appreciate the cultural and personal identities of women. I want us to look through lenses of appreciating our strong and important history. I want us to see this aspect of Sri Lankan fashion Through the Ages.



Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is a journalist specialising in travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also the Features Editor for Hi!! Magazine. An intrepid traveller, she likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno


Post your comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *