Over the mooch: Bollywood approves of the moustache trend

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It is wicked, rustic, and fits right in the convention of the “tall, dark and handsome” man. It has the power to change perceptions of how a man looks. We are talking about the moustache! There is something about a moustachioed man that one can’t resist. And now, it’s seeing a revival in Bollywood, with a slew of leading men sporting it to get into their characters. From Ranveer Singh’s painter’s brush moustache in the under-production film 83, to Arjun Kapoor’s handlebar moustache in the upcoming film Panipat, the mooch seems like it is ‘hair’ to stay. Earlier also, actors including Shahid Kapoor, John Abraham, Ayushmann Khurrana, Saqib Saleem and Sikander Kher have flirted with the ‘stache.

So what’s behind its popularity? “The kind of stories and content being produced today is much more varied than what was being produced earlier. Now there is a sudden return to rusticity. The 70s and 80s were about the angry young men, and today in a way it is about real men and real stories being portrayed on celluloid as opposed to glossy make-believe. I think that is a big factor in terms of how the moustache has made a comeback. There is an old-school machismo [to it],” says designer Nachiket Barve.

Actor Saqib Saleem, says, “I think men usually play around with their beard length but everyone should take a risk once in a while and sport a mooch. I think it keeps the masculine quotient in check as well. Besides, aren’t you bored of seeing too many beards around? It’s a refreshing change.”

More than a personal choice, moustaches are being used to etch out characters. “It’s a very alpha-male thing where men have kept it as a sign of masculinity. [In films], it has got more to do with the period and era. The leading men are sporting it to represent a character,” says designer Anand Bhushan.

As opposed to beards, which almost every man in Bollywood, and otherwise has been sporting for a long time now, moustaches add a touch of sophistication to the look. “It represents a certain sense of masculinity, but it’s also more posh and gentleman-like. A man with a moustache looks very cultured, because to maintain a good moustache takes a lot of grooming and patience. It is symbolic of a refined man,” says celebrity stylist Mohit Rai.

The trend is here to stay, given its popularity on the big screen. However, there are some basics that are a must-follow. Fashion and styling experts unanimously agree that the moustache must be well groomed. “The trend will pick-up and stay and stick around for a few seasons. It’s a good thing for men because their accessory is hair. It gives them character. There is a retro vibe to the moustache. But they don’t always suit all of them; if you have to do it fashionably, you have to be subtle,” says designer Rina Dhaka.

However, there are certain aspects that you must stay away from while growing out a moustache. “Refrain from wearing too much jewellery and accessories. You can do sunglasses and hats. A nice, tailored suit is a great way to go when you have a moustache. I wouldn’t do too many colours with it; I would do browns, nudes, greys and pastels,” advises Rai. “It has to work on your face. A 30-year old man looked different in the 80s. Today, a 30-year old man looks much younger,” says Barve.

Interact with Etti Bali @TheBalinian

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First Published: Apr 13, 2019 13:13 IST

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