By Team Bollyy
New Update


The importance of certain costumes cannot be ignored in the Hindi film universe. The home-knit sweater vest is one of them. No one knows when the quintessential jersey, most often worn by sportsmen, with its v-neck, sleeveless style and chunky knit, became a Bollywood staple—the uniform for the archetypal good boy. It now seems to be ruling Indian cinema with one hero after another donning it to portray a very specific image.

The latest on this radar of films is Tubelight, which since the release of its very first poster is creating a certain perception about the lead character. In the promos and in the songs as well, Salman Khan was seen wearing a button-up collared shirt with cross-pocket pants (something that modern-day male protagonists seldom wear) and a sleeveless, home-knit sweater vest. The touch of boots hanging from the neck added to the character and also strengthened our ideas about what the film might be dealing with.

publive-image Salman Khan's look in Tubelight is relatable

What's the big deal about a sweater vest, you might ask. In recent times, almost every actor worth his salt has worn it in a film at least once. Ranbir Kapoor wore it in Rockstar, Shah Rukh Khan wore it in Main Hoon Na, even Vikrant Massey wore it in A Death in the Gunj.

As Salman Khan plays the role of a man child in Tubelight (and in real life), he has been given a home-knit sweater vest, to pull off the look—in this case, that of an innocent, pure-hearted soul who wants to keep everyone happy. Indian films have a sort of stereotypical approach to this garment; only developmentally disabled simpletons or the good-natured souls from economically weaker sections wear this kind of attire in movie lore and Kabir Khan has just strengthened this label. 

In Main Hoon Na, Shah Rukh comes to a Darjeeling school wearing a similar outfit and then goes from being the college nerd to the poster boy in  no time while his brattish brother with long hair, leather jackets and distressed denims—the very definition of a cool dude—loses his ground. The moral of the story is that good boys keep their hair perfectly gelled and dress up in knitted outerwear.

publive-image Shahrukh portrays the perfect man in Main Hoon Na | image courtesy:

Even in a film like Rockstar, where Aki Narula dressed Ranbir Kapoor in the most outlandish and garish costumes for his role as Jordan, the single most important outfit used to portray Ranbir's pre-rockstar life as the college-going Janardhan was the humble, home-knit sweater vest. It is perhaps a way to complement the look of a desi, home-grown character. One eminent critic compared it to Amitabh Bachchan's sweater-clad look in Trishul, a film directed by Yash Chopra, who has also used this garment as a sort of symbol in other films like Main Hoon Na

publive-image Ranbir Kapoor transformed from a simple Delhi boy to a controversial rockstar and his costume was the perfect representative of the change

Anurag Basu's Barfi is another film that cashes in on the image that this ensemble conjures up. Ranbir portrays a deaf and mute character and is invariably dressed in a sleeveless sweater vest and shorts. And now in Jagga Jasoos both Ranbir and Katrina can be seen wearing these school uniform-style jerseys. 


The kind of characters this outfit represents has been established time and again in Bollywood, but even then the style of this humble sweater keeps changing from time to time. In a slightly different context, Konkona Sen Sharma's first directorial A Death in The Gunj also showcases its lead, Vikrant Massey, wearing a jersey. This time it is a garment with emotional connect as it belongs to the character's father.


It is round neck and home-knit, a slight deviation from the prototypical look, but symbolic enough to generate similar feelings. The sweater here is not an ornament but an emotional tool for someone who has not been able to come to terms with his father's death. Here it has evolved from being merely a representation of simplicity and good-naturedness to being a symbol of a troubled, tormented soul who cannot cope with life.

Latest Stories