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The Evolution of Tamil Film Industry from 1930s

The migration of fashion from ancient times to today is just adorable. From M.S.Subalakshmibulakshmi to Nayanthara Tamil Film Industry has its unique style for decades. In this article, we would see the fashion and makeup from the 1930s to till date. Get explored to the dramatic change of fashion in the Kollywood film industry in an undreamable path.

The 1930s

The 1930s are the times when fashion evolution started carving its own path in South India.

makeup evolution

Whitestone jewellery was the most preferred type of accessory in Black and white movie as it enhanced the look.

Take a look from top to bottom from – from the nethi chutti to the heavy anklets.

Most of the heroines preferred tilak shaped bindi and Nath which gave a classic look.

Curly hair was the most preferred hairstyle compared to straight hair.

The 1940s

When it came to the 1940s, in fashion and makeup, the first thing that comes to our mind is the optimistic look of the heroine.

Evolution of makeup
Anjali Devi

The circle thin eyebrows with minimal eyeshadow were the most preferred style.

Have a look at the actresses Anjali Devi and Bhanumathi who have carried themselves in a graceful way.

Tamil industry
Bhanumathi Ramakrishna

The Late 1940s were the times when wing eyeliner came into existence.

Heavy zari saree with whitestone jewellery are the highlights of these times.

As most of the movies were historically based movies, the head crowns and veils were given more importance.

Actress anjali devi
Anjali Devi

Take, for example, the dressing of actress Anjali Devi in the movie Mangaiyarkarasi in which she wore a heavy zari saree with puff sleeves and whitestone jewellery sets.

The 1950s

This trend was followed in the 1950s with some minimal change.

actress Saroja Devi
Saroja Devi

The 1950s are the times when accentuated lashes, rounded brows, and lightly lined came into existence.

Tilak-shaped bindi and curly hair were again trending.

Most of the heroines were of a curvy physique, which was preferred to the slim physique. 

The 1950s was the decade which did not have physique constraint.

actress savitri

The makeup and attire worn in this time were very simple, and this helped the audience to consider them a part of the family.

One best example is actress Savitri, with her looks in the movie Pasamalar, which was simple with a bare lip shade and wispy braids.

Allibabavum narpathu thirudargalum movie
Allibabavum Narpathu Thirudargalum

This decade was very notable as this was the era when the first Tamil color movie was released (Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum). 

From then on, the view on fashion and choice of color has changed a lot.

The 1960s

The 1960s opted for a bold look with darker wings and sheer peachy blushes. 

Thickly penciled bold wings are the signature features of the 60s – which is followed even today.

Saroja Devi
Saroja Devi

Can you imagine the two sided-plaits for a saree? Yes, this was the trending style in those days!!!

Other than this, high tight buns were the most preferred hairstyle, decorated with embellishing flowers like crossandra and jasmine.

actress Padmini

Heavy Jhumkas with ear chain and matching traditional attigai jewellery were the desired fashion icon of those eras. 

Round bindis and embroidery sarees came into the trend in these times.

Western dresses like skirts and gowns gained prominence in this time period.

You can see the style of Saroja Devi in the movie Anbe Vaa, in which she has given fashion goals to many young girls of those times.

Anbe Vaa movie
Saroja Devi on Anbe Vaa

The focus was more on eyes, keeping the rest of the face muted.

Pale lip shadows like beige, baby pink, and peach were in vogue.

The 1970s

This theme was not the same in the 1970s, and you can see a minimal change in the makeup. 

For instance – skinny eyebrows were preferred to bold eyebrows.

actress Jayalalitha

Over-lining lips were no more fashionable, as natural looking lips in muted shades were in vogue. 

Retro style was the most influenced fashion as compared with salwar kameez in these times.

Annai oru allayam
Sri Priya

The hairstyles were not the same as high buns, and there were different styles like short hair, ironed hair, pony-tails, etc.,

Smudged liners and orange blush were hugely popular. 

The 1980s

Now come our 1980s fashion look, the very illuminated and vibrant look. 

Bright glossy lips and heavy pink blush were all the rage this period.

actress Sri devi
Sri Devi

Sheer saree with close neck elbow sleeve blouse was the trend in the 80s, which is the trend even today, right?

Untamed brows, bright eyeshadow, and bright metallic lipstick were used in abundance. Dusky looks were the trending looks of this time.

actress bhanu priya
Bhanu Priya

You can see more dusky skinned heroines in this period of an era in a large number.

It was the time when bell bottom pants and shirts came into the trend.

Most of the heroines are portrayed with less makeup and simple outfits onscreen.

Salwaar suits and gowns were the most preferred attire in these periods. The actresses like Nadhiya have given fashion goals like “Nadhiya hairstyles” “Nadhiya jewellery” in the 1980s.

actress Nadhiya

The 1990s

The heroines in the 90s are the same in fashion as compared to previous eras. They all maintained a mattified skin texture with thick eyeliner and full-length brows.

Roja movie
Madhoo Bala

Fluffy and wavy hair was in the vogue and over lining lips were a comeback in this period.

‘Fashion repeats itself’, so this was the period where chubby heroines were in the top. 

The actress like Kushboo was one the trendsetter in the 90s with her classic western look with matching accessories. 


The Late 90s was the time long sleeve salwars were a trending fashion style. Loose fitting Anarkali and straight cut salwars were in fashion in those times. Elbow sleeve blouses were back to trend again in the 90s period.

The 2000s

The new century has also brought new fashion trends in the industry. The early 2000s was the trend for two-tones glossy nude lips and frosty smokey eyeshadow.

No more high buns in this era! Straight free hair was the trend from then!

evolution of makeup

Thin brows and nude eyeliners were the most commonly used pattern. This was not the same in later 2000s.

Compared to western outfits, light shade sarees were the most desired clothing. Shalini’s ‘Alaipayuthey’ looks are still the most iconic ones until now. Do you agree? If so comment below.

The 2000s was the time when western dresses like t-shirts, mini skirts, and shirts came into fashion.

Jyothika was one such actress to cultivate new trends in fashion in that period. Now she gives us fashion goals with saree!!!

Kushi movie

Sarees were also in equal trend in this period! Light shade sarees are the most preferred one! Later, in the middle of the decade, half sarees were trending, as Trisha’s ‘Ghilli’ and ‘Unakkum Enakkum’ attire was eye-catchy…

Trisha Krishnan
Trisha Krishnan

Even matching Kundan jewellery sets were in fashion after the movies.

Then came the old trend salwar suits but with minimal changes – like gathering pants and fitted top salwars.

The 2010s

Now, this era from 2010, the industry touches all the aspects of fashion from traditional silk sarees to trending modern outfits.

Anushka Shetty
Anushka Shetty

Let it be layered free hair or front puff one, the colored hair is the most trending style!

Designer Kurtis and palazzos are the trending outfits today! Trimmed brows and nude makeup that gives natural looks are most in fashion!

High buns came into trend after the recent look of Nayanthara in ‘Viswasam’.

Nayanthara in viswasam

The fashion may change year after year, but the grace and beauty of our actresses remain the same for all ages.

Hope you all enjoyed watching this video. Comment on your favorite fashion era in the comment box, or share your suggestions with us if we have missed any.


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