Swastika Mukherjee traces her sari story, film after film

By Arindam Chatterjee
  • Published 10.02.18
Swastika as Shinjini in Michael. Picture: Pabitra Das

As homemaker Shinjini in Michael, directed by Satrajit Sen, Swastika Mukherjee has added a classy appeal to her sari look. Here’s how she has done the nine-yard fabric in her films...


Shinjini’s look in Michael is a tribute to Rekha and the way she dressed up in her films, like Astha and Ijaazat. I also remember the jewellery she used to wear.

Byomkesh O Agniban

The Michael look

Shinjini looks good, she wears nice clothes, and she loves her jewellery. And she is like that throughout the film, except for a dream sequence. She doesn’t change her jewellery or bangles or the cut of her blouse or a bindi.

I have done enough roles that were bold in terms of clothes. And with Shinjini, I wanted to get away from that. You always don’t have to look hot or glamorous, and Shinjini looks beautiful in her own way. Even when we are going through a bad phase we don’t stop dressing up or combing our hair. We go out in a presentable way only. As Shinjini, I could really be bindaas, and I could have tandoori chicken every day!

Dupur Thakurpo

For me, it is really important that I look different in all my films. Presenting myself in a new way is as important as portraying a character. I wore a sari in Anjan Dutt’s Byomkesh O Agniban. The emphasis was more on the embroidery and the material, which gave a period feel and went with the character (Maloti Debi), who was very outgoing.

In Suman Mukhopadhyay’s Asamapto, I played Tuki. She had a distinct style. She wanted to show off her beauty, she loved the attention. Tuki wore an attire that was synonymous with the hilly region. Darker colours and lipstick… And yet, there was a minimalist approach towards it. The colour palette was beige and grey and pastel. In the web series Dupur Thakurpo, I play Uma Boudi, who is a tease. She likes to seduce. With her, everything is low cut, you can’t go any lower than that. She wears chiffon, see-through. And Shinjini in Michael is like, ‘Do not come near me. Stay away!’


Sari memories

My first memory of wearing a sari goes back to Saraswati puja. Ma used to get us these holud lal paar saris. Then my sister wore them, and then (daughter) Mani also wore them. I would also wear a sari on Ashtami or Dashami, and then on Bhai Phonta.

I am very comfortable wearing a sari. I wear them when I am going out with friends. I don’t need an occasion to wear a sari. I was very happy since I got to wear my mother’s saris in Michael… I felt she was a part of me, part of the character, part of the film all the time. I also wore jewellery that my mother used to wear all the time.