The bikini in Indian cinema was until the 1990s an attire restricted to screen – that too, decorated with swaying trees and butterflies.
When the likes of Kareena Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Rani Mukherjee (yes, really) took the bikini shot in Bollywood to a bold new level, it was accompanied with much PR fanfare.
However, as the paparazzi mentality takes hold in the Indian media, most Bollywood actresses know the golden Bollywood rule – never wear a bikini on a beach if you do not want the world to see you in one off-screen.
Especially not if you are holidaying in Goa.
That has more to do with privacy and is understandable given that the bikini is a relatively late-comer to the modern Indian woman’s wardrobe.
But what if you are holidaying abroad? Say, in Ibiza? Say, with a new boyfriend?
There is a new bikini scandal brewing now in India because of comments alleged to have been made by a source close to Katrina Kaif as regards, well, ‘Indians and bikinis’.
A few weeks ago Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif was photographed on a beach in Ibiza wearing a bikini - that by bikini standards was hardly the stringiest creation available.
The paparazzi got the pictures; the Indian media went to town.
Two weeks later, after her Spain trip with ‘alleged’ boyfriend Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina wrote an open letter to the media complaining about "invasion of privacy".
So far, fair play.
However, a top Indian Bollywood news website (Bollywood Mantra) then quoted a source close to Katrina as saying, “She blames herself entirely for what happened. She feels she should not have worn a bikini on a crowded beach. The minute she saw Indians on the beach she regretted being so relaxed and casual even if on a private holiday.”
The minute she saw Indians? Which now begs a couple of questions:
Did she not expect to see Indians in Ibiza?
Does she think Indians are not capable of handling a bikini?
Does she think Indians are not capable of handling her in a bikini?
If Katrina wanted India and the Indian media on her side, she should watch what her camp says.
The website (Bollywood Mantra) quotes the friend as further adding, “Shorts and a top. That will be her mandatory beachwear from now on. This experience has taught Katrina never to let her guard down.”
Bollywood has a new beach rule – the Katrina Rule – No bikini if Indians on the beach, only shorts and a top.