Mufflermen of India in reel and real
After Gandhiji’s spectacles and Nehru’s jacket, Arvind Kejriwal’s muffler is the talk of the nation. His iconic muffler in the ‘Q’ shape around the neck stands for question on corruption in the country. Though the prestigious title “Mufflerman” has been awarded as a Twitter hashtag to Arvind Kejriwal, he is neither the only nor the first mufflerman in India. Everyone from a milkman to Dev Anand, from Bilaspur to Bollywood is a mufflerman in India. Apart from its political significance, muffler enjoys a special status in the rural society and draws lots of attention in the world of fashion. In Bollywood, muffler fashion has its own history. It in different styles and shapes has adorned the necks of Bollywood actors from Dev Anand to Sushant Singh Rajput. But, Arvind Kejriwal jaisa mufflerman koi nahi!
Sushant Singh Rajput is the only and first Bollywood actor who seems to have been inspired by Arvind Kejriwal’s muffler fashion. He is playing detective Byomkesh Bakshi in Dibakar Banerjee’s upcoming thriller. His muffler-wrapped avatar bears striking resemblance to Arvind Kejriwal’s iconic appearance.
Ranbir Kapoor’s boyish charm romanticized the muffler fashion in Anjana Anjani before Arvind Kejriwal became the popular mufflerman. The Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir brought the muffler fashion alive as a cool trend which swept the youth of India.
Kejriwal’s political muffler fashion was apolitically hot when Amir Khan flaunted colorful muffler-like scarves around his neck and beefy chest in Ghajini. The fashion of pairing unbuttoned shirts with mufflers giving a peek at the shaved, chiseled chest was a hot sensation in 2008.
Muffler is unique to rural fashion in the hinterlands of India. Sets of knee-length kurtas, jeans and mufflers are found in men’s wardrobes in small towns. Imran Khan paired jeans and kurta with mufflers to add to the bucolic rawness of his character Matru in Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mondola.
The pairing of short kurta with muffler is revived as a raw style in Kill Dil. The mélange of kurta and muffler is intimately associated with men’s rough & tough look, which Govinda’s Bhaiyaji, a semi-urbane antagonist in Kill Dil, flaunted rightly.
Shah Rukh Khan too is in the league of mufflermen in Bollywood. He was seen wearing a muffler around the neck, accentuated with bearded look, in Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Though there was nothing classy about his muffler fashion, he looked cool.
Who is the best muffleman in India? What do you say?