Psssst. I have something to tell you. I don't know if it's a secret, technically, although certainly nobody told me, and I had to discover it on my own (although there's little I like more than stumbling across something really interesting, so that's totally okay). Here it is: men's Bollywood costumes make a whole lot more sense once you have seen what some people in India actually wear. It's true!
Not everyone dresses like Govinda, to be sure; but as someone pointed out, even if only one percent of the population is wearing filmy clothes, that's still 11,000,000 people - many of whom were outside and spottable from the bus window.
I saw orange cargo pants and funny hats and insane shirts - including one in a store just outside our hotel in Kolkata that I wanted to hand to Salman right away (only after ripping the sleeves off a bit, of course) (a red button-down with rainbow-striped sleeves, in case you were wondering - he'd wear it with most of the buttons undone, I'm sure, and the sleeves would be detached at the top of the shoulder and frayed - niiiiice). The place I first noticed this kind of thing, oddly, was walking towards the Lotus Temple in Delhi - I guess that's as good a place for a parade of fashion as any - and at one point it just hit me: "Wow, this must be where much of the world's acid-washed denim ended up. Huh."
Of course I'll try to illustrate my point with photos, after I go through them all. But just know this. I have an expression that my friend Melina calls "turn the dial." I use it to describe how thing A is very similar but just a little off from thing B - like when radios had knobs instead of digital tuners, and you could hear a song, faintly or static-ly, and you had to turn the dial in teensy increments to get it just so. It's like that. If you turn the dial on some of the things I saw on Indian men, you'd get some of what you see in Bollywood. It's not everyone, and it's not all the time, and it's certainly not like I saw anyone actually walking around in blue strappy pleather (yes, Shahid, I'm talkin' to you), but there were definitely things in that general range.
I should probably also note that I suspect I could find a sampling of Bollywoodesque clothes at my city's gay bar, or on some of the less disciriminating European tourists (like the German-sounding guy on the elevator with me in Mumbai who had thoughtfully worn red underwear with his white trousers and then sat down on a wet recliner by the pool) (sorry for all the stereotypes going on here. But stereotypes have to start somewhere, and you know what I mean), but that isn't nearly so interesting as seeing the creatures in their natural habitat, now is it?