Twirl it, tap it, flaunt it, or wrestle with it as it turns inside-out, leaving you drenched in a shower of rain; there really is no escaping the umbrella at this time of the year. It is also the one accessory that is near impossible to look cool with. You leave with your huge bubble umbrella from the home, convinced that you are giving off a bit of Scarlett-Johansson-in-Lost-In-Translation vibe, but the umbrella sways with the wind, leaves streaks of water down your back, and you are swept away in ungainly ways by that horrible grey monstrosity. So much for that fantasy!
Fortunately, film stars have no such problems. Umbrellas have had a storied history in the annals of pop culture : as a believable prop for dancing, as a vicious instrument of destruction and often as a screen between the lascivious audience and an “innocent” pair of lovers. Sometimes they also act as a shorthand to Orientalism with their “Eastern” connotation. Here are some of the best umbrellas from cinema.
Singing in the Rain
If you’re Gene Kelly, you don’t need a fancy prop, or a crowd of backup dancers. All you need is a splash of water, a puddle or two, and the oldest umbrella in the world.
The Blue Umbrella (Pixar)
Pixar are champions at creating believable romance out of inanimate creatures, be it the slow burn of Jessie and Woody in The Toy Story, or the doomed yin and yang of Eva and Wall.E.
Their 2013 short about the love between a blue and a red umbrella kills you with cuteness, imbibing the humble umbrella with so much love and longing that you are tempted to throw him a wedding!
The Blue Umbrella (Hindi)
Speaking of which, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Blue Umbrella turns the eponymous parasol into an object of lust and envy. And who can blame Nand Kishore Khatri for wanting that lovely blue thing. It is beautiful, dainty, and by far the prettiest thing he has set eyes on in a long long time.
Pyaar Hua Ikraar Hua: Shree 420
If you’re a Bollywood aficionado, this is probably the umbrella you best remember. As Nargis gives into the tempest of emotions she feels for Raj Kapoor , she allows herself to come ever closer to him under the awning of his umbrella. Monsoonal Mumbai becomes a backdrop for the red-hot chemistry between the lovers, as they allow themselves to express their feelings
Tip Tip Baarish: Afsaana Pyar Kaa
Meanwhile only the truly movie crazy ones possibly remember this song. Look at Aamir Khan dance with a Gene Kelly abandon before he became too serious for all of this! Watch as a time capsule to a simpler time.
Na Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai: Chalbaaz
You know who doesn’t need designer clothes or umbrellas or even flattering costumes to steal your heart? Sridevi in her peak power, that’s who. She twirls, she pratfalls, pops and locks with abandon, and is it any surprise that her transparent umbrella makes a better dance partner than Sunny Deol?
Every little child has had a fight with her parents, retreated to her room, and prayed to the powers that be for her own Mary Poppins. She glides down with an umbrella from the heavens, lands with a neat two-step and immediately puts on the famous Julie Andrews’ smile. Can you blame them?
The Umbrella Fight Scene: Kingsman
There’s not much to recommend in this movie, except for a gloriously dapper Colin Firth. But the film comes to life in this three minute sequence where he fights a group of local thugs with little more than an umbrella and an impeccably tailored suit. (The name’s Firth, Colin Firth)