|The Hollywood Diyareddha
The Diyareddha is the most widely used bathing costume by women of Asian countries including Sri Lanka. It is a piece of cloth similar to a sarong. The sarong has its two ends sewn together and men generally wear it. While the women wear it without its two ends been sewn together. The majority of the women in Asia when bathing outdoors at a river, a hillside water sprout, a well or at the community tap convert the cloth they wear waist downwards (a jacket is worn on the upper portion of their body), into a Diyareddha. This is easily done by simply hosting the cloth from round their waist to a level just above their breasts and tying it at that position. Diyareddha literally means "Water Cloth " or cloth used for bathing.
It is an accepted fact by both men and women that the Diyareddha is sexier than any other bathing costume designed in the West, including the briefest of bikinis. When the female form is completely exposed it could be beautiful but not sexy. When it is partially covered it becomes both beautiful and sexy. The reason for this phenomenon is obvious. The unexposed areas introduce an element of mystery and leave it to the imagination of the observer to complete the picture. In the West bathing costumes for females were first designed in the 19th century both in America and Great Britain during the Victorian Era. These costumes covered the wearer from her neck to her ankles. Then gradually the hemlines began to grow shorter while the necklines began to plunge lower and lower, culminating in today’s itsy bitsy tiny weenie bikini. This left hardly anything to the imagination.
The Diyareddha on the other hand did not undergo any changes in centuries. Women of today who wear the Diyareddha wear it exactly in the same manner their ancestors did centuries ago. They tie it just above the swell of their breasts and the cloth reaches down their knees. The Diyareddha still remains the sexiest bathing costume for women because when it gets really soaked in water, it becomes a second skin on the wearer and clings to her body. Thus it very clearly outlines the curvaceous contours of the female torso while not displaying a completely exposed vision to the eyes of the beholder. Instead it tantalises the imagination of the observer by giving him revealing glimpses of the female form through the translucent wet cloth as different sections of it keeps clinging and unclinging to the body of the bather.
In the late thirties and early forties Hollywood discovered the above secret and introduced to the screen - the Sarong Girl. The first actress to wear a sarong like a Diyareddha in a motion picture was Miss Dorothy Lamour. She was a twenty two-years-old American girl with the exotic looks of an a oriental female.
She had dark lanky hair, which reached, down to her waist. Her face was beautifully oval with a pair of dewy doe eyes and full lips. In addition she was tall and had a shapely lissome figure. Her first film in a sarong was released in 1936 titled, "THE JUNGLE PRINCESS" by Paramount Studios with one of their leading male stars Ray Milland. It was a low budget movie but it grossed a high figure at the box office. The reason for this movie’s success was purely due to Miss Lamour in a sarong. At that period in Hollywood, the Hays office imposed a strict censorship on Hollywood films. There was a complete ban on the exposure of female breasts in films although film producers had done so without any hindrance in their films from the very inception of the motion picture industry.
Miss Lamour wore her sarong just above her breasts and it ended way up her thighs where the accepted bathing costumes ended at that time. In the film she wore the sarong Diyareddha style throughout and invariably got it wet. The producers were thus able to satisfy the dreaded Hays office code of decency while not reducing the sexy image of the heroine. Actually the sarong enhanced the sexy image. This movie was followed by another sarong one titled "HURRICANE" in 1937. It starred Miss Lamour with a handsome new beefcake star named Jon Hall. This film unlike the first film was a major production with a budget. It was based on a novel by Charles Nordhof and James Norman Hall the authors of the famous story "Mutiny on the Bounty." The film was directed by one of Hollywood’s veteran directors John Ford.
The next year Miss Lamour’s studio teamed her once more with Ray Milland the male lead in her first sarong film. The new film was called "HER JUNGLE LOVE" and in it, as before she wore her sarong and got it wet. Meantime Ms. Dorothy Lamour had become a favourite with the forces engaged in World War 11 and also a major Hollywood star. She made many films other than her sarong ones but could never shake off the Sarong Girl image, which she had made famous. She got into sarong again in, "ROAD To SINGAPORE" with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, "TYPHON" with Robert Preston and "MOON OVER BURMA" also with Robert Preston in 1940. In 1941 she made yet another picture in sarong, "ALOMA OF THE SOUTH SEAS" once again with Jon Hall. The next year it was "BEYOND THE BLUE HORIZON" with Richard Denning and finally her studio Paramount allowed her to end their sarong fettish with a film called "RAINBOW ISLAND" with comedian Eddie Bracken. — (Courtesy Satyn)