Bollywood needs a stylist more and designer less. Do you agree?
I tend to agree. That is the way ahead. There are some advantages of being a stylist first and designer later. A stylist can dip into the talent pool of so many designers and stores when a designer usually gets restricted to his own collections. When you are a film stylist, the world becomes your shopping centre.
These days, more and more designers are looking at being Bollywood stylists, whether they admit it or not!
After hip and cool looks in Race and Dhoom, Drona looks quite Indian. Did you have to re-orient yourself for that?
No, not at all! I treat every project independently. Drona is a film that will be enjoyed by adults and kids equally. It is true that the style story has a very strong Indian interpretation — the superhero, his bodyguard and the villain…
What are the looks for the three main characters?
For Abhishek Bachchan we started out with a basic achkan and developed it into what it looks now. Its a very structured look where we have used metal pieces to create embroidery. Basically, embroidery is used as armour. Delhi based-designer Gaurav Gupta has helped with his look. It almost has a sculpted feel but there is some fluidity in his crushed stole.
Priyanka Chopra plays his bodyguard. For her, we began with an angarkha and churidar that have now turned into tight leather pants. They are worn with boots to lend her a seamless look. I have given her coti that is almost like a brocade holster. Her kurta is completely stripped down and very deconstructed. We wanted to give her a turban-like effect so she has a tight leather strip tied around her head that is quite asymmetrical. Her long hair and Mickey Contractors make-up complement her look perfectly. Though she has a signature look throughout, her colours change according to her emotional levels. For the songs of course, one takes some liberty and makes them sexy, though the costumes retain the main influences.
Even Kay Kays look is interesting. He plays a dark character, down to pointy metal fingers and reptile print capes. There are some Shakespearean influences in his sleeves and collars.
It was great working on the film because the director, Goldie Behl, was very receptive to our ideas. I am happy with the entire larger-than-life look of the film. The beauty of the film was that it didnt need to be relevant to reality.
Do you see any of Dronas design elements travelling to the street?
I dont know really. I never have that in mind while working on a film. Lets see — maybe trousers tucked inside boots? No, actually, I cant say what will click. All I can say is that it feels proud to have created the look for an Indian superhero. We are not aping the West but dipping into our own heritage.
But doesnt it feel great to see looks you have created on the streets?
Oh yes! It feels fantastic. I was so proud that Pepe made a Dhoom:2 collection. Every time I see someone wearing those clothes, I stop and ask them if they know that they were originally created for a film! Its amazing to see leather jackets become a rage here in Mumbai despite the weather. I have lost count of the many versions of Ashs Krazy kiya re outfit… It is one thing to dress up stars but to see them on real people is something else.
One film you wish you had styled?
Romeo and Juliet
One film you styled you wish you hadnt?
I cant do that!
Biggest fashion faux pas in films?
Overdone make-up when the actress is supposed to look natural
Biggest fashion faux pas on the street?
Extra long jeans that trail on the road… I hate to see long trousers when you cant even see the shoes!
Fashion director or costume designer or stylist… Which role do you enjoy most?
Fashion director of Vogue India. Thats the real me. I am a fashion person. The costume bit is a fantasy side!
Your signature style...
Very basic — jeans, ganjees and chappals. Sometimes I am slightly schizophre-nic! On the rare occasion, I do dress up completely.
1 Umrao Jaan: The film made a strong style statement and lets just say that it was the only statement it made. Intricate embroidery, lot of bling and sequins shone on Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan for 210 minutes.
2 Krrish: Indias first superhero flick saw lots of black and blue. A cool cape and mystical mask were the highlights of the film. Priyankas girl-next-door look brought out the contrast even more.
3 Jodhaa Akbar: Neeta Lulla, the style queen of period dramas, wove magic for Jodhaa and Akbar. Hrithiks exquisite Mughal finery and Aishwaryas royal Rajasthani look made this film a must-watch. Special mention for Tanishqs jewels.
4 The Rising: Aamirs Mangal Pandey uniform and Rani Mukerjis blingy courtesan look were big hits, albeit at fancy dress costume parties!
5 Saawariya: Ranbir Kapoor modelled his look on his grandfather Raj Kapoors era. He wore ankle-length pants, shrunken jackets and a hat. Sonam Kapoors style statement was also dramatic, very dark and mysterious with yards of flowing fabrics that trailed behind.