Did you know that Manish Malhotra cries when he hears devotional songs and can’t understand why people cry during sad songs at the movies? “They are the only songs that make me cry..!” he, er, laughed! That and a lot more was revealed about the man of the moment as he spent an hour in the t2 office on Monday.
(Team t2 greets Manish as he walks in, looking dapper in a magenta shirt and black Armani jeans. Coming straight from CIMA, he begins with the vibrant colours he saw there, and the thread of conversation about Calcutta and its myriad colours continues...)
Saionee Chakraborty: What has caught your eye in Calcutta?
Manish: Lots of times, I see women on the roads, working, and the combinations that they wear — maybe because she doesn’t have too many choices or maybe she is thinking differently — is very interesting. If you go to Rajasthan, you see this whole barren, brown, hot land in the summer and then suddenly you see a fuchsia pink! On a normal Mumbai or Calcutta street, you might see a person doing day-to-day work and actually wearing a striking combination. It’s called kitsch in fashion... modern or new wave... she either doesn’t realise it or may be she even does, I am always very fascinated to find out...
I have discovered Calcutta only in recent years. I have come to know the people more. I have relatives here and when I came for Yuva shopping, I remember I was looking for saris for Rani’s (Mukerji) character.
Calcutta is cultural, it has the British colonial feel. The last time (in 2010), I saw the Maidan and it is India’s answer to Hyde Park! Calcutta has an interesting way of making things seem even more cultural!
Pratim D. Gupta: That’s a front! What’s happening on the film front for you?
Manish Malhotra @ManishMalhotra1
At the t2 newspaper office, cut this cake :-)
(Top) Manish clicks and tweets; Manish cuts the Kookie Jar cake designed like a t2 cover!
Manish: Heroine. I just saw the film yesterday and it is lovely. I thought Kareena (Kapoor) was outstanding. Somebody tweeted back saying if you are saying Kareena was outstanding, I’ll see the film... (laughs).... but I really thought she was outstanding.
What she has maintained nicely in this film is her softness. She is playing a character in the film which is not a really come-forth ambitious girl. She is this girl who is really emotionally torn and could leave her career for an emotional romance. She is always oscillating between two thoughts... that she has captured very well.
Shradha Agarwal: How was it dressing her up?
Manish: I had never worked with Madhur (Bhandarkar) so I asked him, ‘Are we going to make it realistic?’ He was like ‘realistic but in the sense that she is going to be a Bollywood heroine’. So, it is going to be glossy. It was important for us in that sense to show a modern heroine... so, there are interesting clothes from lots of designers like Vivienne Westwood, D&G, Pucci, Valentino... lots of interesting mix of designers. Then, of course, saris. In that sense, it is a very costume-heavy film... there are about 120 costumes....
Sometimes she is with a therapist and she has got to look completely out of it... an actress who cares so much in front of the camera and now completely not bothered... that is one look. Sometimes she is shooting Halkat jawani... she is on a yacht or at a racecourse. And she has to look like how any actor looks today.
Earlier in the ’70s and ’80s, a heroine was all about necklaces and chiffon saris. Now, it is more modern.... Kareena has worked hard and her hair and make-up is also looking lovely.
Basically, this year has been very, very, very hectic. Doing Yash Chopra’s film (Jab Tak Hai Jaan), Karan’s (Johar) Student of the Year, Heroine... Ranbir (Kapoor) and Deepika’s (Padukone) film (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani..) and then there is fashion week. February, March, April, May, I almost died! I was like... I don’t want to see a shopping mall or talk about clothes!
Shradha: The first time you must have seen Kareena she was a kid... and now!
Manish: When I saw Kareena first, she was nine years old and she was a star then also! Pretty, fair and interested in movies! (Smiles)
Priyanka Roy: Out of all this, has Heroine been the most challenging?
Manish: Student of the Year has been a lot of fun because it is such a young film... young, young, high school... Alia’s (Bhatt) character has a baby-doll look...
Smita Roy Chowdhury: She’s also a new face to work with...
Manish: Even the boys (Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra) are newcomers. So, they had to look real yet glossed up. It is a Karan Johar film. And Karan, in the Vela song, told me, “You always take tension... there are just three or four changes”... but the song had 11 changes! Every song he does that to me!
Saionee: What do you think of Alia Bhatt?
Manish: The first time when I met her... she had lost so much weight. In the fittings, the blouse was tight for her, but she came up with a remedy so quickly. Here she was, a 17-year-old girl, not phased at all... and even today, when she is trying her costumes, she’s like, ‘Should I do this or should I just loosen this up’” She is not one of those who’s like, ‘I don’t know what to do!’
Pratim: She is Bhattsaab’s daughter after all!
Saionee: Who is the most promising among the three?
Manish: I haven’t seen the whole film.... Karan has worked so hard with them, there is so much gloss, costumes, so many locations.... Their true test would be their second film. In this film, I am sure they will all be so good!
Saionee: What about Alia’s style in the film?
Manish: Well, compared to
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, this one is much more glamorised. It is more fashion. K3G was slightly more sporty. For Alia, there are lots of prom dresses and we have maintained a headband look.
Saionee: Coming back to Heroine, did the line blur somewhere between the real-life Kareena Kapoor and reel-life Kareena Kapoor?
Manish: We have tried to keep that whole diva feeling. What is nice about Kareena is that she is very unassuming. She and Ranbir are two actors who do not make a big thing out of ‘I have such a difficult scene today’. She just does it. She is joking with you and then she will go and do her scene... which is also what Kajol does.
Roshni Ali (student, t2 campus-team member and Manish fan): Since we are students and don’t really have the luxury of designer brands, I want to know what is the next big street fashion trend?
Manish: The trends are cleaner and more classic. We are moving away from kitsch. It’s all about the ’60s... in fact, prom dresses are also very ’60s... guys in bandhgalas with nice buttons and nice pocket-squares... all are very ’60s...
Saionee: At your Mijwan show, Mary Kom walked for you. What was it like?
Manish: Poor girl... she came from so far and that day Mumbai was flooded! We gave her this nice pink colour, she was fitted two hours before the show. She looked stunning. And she got a standing ovation!
Shradha: Was Kareena comfortable with those really short clothes in Heroine?
Manish: When we buy clothes, we have to reconstruct them, chop them, add something of your own... and I think it is Madhur’s most glamorous film...
Pratim: What was it like working with Madhur?
Manish: Very easy! I am also an old fossil now na... he also knows... In fact, Ranbir keeps teasing me, ‘What’s the turnover? Where is the sack?’
Karo Christine Kumar: So, what’s the turnover?
Manish: (Laughs) I am turning over!
Priyanka: Have you watched Barfi!?
Manish: I haven’t seen it as yet... he (Ranbir) is a spectacular actor...
Priyanka: Is he tuned into fashion? Does he come up with suggestions?
Manish: He’s very tuned into style. He’ll wear his own shirt and ask ‘Is this looking good?’
Saionee: You also worked with Yash Chopra, who is making a film after such a long time...
Manish: He is so amazing... the energy... the passion that he has... I wish all of us have that when we are 80!
Saionee: You dress so many heroines. Has anyone told you, “Manish you design better clothes for another her?!” Manish: They do comment! In fact, a lot of people have commented on Kareena’s neon green (in Halkat jawani)... I am obsessed with bangles and that is why those contrast pink bangles came in!”
Shradha: How is Calcutta treating you?
Manish: I want to do a lot more work in Calcutta. The last three years, Delhi has kept me very busy, especially the last one year because we are opening a big store. Now is the time to maybe do four out of 10 movies and take a lot of my work everywhere. I have also been working a lot with Shabana’s (Azmi) NGO... Mijwan... about 125 people work with us in Kashmir. I think it is a journey of life.
See, films can never leave me. I want to direct films. Film actors are used to wearing my clothes because I understand their bodies and I can fix it for them faster. And films I have always designed for but I want to reach out to a lot more. Today also, when we were at CIMA and they were talking about weavers, I was like, “I’d love if you introduce me to some of the weavers.”
Shradha: You love colours...
Manish: In my growing years, I was a big fan of the ’70s, but in the last few years, I don’t know why... maybe I have crossed 40, that’s why, I am more attracted to black and white and the ’60s... that classic styling and the colours. In fact, this time at Delhi Couture Week, my orange and pink were completely from the ’60s. And everybody from Shabana (Azmi) to Karan was like, “What is that orange?!” Katrina in that long kurta with the ghagra is from a film from 1952 which I saw.
Karo: Coming to Twitter, the last time you were at the t2 office two years ago, you said you weren’t into tweeting at all...
Shradha: And now he is the most-followed designer... 150,000 followers!
Manish: I have 152,000! I am a private person. On Twitter also, I don’t know what to say... now, I learning to say a little more.... I have got along with so many actors only because I never ask them questions... a lot of people were asking me about Kareena (her wedding) and I was like I did not even ask her when was she getting married!
Smita: So now we are asking you!
Manish: Kareena’s reception will be in Delhi. For that we are making her two outfits... one will be an old-world gharara and one will be a sari and there will be a party in Mumbai a day before... so a sari for Kareena...
Shradha: And the colours?
Manish: And the colours will be... wait and watch. (Smiles)
Pratim: As someone who watches films so intensely, which heroine looks best in which sequence?
Manish: I don’t think I can speak about the girls I have worked with as I’d be really partial to them but earlier I have been very fascinated by Mumtaz and Saira Banu and Madhubala... In Mughal-E-Azam, if you see that panghat ka song (Mohe panghat pe), that outfit is so sexy! I wish I was there at that time. For me, it’s never been about one costume. It’s the film, unless it is one item song.
Now we are doing an item song that Kareena’s doing in Dabangg. She gets married in October and she goes for 10 days and then comes back and shoots for Dabangg. I was just telling her last night that I hope you don’t put on weight! (Smiles)
Priyanka: Anything this year that you did not work on, but really liked?
Manish: Cocktail. I liked the film a lot and the way it looked. I loved Deepika’s (Padukone) performance. Diana Penty is a friend and her last show was with me and I used to tell her, ‘Why aren’t you an actress?’ Any pretty girl I see, I ask her, “Why aren’t you an actress?” For me, that’s the best profession.... I also loved Vicky Donor as a film...
Smita: Among the ramp hotties now, who do you want to see as an actress?
Manish: There is a model called Kriti and also Anjali (Lavania)...
Saionee: Who are Bollywood’s best-dressed today?
Manish: Today, I think everybody has got it quite right... Saif (Ali Khan), Mr (Amitabh) Bachchan, Ranbir (Kapoor), Imran (Khan), Abhishek (Bachchan)... among the girls, Kareena for sure, Priyanka (Chopra)... carried off the fitted dresses pretty well, Katrina (Kaif) likes to keep it simple... Deepika (Padukone), Sonam (Kapoor)...
Saionee: You think they do okay without a stylist?
Manish: Sort of... they know what looks nice on them... the flipside is that they rarely experiment... Sonam does... but I guess it is better to be safe than sorry!
CIMA GALLERY: SIMPLY STUNNING
MANISH MALHOTRA TWEETED ON MONDAY.
|Pictures by Rashbehari Das
|These delicious shades of coral and pink, “very ’60s colours” according to Manish, make up his collection this season. Everyone “from Karan Johar to Shabana Azmi” loved these colours. And the silhouette of the mo’? This pretty kalidaar kurta or long jacket with a lehnga. Dainty, pretty and regal all rolled in one. Want!
||Manish played the ever devoted designer and showed off his ‘wears’.
Text: Malini Banerjee
Pictures by Rashbehari Das