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Mark of Manish

On 3 films for Yashji

I had the good fortune and privilege of working on three films directed by Yashji. I loved the lavishness of his films, the beauty, the grand locales, the luxury hotels… he really showed the good life. Even the atmosphere in his house was so nice, everyone would always like to hang around there...

My first film with him was Dil To Pagal Hai. Raja Hindustani had just happened and initially I was supposed to do only Karisma’s (Kapoor) clothes. Madhuri (Dixit) tried some 50-odd garments and Yashji wasn’t happy so he asked her if she would try some of my clothes. The rest is history! Karisma’s look was more trendy and cool and Madhuri was more sensual. The chiffons, the pastels, the sheer flowy kurtas became such a rage.

The second film with Yashji was Veer Zaara. I remember he showed me some old photographs of Pakistani girls for reference. Preity’s engagement outfit was actually inspired by someone’s gharara. For Rani’s look we researched intensely on how lawyers dress. It was amazing to dress Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Rani and Preity for this film. Yashji was always so involved in the costumes. He loved the discussions, the clothes, the process of fittings….

The third is Jab Tak Hai Jaan, my first film with Katrina Kaif though I often dress her off-screen and have done two of her songs (Teri ore and Chikni chameli).... Adi (Aditya Chopra) wanted the film to have a real look. Katrina plays a rich girl from London so her sense of style is not quirky, it’s classy yet contemporary. She wears a lot of long dresses from Burberry. In the song Saans, Shah Rukh and Katrina’s romance really blossoms, hence the girlie, short dresses, sequins and so much colour.

Anushka Sharma works for Discovery Channel where she interacts with a host of army people. Her look is very safari-inspired, it’s laid-back and easy. She wears these men’s cargos that we fitted for her, with vests, singlets and scarves. I was very keen she wears shorts and Yashji liked that idea.

There was a song to be shot in Switzerland but that didn’t happen. We were discussing the saris for the song and Yashji told me to keep it simple. He didn’t like too much embroidery. He said: “I hate gimmicks. Make it simple.”

In March, I backed out of Lakme Fashion Week because we were shooting in London and Yashji didn’t want me to leave. Looking back, I’m glad I did because if I would have left him then, I would feel very guilty today.

his Fave Yash Chopra films:

  • Kabhi Kabhie
  • Waqt Trishul
  • Chandni
  • Lamhe
  • Ittefaq
  • Daag

On Bebo begum

Bebo made the coolest bride ever. She was never hyper or ‘OMG what’s happening!’ Saif and Kareena got married the way they wanted to and only amongst the people they wanted around. Bebo was clear that she would only wear the jewellery she has and nothing borrowed. All her clothes had an old-world charm. For the cake cutting, the vows and portrait shots, she wore her mother-in-law’s vintage outfit and later changed into a burgundy gharara (in picture). She went with the customs, yet in her own contemporary style. Worldwide, I received huge reactions on all her outfits... her champagne lehnga and sexy choli for the Sangeet, the green and red suit for the registration, salmon sari for the sit-down dinner or the pink gharara for the Dawat-e-walima in Delhi. Everyone stopped me to compliment her outfit that day but the best came from Saif’s relative from Pakistan who said this was the most beautiful gharara she had ever seen!

On Student Of The Year

The response has been overwhelming.... It was so much fun working on this film, it had such young energy. It’s funny that everyone seems to think Siddharth Malhotra is my nephew but it’s

actually Varun Dhawan who is my first cousin’s son! Both the boys were assisting Karan (Johar) on My Name Is Khan. Initially I was only doing Alia Bhatt’s costumes plus the Indian clothes for the boys. In my mind her character was very Alice + Olivia, typical girlie girl. We shopped for her in New York, came back and started the film with the Radha song. Suddenly Karan asked if I could dress the boys as well! It was so last minute. With only Alia’s homework done, I plunged right in for all three! Karan of course said that he wouldn’t go full on with the costumes but I should have known better than to believe him! The boys wore so many of my personal clothes in the film — jackets, sweaters, my LV bag, even the trench coat and muffler that Varun wears in the last scene is mine! The Vele song went from the planned four changes to 10! Ishq wala love was shot while I was in London for Jab Tak…. Karan and I went to and fro on BBM for me to check the final looks!

Coming up

“There’s Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani with Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, and Sonakshi Sinha in Dabangg 2. There’s a fashion show in Mumbai on November 9 to mark the launch of the latest BMW and we are also working on Kareena’s item song for Dabangg 2. And of course there’s a lot more of Calcutta coming up!”

“This year has been so great so far… From doing a grand show at Delhi Couture Week to dressing Kareena for a character as layered and intense as Heroine to a high-school film like SOTY and the star-studded Mijwan shows to dressing Bebo as a bride. And, of course, launching myself in Calcutta at 85 Lansdowne!”

Text: Shradha Agarwal