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The Himmatwala look

Stylist Navin Shetty on steering clear of spoofing Jeetendra’s Himmatwala that releases today…

What are your memories from the original Himmatwala (1983; starring Jeetendra)?

See, it was a very popular film when I was a kid. I have watched it a lot of times and was enamoured by Sridevi (smiles), like a lot of people were at that time. When Ajay Sir (Devgn) told me that I have to do his costumes for the film, I was very excited because to create that era is always very challenging. It was fun.

Can you decode Ajay Devgn’s look for us?

We have given him a raw, rugged look because that’s his personality. Lots of denims and corduroys…. We have used the (famous) white shoes, the digital watch but all that he would be comfortable in. People have been playing around with retro. Till now, it has been a lot of ’70s with bell-bottoms. Now, we are slowly getting into the ’80s. The fashion right now is (very) ’80s… slim pants, coloured pants, fitted shirts. Ajay Devgn wanted the same shoes that Michael J. Fox wore in Back to the Future… from Nike. We haven’t exactly copied Jeetuji (Jeetendra) from Himmatwala. We have taken inspiration from a lot of heroes in the ’80s like Vinod Khanna, Feroz Khan, Jackie Shroff and Jeetuji at some point. So, we have blended everything to suit Ajay Sir’s personality in the ’80s. If Ajay Sir was in the ’80s, how he would dress up…. We did not want to make it a spoof.

So how many times does he wear white shoes and pants?

No white pants! It’s not that he wasn’t comfortable in white pants, but we didn’t want to spoof it. I think he has worn the white shoes a couple of times. In Taki taki, you will get to see him in white shoes.

How was it styling the famous matka song (Naino mein sapna)?

We went wild with that... all the wild stuff of the ’80s. If you pick up any of the ’80s songs with say a Rishi Kapoor in it, you will see, they all used to be in jackets. We have used those sorts of jackets.

And any inputs from the original Himmatwala Jeetendra?

No, nothing. We consciously did not want to go there. We made sure that we blend different styles into Ajay Sir’s persona and I am glad that it has worked. In fact, we have used a jacket like the one that (Sylvester) Stallone has used in First Blood. We have given him that kind of a look also.

What are your favourites from the film?

The Stallone jacket. The Naino mein sapna song... and couple of shirts that I have given him.

What are your all-time favourite retro looks from Bollywood?

The denim-on-denim look from Sholay. And the best thing about the ’80s was Don Johnson in Miami Vice.