Bong girl's Bajirao connect

Reason for that bear hug from Sanjay Leela Bhansali? Maxima Basu tells us 

  • Published 19.12.15
There is a comfort that he shares with me.... He trusts me that I will be able to deliver on a scale he wants — Maxima on Bhansali

She started out as an assistant director to Danny Boyle in Slumdog Millionaire, but with the success of Ram-Leela, Maxima Basu, the Bengali girl from Delhi who dressed the flamboyant Ram played by Ranveer Singh in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali 2013 blockbuster, seems to have found her true calling. Costume designing. 

The current film on the CV of the girl named after Maxim Gorky? Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani that hit screens on Friday. “It is a huge project. I did the design layout for the whole film and coordinated the colour palette,” said Maxima, who has put together the looks for the cast, except for the three leads — Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra. 

“There were two other people —Ajay and Chandrakant — who have made costumes for the junior artistes and the army cast. We couldn’t buy anything. Everything needed to be made. I had to coordinate and had to make sure everything was in place. We worked on multiple sets simultaneously. It was crazy! Mahesh Manjrekar plays Shahu Maharaj, Shivaji’s descendant. We made him wear only white. For Milind Soman, Mr Bhansali wanted perfectly structured outfits that would bring out the grace in him. I dressed up the Peshwa Brahmin women. He also wanted the Nizams to be OTT as hell because they were the richest people during that time. I had to use pearls, which were of a certain colour at that time,” said Maxima. 

This is her second project with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, a man she considers her mentor. “There is a comfort that he shares with me. His few words are enough for me to understand what he wants. I enjoy working for him. I know him for four years now. He trusts me that I will be able to deliver on a scale he wants. If Bajirao Mastani was a Hollywood film, the budget would have been four times more. I find myself very lucky to be able to work on a project that has been on his mind for so many years,” said Maxima.

For her, the mission of a costume designer is to support the director’s vision. “It’s not just about making somebody look beautiful,” said Maxima who has also worked on costumes and casting in Peepli (Live), an Aamir Khan Productions film. “From one perfectionist to another”, from Bhansali to Aamir Khan’s Dangal that’s keeping her busy at the moment. “It is all about extreme detailing of the story and the realistic accuracy of certain situations. It is fantastic to work with the team,” she said. 

2016 will also see Bank Chor hit the screens. In the Yash Raj Films production, Maxima has designed for the whole cast. “Riteish Deshmukh plays a common man based in Mumbai who is struck by a series of misfortunes. My brief was to make him look endearing and Rhea Chakraborty hot!” she signed off. 

t2 says all the best! 

Ratnalekha Mazumdar