Fashion designer Manish Malhotra has been working as a costume designer in Bollywood for over two decades. And when he hits the 25-year milestone in a couple of years, an event that will also coincide with the 10-year-anniversary of his label, Malhotra plans to release a book, documenting his journey. I want it to have all the films Im working on now, and not just the movies that came out ages ago, says the designer, who is currently juggling time between Karan Johars Student Of The Year, Yash Chopras directorial comeback, Madhur Bhandarkars Heroine and actor Karisma Kapoors Dangerous Ishq.
Walking down memory lane, Malhotra recalls his first big break in the movies, which involved creating looks for Urmila Matondkar in Rangeela (1995). Ram Gopal Verma narrated the entire story to me, which was a first for any costume designer. We decided to introduce minimalism by taking away the big earrings and using only one colour on the clothes, he says, adding that a news channel back then had done a story on how Matondkars dresses could be found in every city street stall almost immediately after the films release.
Meanwhile, his muse Kareena Kapoor has given him plenty of hit wardrobe looks. The most recent one being Bodyguard (2011). Since she was from a small town in Punjab, she couldnt be seen in short skirts and dresses. So the challenge was to create an ethnic wardrobe that was still modern.
We gave her headbands with kurtas, mismatching ensembles and lots of oxidised jewellery. The proof of the looks success was in the selling. The Bodyguard line that I designed was sold out immediately, Malhotra says: I didnt even have a garment left to display in my store.
Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), had foreign designer labels brought into mainstream cinema. Karisma had really worked hard on her body. The look of the film was sporty, and we bought her these sexy catsuits from DKNY, he says, adding, The trend continued with Kajol in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). We used just the tops, and stitched trackpants in Bombay to fit her well.