South star Rajinikanth’s film, Kochadaiyaan, is being touted as a magnum opus for many reasons. Along with a big budget and lavish sets, the movie also boasts of intricate and detailed costumes. Neeta Lulla, who has designed the outfits for the movie, says that she “created 150 costumes per character on paper”. “Finally, 20-25 were selected and then detailed for each character,” she says, adding, “Due to the intricacy, each embroidered pattern needed to be photographed and placed carefully.”
Here, she talks about the challenges her task posed.
What kind of research went into working on this project?
The costumes were first sketched (in colour) on paper, and then on a croqui that was created by Rajini sir’s technicians. We worked for eight months on the process of sketching, re-sketching and detailing. A lot of research went into achieving the right look — the apt colours, appropriate fabrics, dull lustre and embroidery details. We also studied the ornate jewellery, its use on the sketch and eventually how it would translate in person. The armour had a lot of detailing too.
How did you go about designing the costumes for each character?
For every look, we created a detailed overview of all the characterisations — not just of Rajini sir, but of the rest of the cast too. It was a different kind of design experience and a great learning one, since I had to study Indian mythology.
What was working with Rajinikanth like?
That was the highlight for me. When Dr Murli (Manohar; co-producer) approached me, I wasn’t aware of the technical format (of the film). Once I learned it, I was enamoured. This (working on this film) is a milestone in my career.