She is one of the most sought after designers in the industry. Having been in the business for nearly 20 years, she has worked with some of the biggest of names in filmdom and dressed celebrities the world over. She has just completed designing clothes for the whole cast of the mammoth venture, Jodhaa Akbar. Neeta Lulla talks to HT City about the film, the actors and more.
Considering that Jodhaa Akbar is a magnum opus, how did you prepare for it?
The director of the film, Ashutosh Gowarikar, had decided on the looks of the actors. When I came on board, I was given a detailed briefing. I studied the references in hand such as paintings and theory.
We looked for every clue in and around Jaipur. Each character shown in the film, be it the lead cast or the supporting actors, had to look authentic to that period.
How much time did this take?
Six months in all.
<b1>Real jewellery and armour has been used as part of the costumes…
Ashutosh is extremely organised and everything was taken care of beautifully. There were lots of real ornaments to handle but from the security personnel to the crew members, everyone knew their job well. We had a lot of manpower and each person had different roles to fulfil. As such, we had people to handle the turbans, armour, and other things. It was tedious but not tough.
You have done period films such as Devdas, Kisna and Khuda Gawah. What do you find most challenging in them?
The most challenging thing is that you get to work on many different looks and explore many different stories. There is no comparison between the period films I’ve worked on because every project had its own flavour. India being so multi faceted, the diversity brings out your creative best. Recreating a particular era is the biggest challenge, but you get to learn and grow so much. It’s fun.
Considering that you design nearly all of Aishwarya Rai’s clothes in films and even made her wedding outfits, what was it like working with her on Jodhaa Akbar?
Aishwarya always likes to get into the skin of the character. So, it’s like dealing with different people in the separate projects. She thinks the way the character would. We share a great comfort level. Together we came up with what would suit Jodhaa best.
This is the first time you have worked with Hrithik Roshan. How was it?
It was fantastic. He is extremely meticulous and hard working. He knows his body structure really well so it’s great for a designer to discuss technical details with him.
<b2>What about Gowarikar?
He is outstanding, one of the best director’s I have worked with in the two decades that I have been in the industry. He’s very organised and makes things simple for the crew and cast. Jodhaa Akbar has come together really well and Ashutosh made the whole task of producing a period film seem so easy that I could work on 20 Jodhaa Akbars.
Tell us a little bit about the projects that you have in hand…
I’m working on two films this year, but cannot talk about them at the moment.
What about the creations for your personal collections?
I am working on them right now, for several shows and fashion weeks, so lot is happening creatively.
What kind of work are you looking forward to?
Work that pushes me and makes me do a lot of research and brainstorming. Every artist I work with gives me something unique so I look forward to working with more people and with new ideas.