He seldom sneaks out of his shell. The last time he was in the news, he was accused of stealing a design for a Rani Mukherji's ‘bubbly' costume in Bunty Aur Babli. Now he's in the news again.. for another Yash Raj movie - Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, but for the right reasons.
Here's Aki Narula's frankspeak over nimbu pani:
Can we start off with Jhoom Barabar Jhoom?
I haven't done anything like it before. Thought, hard work and experimentation went into creating the look for all the characters. I guess you won't be able to decide who's looking the hottest.
Usually successful mainstream designers don't like to design for films. When I was in college, I would help to style my mother. I also had a strong inclination towards Hindi cinema because of my father.
He conditioned my interest in the movies because he had a library and every record of every film of the 1950s and '60s.
How do you balance your work between mainstream and film fashion?
One has to to switch off for a bit, before starting the next. It's not just that the sensibilities are different; the mediums are poles apart. In fashion you're your own boss.
You can choose the trend you want to, to whom you want to sell your garments to, and in which part of the globe. When it comes to films, it's the script that's the most important element. The director is king, the future of the film depends on his vision.
What's your take on other designers moving towards films?
Some designers are doing a good job. Here, you'll survive only if you have something different to offer. Films are very time consuming, one has to be prepared for crazy schedules.
A designer has to be present 24/7 with the unit. If one can strike a balance, then films are a great medium to showcase your talent.
What do you think of the tag - 'Bollywood designer'?
I don't bother about that at all. Sometimes when I go to Delhi, I do face remarks about being a 'Bollywood designer'. That's fine by me, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.
I love doing what I do and the kind of films I'm doing.
You did Don with Shah Rukh Khan.. till date there are comparisons between Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh's look. How can there be no comparison?
The two Dons are very different. The original Don was cutting edge. Mr Bachchan was superbly styled. And it was remade again with Shah Rukh, who's equally a big style icon.
Most of your films have been with Abhishek Bachchan.. his style of dressing has changed tremendously.. Oh yes, Abhishek and I have done three films together (Bunty Aur Babli, Bluffmaster and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom).
He's always open to ideas. He has his style, he doesn't try to be someone else. He's a good listener and knows how a designer thinks.
Why haven't you participated in the Mumbai Fashion Week?
You're now settled in Mumbai..youhavestrongerconnections here. My manufacturing units are in Delhi. I live in Mumbai, but work as much from Delhi as I do from here. I do the Delhi Fashion Week because of the Council. I feel it's important to be with FDCI.
How are things between designer Suneet Verma and you over the Bunty Aur Babli issue?
I really can't talk about that now because the matter is in court.. I don't wish to pass any comment on the issue.