Masaba Gupta on India’s obsession with Bollywood costumes

  • Masaba Gupta, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jan 14, 2016 17:52 IST
Gupta is a leading fashion designer (Photo: Colston Julian)

I realised this when, recently, I was given a frantic call by a few cousins to find a way to contact Anju Modi (one of India’s best couturiers) who has designed the breathtaking costumes for Bajirao Mastani and Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela. The call was to find out how they can buy Mastani’s sublime, Mughal-esque wardrobe from the film, for a wedding. Interestingly and/or predictably, the whole range was made available on a leading e-commerce site, days after the movie released.

I find this torrid love affair between Indian cinema and fashion intriguing. It’s been around since brand collaborations in movies weren’t even a thing. Clearly, there are two things that impact India —Bollywood and cricket. Designers and artists have caught on to the need of the masses and the classes alike, who like to dress like their favorite star. Similarly, directors have caught on to the need to develop and design a ‘look’ for their characters. Be it Sabyasachi, who created an understated-yet-ornate, bohemian look for Aishwarya Rai Bacchan’s character in Guzaarish, or most recently, Katrina Kaif flaunting her flaming red hair for her portrayal of Firdaus in Fitoor. Everything is done to ‘lift’ a character; the attention to detail is not just limited to a garment but to the entire look.

And, let’s not forget the popular TV soaps on the small screen, where you wonder how the quintessential bahu goes to bed in all her finery — earrings et all. Perhaps it appeals to producers who want to cash in on a segment of a society where women are still expected to have their jewellery and sindoor intact at all times. It is a reflection of a culture so rooted in the interiors of India that people in metros may not necessarily be exposed to it.

Anju Modi designed the breathtaking costumes for Bajirao Mastani

These days, designers and retailers know how to marry people’s aspirations and expectations with their works. They know what their customers want to wear, and also how deep they can dig into their pockets. Often, designers tweak, twist and offer styles — without compromising on the aesthetic value and the overall appeal of the look — that retailers then sell at attractive prices.

Additionally, an artist’s universe is no longer limited to what he is known for. For instance, Karan Johar can do a best-selling jewellery line, Manish Arora can create a line of cutlery, Virat Kohli can design a prêt clothing line and Sabyasachi, without shaking his forte of old-world charm, can create an India-proud range of wallpapers for your home. The minute you do something out of your sphere, the more you collaborate and recreate, the more you are in people’s heads. Collaboration is creative celebration, and growth means being loyal to the box society has created for you, yet jumping out of it every now and then.

Alia Bhatt for Jabong is a good place to start for pret wear at affordable prices. (Photo: Prodip Guha )

5 tips to dress like your favourite star

- Be true to your intrinsic self. Find your inherent style. You can dress like your favorite star, but always understand your body first.

- If cute and laid-back styles are your thing, then Alia Bhatt for Jabong is a good place to start for pret wear at affordable prices.

- If you’re a fitness freak and desire a body like Hrithik Roshan, you can check out HRX on Myntra, a line by the actor himself.

- Manish Malhotra is arguably the top choice for creating special looks for leading actors in films, and a lot of them are extensions of the signature looks that he offers at his label.

- Lastly, the most stylish sisters in town (Rhea and Sonam Kapoor) will be coming out with their line Rheson for Shoppers Stop soon, and that’s where I am going to be shopping from.

Gupta is a leading fashion designer. She tweets as @MasabaG

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