Obsessions can be of various textures. Qatar-based fashion designer Mohammed Sultan Sheikh’s is that of making expensive dresses for actress Aishwarya Rai. For his latest creation, the 28th one, he spent his life’s savings — Rs 37lakh to be precise — to make a train dress for the actress.
So what prompted him to design this dress? “Dejection and anger,” he says.
When the 39-year-old landed in India, and at Rai’s doorstep, earlier this year to tell her about his creations, her guards turned him away, threatening to brand him a “foreign spy” and throw him in prison. “Aishwarya says her fans are more important than anything else. Then why was I shooed away by her guards?” asks Sheikh, who is of Indian origin, in a telephonic interview from Doha.
Sheikh, who owns two boutiques in Qatar, tried to meet the actress for over a month, but in vain. “Everyday, I would land up at Aishwarya’s doorstep only to be turned away. I even sold my flat to make clothes for her. But she refused to meet me,” he rues.
Upset, he finally returned to Qatar.
But his attraction for Aishwarya scored over his anger, and he set about to create the Rs 37-lakh dress. “My only desire is to make her wear one of my dresses in a movie — the latest one if possible,” he says in a mixture of broken English and Hindi. And adds, “If she marries Abhishek Bachchan, then she could wear it for their reception. But I’ll need Amitji’s permission for that.”
|Will Aishwarya Rai wear this creation?|
Talking about the train dress that took six months to make, he says, “It is 25 m long and weighs 200 kg.” While this dress is made from 405 m of cloth, Sheikh has used close to 4,000 m of cloth to make 28 dresses for Rai in the last four years. He’s even made several attempts to find a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“I’ve been crazy about Aishwarya ever since I saw her in Taal, dancing to Kahin aag lagey. She’s the world’s most beautiful girl, like Princess Diana. She deserves to be in the Guinness Book, and that’s why I thought I’d make this one-of-a-kind dress for her.” An obsession that reflects on the burkhas at his boutique, with the actress’ eyes painted on them.
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