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Opulence a new draw on television

The telly takes a cue off Bollywood in dressing up their stars lavishly, writes Abrity Basu.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 15:16 IST

Opulent costume dramas where the cost of clothes runs into crores are nothing new in Bollywood.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas, which was worth Rs 50 crore, had the cost of one of Madhuri Dixit’s outfits alone at Rs 16 lakh.

More recently, Akbar Khan’s Taj Mahal spent an estimated Rs 1 crore out of its Rs 75 crore budget on costumes.

Now, the small screen, too, is dressing up lavishly with Star Plus’ new serial, Dharti Ka Veer - Prithviraj Chauhan.

A still from Prithviraj Chauhan

The cost of outfits of the lead pair, essayed by Angad Bedi and Parivah, came to around Rs 12 to 15 lakh.

The costumes for the other important characters cost around Rs 50,000 each. Besides this, there were the attires for the rest of the cast that had to be taken care of.

Such opulence is unheard of in the small screen industry. “This project is no less than any film.

If the costumes aren’t proof enough of this then just consider the sets: Around Rs 4.5 crore was spent for only one of the palaces,” says Nisha Sagar, who has designed the clothes.

A Mumbai-based designer of nine years, Nisha was approached by her son Shakti to weave her magic for the family project (Prithviraj Chauhan comes from Sagar Arts).

According to her, the huge budget is entirely justified: “The extravagance of the royal Rajputs cannot be brought out through anything mediocre. The clothes had to be according to the scale of the story.”

"While the tailoring took about a month’s work, a total of six months of research went behind getting everything organised."

“It was very tricky. There was nothing about the costumes of the Rajputs in history books".

"All the references pointed towards the Mughal era,” says Nisha, and continues, “That’s when we decided to actually go to Jaipur and use the Rajasthani motifs that were there.”

The next challenge came in trying to give each of the characters a different look.

“I tried to bring out the difference by using different fabrics. Brocade, georgette and tissue, among other fabrics has been used,” she says of the costumes, many of which weighed more than 10 kg.

First Published: May 18, 2006 14:27 IST