Rohit Bal chat
Among the best in the country, designer Rohit Bal often gets known more for his media savvy image than his talent. His designs are as funky as his hair style. He designed his first outfit, a pair of Corduroy bell bottoms with tussles, when barely 12! Read transcript of a chat with 'India's master of fabric and fantasy'india Updated: Feb 11, 2003 11:46 IST
Nima: How has been the response to your pret-line "Balance"?
Rohit Bal: Great! We are going to turn it into a nationwide label by opening flagship stores in all the metros. And also by opening a shop within a shop in many more cities. The product is going to be available to as many people as possible. The response has been fantastic and that's why we are doing it.
Manjari: Which all celebrities wear your clothes?
Rohit Bal: LOL! All the important ones.
Sanjay Dhall: Dear Rohit, Hi!! Here is Sanjay Dhall, your classmate. You may not remember me as you have now become a celebrity. I really & whole-heartedly appreciate your great achievements. Since long I keep on telling my family about our school days. By the way, we were together from class 5 to class 8 in Champion School, Bhopal, if you remember, along with Anand Deshpande & others. These days for last 10 years I am at Muscat, Oman happily married with 2 kids (sons) after doing my Civil Engineering from REC Tricy in Tamil Nadu. Bye for now. I will feel very happy if you get in touch taking out time from your busy schedules.
Rohit Bal: I never studied in Champion School, Bhopal. You must be mistaken. I remember Sanjay Dhall was in class with me but in Srinagar, in Berne Hall. That's very nice that you will like to be in touch. Please send in your email.
Rahulkohli: When is your latest Designer Show coming in Delhi?
Rohit Bal: My next show in Delhi will be at the end of March.
Rahulkohli: How do you do the Model hunt for your shows?
Rohit Bal: I don't really model-hunt. But in case anyone who has not yet been discovered but has the talent to become a model, we can help them by putting them on the ramp show. It's basically asked. Normally it's done through other models. Models who know other models or models who know people who want to model. They introduce them to us and then we do an audition with the choreographer. And we see if they are good enough to walk the ramp or good enough for shooting.
Shovana: Why were many designers missing from LIFW 2002? How was your personal experience?
Rohit Bal: Actually we had more designers this year than last year. So there were no designers missing. There were two or three designers that didn't take part. That does not mean that there were lesser designers. The number of designers is growing steadily and we are trying to control the numbers itself. We cannot have a certain number doing every week. The few that were missing, among them either they had a previous engagement or they were traveling outside the country. It's been a pretty steady growth.
Jasmine: You have been behind the hottest stars in Bollywood. Both Arjun Rampal and Bipasha Basu got film offers after being in your shows. Do you consider yourself to be the star-maker?
Rohit Bal: LOL! I consider myself to be THE STAR.
Kajal: How was it to work with Pamela Anderson?
Rohit Bal: BOUNCY!
Karan: What do you do with PETA?
Rohit Bal: With PETA? Well, I try my best to be involved with animals. I try to, in whatever way I can, create awareness amongst people about unethical treatment towards animals. I work a lot, not only with PETA, but also with Menaka Gandhi. I am basically an animal lover. I don't like to use leather which is made from cows that are slaughtered in India. Because of the bad way, because of the most INHUMANE way that the cows are slaughtered in India for the leather. That is what I basically most against - cow slaughter in India for their leather. I don't have anything against non-vegetarians or anyone who eats animals and who is not a vegetarian - that is their own lookout. I believe that to kill animals in an inhuman way just to cover yourself, whereas you can actually have a substitute, is a barbaric practice.
Bittoo: Rohit, what kind of clothes, you like to design the most?
Rohit Bal: Bittoo, I like to design sexy clothes.
Sonia: Are you a cricket buff?
Rohit Bal: To be very honest, not. I definitely don't have the patience to watch 5-day matches. That's out of the question. I don't mind watching a one-day international, if I start watching the match from the beginning. I can't suddenly put on the TV and start watching the match from the middle. I can only enjoy a match if the Indian team is involved. I can't enjoy a match between Australia and West Indies, that's for sure! But yes, I feel very patriotic when the Indians are playing. And I love seeing the whole match than a part of it. And if I have to choose, I will like to see a nail-biting finish. That, to me, is the most exciting part.
Rashmi: Who are your favorite male and female models?
Rohit Bal: My favorite male models are John Abraham. I think John has become an actor now but as far as I am concerned, he's a model. My favorites are John, Arjun and Adi. The favorite female models would be Ujjwala, Sheetal and Sapna.
Ayushi: Is creativity an inborn quality? What are the aspects that make a fashion designer?
Rohit Bal: Creativity, I suppose, to a certain extent lies in the genetic structure of a human being. You are definitely born with some sort of a creative genius. I also believe that most people can develop their creativity, those who have necessarily not been born with them. People who are born with them have an added advantage. About the second part (what are the aspects that make a fashion designer) - I think a combination of everything. Most important being talent. The second most important being the ability to convert the talent into something what we call today - a fashion statement or a saleable commodity. The ability to execute what is on your mind. The most important thing that constitutes the really good fashion designers today is the kind of talent that you have to become that designer. Even if you believe that press and a lot of hype makes you famous and makes you an important designer, if you don't have a product to back you, eventually the bubble will burst.
Sheena: Rohit, did you ever think about modelling? I think you would make a great model.
Rohit Bal: LOL! That's very sweet of you! No I haven't thought of modelling. I would have definitely thought of modelling if I was taller. I am not tall enough to be a model that's why I never really thought of it. But I did model quite a bit but never on the ramp. But I did a bit of modelling yeah, for this, for this; a lot of designers wanted me to sort of model for them. I never thought of it. I am not tall enough. I am only five feet and a half so that's too short to be a model. That's it! If I were, I would have been the BEST! :)
Varsha: What is IN for this weather?
Rohit Bal: Ooooooh! Warm hugs and cozy corners. That's the right thing it seems for this weather. It's the weather for love!
Reena: What brought you to designing?
Rohit Bal: I think - uncontrollable passion towards fashion and design. Uncontrollable fondness for clothes - that's what brought me to designing.
Jagajit: Why are most fashion designers aloof from the media? Why don't you start a show where you talk about fashion trends?
Rohit Bal: I think most fashion designers are NOT aloof from the media. I think media and fashion designers have a very strong give and take relationship. It seems that either cannot do without the other. And the reason that has made fashion designers in India careful about the media is that the media has not been very kind to the fashion designers off-late. The media is not very kind to Indian designers. I would love to start a show and talk about fashion designing as a whole and on the whole. Somebody needs to come to with a project that is exciting enough. If somebody gets back to me then I will be more than happy!
Rohit: In the film industry who is the best-dressed actor & whose actor design you want to do?
Rohit Bal: I think Arjun. Again my opinion will seem biased here but I think Arjun is the best. I will like to design for Arjun and I will like to design for John. I think John is amazing as well.
Designer: What makes you such a special designer compared to others?
Rohit Bal: I don't know! I don't know! Am I a special designer? I can't say anything about myself being a special designer but in case somebody feels that then: a) I thank you very much, b) I believe in myself, I believe in my convictions and I am confident of what I do. I suppose, that if at all I am in anyway special is that I believe in my convictions.
Ramesh: Apart from you, and Ritu Beri, most Indian designers have hardly made a mark abroad. What's the secret for your international success?
Rohit Bal: Our pretty good looks! LOL! I am just joking! I think maybe we just symbolize what fashion designers should be. You know what I am trying to say?
Goat: How did you get your petname, Gudda? Has it something to do with mannequins?
Rohit Bal: I really don't know and I am just sort of - wondering why! I think after I have seen some photographs of mine when I was a baby, I really did look like a cute little doll. So, I suppose.. That's where Gudda comes from. Maybe because I looked like a little doll that's why. I definitely don't think so it has anything to do with mannequins!
Kajal: Did you get any acting offers? When are you planning to take them up?
Rohit Bal: Yeah! Yeah Yeah! Yes, I was just given one nice role to play in a new film that is just going to be released. But I couldn't do it because it was a negative role. I considered doing it but I realized that it wouldn't be good for my image. I have acted in few films. In some, I have done just like a cameo role, just an appearance. I know that one day I will act in a film and I am looking forward that day. I know that I will do something because love acting, I love the films and I love Bollywood.
Bobby: Which celebrity will you like to design for?
Rohit Bal: Hmm hmm, let's see! Whom should I say? Nicole Kidman! I would love to dress-up Nicole Kidman. I think she's HOT!
Sana: How necessary is it to hold a fashion designing degree for a designer?
Rohit Bal: Not necessary! I don't hold any!
RahulKohli: Gudda, might be you forgot me despite that you have met me a lot of times. Can you tell me what do you see in a guy before you take him in your Fashion Show?
Rohit Bal: He has to have a good body and he has to have a great attitude. That's it! Good body, great attitude - these two things make a good model. Looks are not that important. For pret looks are important but for a show - looks and your body language.
Smita: Which one will you rate as your most memorable shows and why?
Rohit Bal: As far as I am concerned, each show that I do for me - each one is more memorable than the other one. Each one is as close to me. I feel as important towards each one. It's as if asking a parent which child of yours is like what. That kind of a situation. They are all your shows and you love them as much. As far as I am concerned, the most significant show for me has been the first one because that's where it all started.
Yana: Which is the colour of this season?
Rohit Bal: Red!
Tanya: How is Rohit Bal as a person?
Rohit Bal: Very friendly, very easy and very loyal!
Salma: You are such an awesome designer. I have seen some of your works and they are out of this world. Still sometimes there are some mean articles about you in the Indian media. Why so?
Rohit Bal: Thank you so much! That's because I don't really care about them much. I don't suck up to them. That's all. Journalists expect designers to suck up to them. I don't do that. If I don't do that people want to be mean to me. The only way they can be mean to me is by writing mean things about me. In any case it would be terribly boring if people wrote just good things about you. You need some masala also.
Jyoti: Will you be coming up with a new masterpiece soon?
Rohit Bal: I hope so! That's what I want to achieve and make happen.
First Published: Feb 10, 2003 11:33 IST