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'Shah Rukh, Sridevi best dressed stars'

Fashion designer Manish Malhotra talks about his clientele, Indian fashion and his favourites.
None | By Indo-Asian News Service, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 30, 2006 10:17 PM IST

Former diva Sridevi and reigning king Shah Rukh Khan are Bollywood's best-dressed personalities, says fashion designer Manish Malhotra.

The man, who has evolved from being a mere Bollywood dresser to full time fashion designer and now budding movie director, says the two stars can give quite a few lessons on how to dress.

"Sridevi is my favourite actress in terms of dressing sense. I started my work with her, learnt so much from her. Apart from being one of the finest actresses, I think she has a lot of knowledge about costumes," Malhotra told IANS on the sidelines of the ongoing Lakme fashion week.

"Among men I think it is Shah Rukh Khan. He can carry out anything," said the designer who pulled a coup of sorts at the fashion week when he had Kajol and Preity Zinta walking the ramp on his show earlier this week.

It was a first for Preity and a feather in the cap for Malhotra, who rarely participates in big fashion events like the fashion week but stole all the attention with his autumn/winter collection titled "Freedom" which he describes as "luxe diffusion".

His new collection for both men and women is inspired from the soul liberating philosophy of Sufism.

Malhotra is of the view that Indian fashion is set to go places.

"Indian fashion is completely moving on. We are soon going to be up there. What we need is funding, a lot of manpower," he said.

"It all started with the kitsch look of Indian designs when the outside world stuck on to ganpatis, agarbattis, skirts and mirror work. India will be number one five years and if not at least in the top five."

Malhotra, who has also clothed pop star Michael Jackson, moved into mainstream designing only in 1998 and has marched forth with characteristic brilliance.

He is a proclaimed favourite of actresses like Karisma and Kareena Kapoor,Preity, Urmila Matondkar and Kajol as well as top actors like Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgan. The elite client list also includes the likes of Parmeshwar Godrej, Sheetal Mafatlal, Tina Ambani and Avanti Birla.

When asked whether his frequent shifting of careers was a sign of him easily getting bored, Malhotra said: "No. In fact if I was bored I would simply leave one and start off another."

"But here I am still doing everything that I did in the past. I am actually loving it," said the stylist who fashioned Urmila Matondkar's famous look in "Rangeela" as well as designed clothes for blockbusters like "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge" and "Main Hoon Na", besides of course all of Karan Johar's films, including "Kal Ho Na Ho" and "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham".

Up next is the yet to be released "Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna" starring Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Priety Zinta, Rani Mukerji, Kiron Kher and Arjun Rampal.

Commenting on his attempt to venture into filmmaking, Malhotra said: "A designer is a creative person. I feel I can do more. So why should I not?

"The film was in the script stage when I had a little trouble as the whole cast was going haywire. So I thought I should do something totally different and in short think of a totally different script.

"I have not thought of anything including cast or plot. The script is still under construction so I had rather not talk about it."

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