Venturing into new territory

CREATIVE MIND

As first look of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s RamLeela flash, Deepika Padukone looks exquisite in her rustic, ethnic avatar and Priyanka Chopra is definitely an ‘unconventional’ item girl. Metrolife speaks to the Delhi-designer Anju Modi – the brain behind dressing up these leading ladies.

“When I got a call from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s office in Feb-March saying that they are planning a movie and want me to design the costumes I got very excited,” shares Anju who was struck by the filmmaker’s humility.

“He is a very down-to-earth person and had done research on my work. He could see the reflection of his requirement in my work. He chose me after seeing my work,” says the designer who was reportedly not the first choice. Sanjay shares a comfort level with Sabyasachi Mukherjee, but the latter reportedly fell ill around that time, Anju was asked to step in.

“But there was very little time and I said that if I am doing the film then I’ll do only lead actors,” informs Anju saying that by the time she was finalised in July, they wanted her to design for all the characters. “But I could not commit for something that I would not be able to do justice to.”

However, “Sanjay managed a lot of things on his own. He had a huge tailoring unit on his set. He involves the designer in the filmmaking and gives full importance to costume,” says Anju adding that she along with Sanjay explored Gujarat’s villages to get that perfect rugged look.

“We researched costumes that villagers wear, specially in Rabari tribes. There is rawness in the culture of this desert land. Aishwarya could afford to look like a Maharani in Devdas but Deepika’s character was created as a young innocent girl with raw appeal. So, I avoided giving bling. Zari, zardozi or gotta were out, as they would have given her a royal look. We decided to go with delicately detailed thread and mirror work of Gujarat.”

Priyanka, on the contrary, is dressed in white. “She is like a mujare wali but her song has a bit of spiritual meaning. So we did not give her red and black and instead went for white as hardly any item girl has donned this colour. Her garment has a bit of a mirror work with striped Khadi print and little birds,” says the designer who was given complete freedom on her debut film.

“Sanjay doesn’t believe in small, controlled measures so I could give as much ghera and embroidery. But one has to be true to the script since a character is a part of it. Even a simple saree draped simply requires aesthetics. Costumes should do justice to the character, since the latter are ultimately telling a story,” says the designer who is now a part of the film fraternity, “I will be happy to do more films,” she wraps up with a smile.

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