‘Audience judgement is unpredictable’

Fashion designer Neetu Bharadwaj says one can’t tell which movie will start trends

Neetu Bharadwaj started experimenting with her outfits even before she hit teenage, making her something of a fashion icon in her neighbourhood. Inspired by the textile and clothing industry, which her father was a part of, Neetu went on to do fashion designing.

After winning many fashion shows, she kickstarted her career in 2010 with the movie ‘Right Ya Wrong’. She quit the industry for a few years in between but came back with the movie ‘Yeh Toh Too Much Ho Gaya’, followed by ‘Dream catcher’, ‘Section 375’ and now ‘Ezra’, starring Emraan Hashmi, Nikita Datta and Imaad Shah.

Neetu, who calls herself a strong believer in the power of hard work, spoke to Metrolife about her profession and the challenges one faces there.

What is the process of designing clothes for a movie like?

We need to understand the characters and their lifestyle. Then we imagine the character in his/her total attire and make some sketches or references for the people concerned to see and approve. Once we get a yes, we get look tests done to see if the outfit is up to the mark. The remaining work is somewhat easier. It’s not easy; every outfit you see on the big screen is the hard work of many people.

Some things a fashion designer should always keep in mind?

We have to remember even the tiniest detail of the character; for a stylist, everything from the makeup and hair to the outfit and even the backdrop is important. The costume must justify whatever characteristics the character has and should also look realistic.

Also, it’s very important that stylists pay attention to how the audience reacts to the outfits.

Out of all your projects, which is the one closest to your heart?

You enjoy everything about your work if you love what you are doing. I have had great fun working in all my projects but if I had to pick a favourite, it will be the movie ‘Section 375’, starring Akshaye Khanna and Richa Chadha. 

The story and the concept was realistic and the direction was impeccable, so we faced a lot of challenges while getting the outfits right. But challenges are my favourite part of any project.

According to you, which are the most fashionable Indian movies; ones which set trends for years?

Surprisingly, I feel that movies which set trends in terms of outfits were hardly fashionable. The audience’s judgement is unpredictable. For example, movies like ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ and ‘Hum Aapke Hai Kaun’ were quite traditional but yet were talked about for the costumes they showed. 

There have been a few, like Zeenat Aman’s movies in the 70s and the more recent ‘Cocktail’, which could be called very stylish and fashionable. Every movie has a vibe of its own.

A challenge that fashion designers face?

I have no connections or godfather in the industry so it was very difficult for me to reach this level. I faced many hardships and I guess it’s the same for people like me. I have learnt that patience is key and with experience, one will learn how to deal with all this. 

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