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‘‘We put a lot more thought into our work today’’

Box Office India speaks to costume designer Komal Shahani, whose film BOSS is about to release


My brother is also a fashion designer and I have been inclined towards fashion since I was a child. When I was studying fashion designing, I received an offer to work with a boutique. It added a practical aspect to my course.

First Project

I was doing a lot of ad films and photo-shoots after I shot with Preity Zinta, who let me work on some portions of Koi Mil Gaya. That was my first project. Then, I designed clothes for the film Dor directed by Nagesh Kukunoor. That film got me much appreciation.

Turning Point

The turning point of my career came with Khiladi 786. I had been in the industry for a few years already but was doing mainly ad films. Khiladi 786 opened doors for me and I designed the costumes for the entire film. Since the script demanded a colourful character, I made Akshay Kumar wear very bright clothes. His character was very rangeen. There was a lot of positive feedback for Asin’s clothes too. Akshay looks good in anything he wears. He just needs to feel comfortable.

On Boss

After Khiladi 786, Akshay asked me to design the clothes for BOSS too. When I attended the brief, director Anthony D’Souza told me to design clothes for Akshay in a way that he was never seen before. He plays a don, which is a character that frequently features in films. So I kept it very colourful and designed a ring that would make it unique. He plays a don from North India, so I designed kurtas with jackets.

Changing Industry

The industry has become very structured. While earlier we were once briefed half a day before the shoot began, we are now briefed well in advance. So even costume designers can put a lot of thought into their work and experiment.

South Calling

I do very select films in Bollywood and I have started doing a lot of South films. I design costumes for South superstar Vijay when I worked with him in Thupakki. In the South, they leave the entire decision to us. The Tamil industry is as big as Bollywood and they spend a lot on costumes. While the Tamil industry is classy, the Telugu industry is more massy. I am currently working on a film called Jilla, once again with Vijay.

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