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“Big names are not holding back new talent”

Priyanjali Lahiri has carefully woven together her dream of becoming a costume designer. Lahiri first graduated from National Institute of Fashion Technology before she moved to Mumbai to stitch her dream into reality.

Initial Days

When I came to Mumbai, I started by assisting Anaita Shroff Adjania. I worked with her for five years and learnt everything I needed to know about styling. I worked with her in Dhoom, Dhoom 2, Drona and Billu. After that, I started doing ads and then I became an independent stylist.

First Project

My first solo project was Taare Zameen Par directed by Aamir Khan. And who doesn’t want to work with Aamir Khan? But other than Aamir’s name, it was the script and the concept of the film that enticed me. The story was very appealing. Although there aren’t any fancy clothes in films like this, dressing up everyday, normal characters is also a challenge.

Turning Point

I would say Wake Up Sid was the turning point of my career. That film gave me my space to work creatively. It was a youth film, about a boy next door in today’s times. Still, we kept it simple. Ranbir Kapoor’s T-Shirts became a superhit and that’s what costume designers want… they want their work to be appreciated by the audience.

Films

There is a perception that only big budget films have great clothes or high drama films have sexy clothes. But the fact is, every director comes with their unique vision of how they see the film. As designers, we are only tools to help them achieve that. If costumes can enhance the depiction, the stylist’s jobs is done. It’s all part of being in tune with the demands of the film.

On Nautanki Saala!

Nautanki Saala! needed different kind of clothing as it was set in the world of stage drama. So we took special care while designing the looks of the characters. We had to design the film’s characters as well as their respective characters on stage.

New Designers

I firmly believe that if you have talent, you will be noticed by the industry. Our films are very stylised and many filmmakers place a lot of importance on the looks of their stars since the audience follows them. Designers like Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi have stood out in their collections and have helped actors make their own personal style statements.

Like Malhotra has paved the way for film stylists and has carved a niche with Indian styling that very few can come close to.

Sabyasachi, in one swift move, has shown us how tradition and ethnic influences can create beautiful costumes. So unless a new designer makes iconic changes in film styling, we will keep hearing about legends like Malhotra and Sabyasachi. Big names are not holding back new talent.

Future Project

My next project is Sonali Cable.

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