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'There was a tussle between a gown and sari for Desi Girl'
April 02, 2009 13:18 IST
He's styled some of the most gorgeous women on screen, and after his work with IPL's Kolkata Knight Riders [Images], is experimenting with track pants as evening-wear.
Malhotra tells Archana Jahagirdar that the credit for the idea of those unusual colours must go to the Knight Rider team owner and film star Shah Rukh Khan [Images].
By this time, I have polished off some yummy cashew nuts, kimchi salad and other nibbles that the restaurant thoughtfully provides. Malhotra's lithe, well-worked-out frame belies that statement and during the course of the lunch it becomes clear that a combination of careful eating and serious gym time has helped Malhotra keep himself trim even though he is now 40-plus.
We get the business of ordering food -- he is a happy non-vegetarian and I, a committed vegetarian -- out of the way and start talking.
Says Malhotra, "We have a new look for the Knight Riders kit for IPL-2 and we will be unveiling it soon. When Shah Rukh came to me, he clearly wanted black and gold. Black was to signify power and gold for glamour. Gold hadn't been done before for cricket. It really worked."
This year, Reebok is likely to have Knight Rider jerseys for women too, he says.
Says Malhotra, as he tries some of the starters -- black mushrooms in rice pancake, saut�ed vegetable salt and pepper and some steamed chicken wontons -- before carefully removing the outer layer of the dim sums, "My entire show is based on the Knight Riders. I want sporty wear to become acceptable as evening wear. My people already wear a Juicy Couture track pant for lunching with friends, this collection wants people to take that forward."
Being born in a middle-class Punjabi family, convincing them of a career in fashion for Hindi cinema seemed suicidal. Says Malhotra, "I started my career as a costume designer and at that time, it was looked down upon. In 1990, it wasn't easy for a man to become a designer. When my parents would voice their concern, I would tell them that I am also doing some modelling and that I would get by. They would say hero ban ja."
Says Malhotra of that magical time, "It was exciting to work with Ram Gopal Varma [Images]. Urmila, Ramu and I worked very hard at that time." Malhotra says, sipping on some excellent Chinese green tea, that they were all young then and the energy and the willingness to try something new and daring was what made Rangeela such a landmark film from a style perspective.
Rangeela's release was followed by Raja Hindustani in the same year and, once again, Malhotra scored with the look he created for Karisma Kapoor. Gone were her thick eyebrows and boring curls and a new sleeker, more contemporary look was introduced. After these two big films, there has been no looking back for Malhotra.
Dil to Pagal Hai, another blockbuster hit happened a couple of years later. If Bollywood has been won over by Malhotra, he has been able to spin his magic down south too. The styling for Rajnikanth-starrer Sivaji was also done by Malhotra.
With success comes problems. Each time any of the films, that Malhotra has designed and styled for becomes a hit, he is inundated by clients who want him to copy that look for them. But Malhotra rarely obliges. He says, "As a creative person, it is very boring to keep repeating one's own work. What I do for my retail clients is very different from what you see in films." However, the popularity of the grey-silver sari in Dostana has compelled him to sell some variants of that in his store.
He says, "I was the first to do it. Now everyone is doing it." But the front row at a Manish Malhotra show is still packed by Bollywood A-listers.
Bill paid, Malhotra is off to put finishing touches to his show, slated for the day after we meet and his parting shot to me is: "I have wheels on my feet. I am quite suited for films."Powered by