'Rajnikanth is a challenge to dress up'
Manish Malhotra has draped some of the most beautiful women in the film industry over the years, and entirely changed the way they looked.
Like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Action Replayy.
The actress looks wow in her retro getup, in bright skirts and polka dots.
Manish Malhotra tells Ufaque Paiker how he dresses up his women and which actors he finds most challenging to design for.
Image: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Action Replayy
'I was very influenced by the 1970s style'
Was it challenging to come up with a retro look in Action Replayy?
I was very influenced by the 1970s style. I have to thank my mother for the encouragement; she always encouraged me in whatever I did.
I had a passion for cinema. Whenever I had a holiday from school on Thursday or a half day on Saturday, I would watch two films in a single day. I was very much into Hindi films. I would watch films repeatedly too.
When I joined the industry, my entire work in the 1990s was hugely inspired by the 1970s look -- (I would use colours like) baby pink, peach and off white.
Farah Khan wanted me to work in Om Shanti Om because I knew 70s style so well. The same is the case with Action Replayy. So getting the 70s look here was fun.
Image: Deepika Padukone in Om Shanti Om
'What suits Aishwarya may not suit Priyanka Chopra'
Does the actor's own style matter when you design a look?
Personality does matter. That will decide whether the look will suit you or not. What suits Aishwarya may not suit Priyanka Chopra. What suits Kareena Kapoor may not suit another actor. The body type and structure also matters.
Are trends like side locks, floral prints and hair bands back?
I don't know whether that style is back or not. Fashion is a circle. I wouldn't say that the style is back but the influences keep coming back.
For the young generation, I would say the 70s style would be an inspiring look. It was revolutionary and hip. It will keep coming back in new forms.
Image: Priyanka Chopra in Dostana
'Zeenat Aman and Mumtaz are my fashion icon of the 70s'
Who is your fashion icon of the 70s?
Zeenat Aman and Mumtaz are my favourites.
Sporting a different look in each film must be challenging for an actor as well.
I always try to give new aspects to every film. In Jab We Met, Kareena had a lot of influence from North India - she wore phulkari Punjabi embroidery and embodied shawls.
In Dostana, Priyanka's character worked for a fashion magazine, so her look was what a hip girl would wear in a beachy place like Miami.
In Golmaal 3, Kareena's character lives in Goa. So I have given her a lot of patialas and salwars. So in every film, I try to give a look in my own way.
Stars are mostly comfortable about sporting different looks. But sometimes you can get bound by a character -- it's not about what you want to look like, the character you are playing matters.
Image: Kareena in Golmaal 3
'It was challenging to dress up Michael Jackson'
You have designed for most of the Bollywood actresses. Who's your favourite?
Sridevi. I had worked with her at the beginning of my career. She is a big star; I have learnt a lot from her.
Which actors have been the most challenging to dress up?
Kajol and Rajnikanth. Aishwarya's Robot costumes were challenging. It was also challenging to dress up Michael Jackson.
How was your experience of dressing up Rajnikant?
Rajnikant is a wonderful man. I worked with him in Sivaji. He is incredible. One should learn from him -- after achieving so much of success and money, he is so grounded.
Image: Rajnikanth in Sivaji