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How Rangeela influenced Bollywood fashion

By Komal Panchamatia and Shubha Dubey
September 11, 2020 19:24 IST
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The popularity of the fashion trends the movie established saw the Filmfare awards introduce a new category for costume design, Manish Malhotra being the first recipient.

Manish Malhotra feels that if there was one movie that has influenced styling in Bollywood, it would be Rangeela.

The designer is happy that the outfits he created for Urmila Matondkar continue to be popular even after 25 years.

"The film's success and the popularity of Urmila's look really stamped the fact in giving credence to styling in movies. Directors then started allocating decent budgets on the styling and understood its importance in the whole narration of the script," Manish tells PTI.

"After Rangeela, styling saw a great impetus in contemporary films and I'm happy to have started this trend," Manisha adds.

From its story, music to its costumes, Rangeela is considered a game-changer for realistically portraying the conflicts of an aspiration and confident middle class woman.

"A film is the vision of the director and it was also all of us coming together. Ram Gopal Varma, who is a visionary director and Urmila, who was willing to work hard and bring change for herself and me who also wanted to fulfill that vision, so it was a coming together of strong creative forces," recalls the designer.

Malhotra, who started his career as a model, made a switch to costume styling in the early 1990s.

Prior to his work on Rangeela, he had styled for Waqt Hamara Hai, Gumrah and Yeh Dillagi.

The designer says it was during 1993's Telugu thriller Govinda Govinda when Varma first noticed his designs for Sridevi and reached out to him for Rangeela.

The 53-year-old couturier said he went to Hyderabad to meet Varma and was completely "blown away" to have a film-maker narrating him the complete subject.

"I remember what he narrated was exactly what he made and Urmila also worked really hard during the fittings, discussions and the entire process. We all worked with our heart and soul which made it really special," Manish adds.

The success of the film and the popularity of the fashion trends the movie established saw the Filmfare awards introduce a new category for costume design, Manish Malhotra being the first recipient.

The movie was a career-changing experience for many bigwigs of the Indian film industry.

It strengthened Matondkar's position as a versatile performer, revamped Aamir Khan's image, gave a new direction to Jackie Shroff's career and marked music composer A R Rahman's debut in Hindi movies.

The soundtrack of the movie is as iconic as the film itself and is still considered as one of the best works of the Oscar-winning maestro.

But what added on to the beauty of the songs was Malhotra's modern and minimal clothing -- be it the chiffon sarees in Hai Rama, the tangerine skater dress in Tanha Tanha, pleated skirts and boyfriend shorts in Rangeela Re or the Chaplinesque look in Kya Kare Kya Na Kare.

"What really came from Rangeela was more minimal but impactful clothing. The audience saw a lot of smart casual, which was very trendsetting at that time and it introduced that much-needed realness to the dressing with a dose of glamour to it," says Manish, adding both Varma and Matondkar were patient with him and shared interesting inputs.

For Manish Malhotra, who this year completed 30 years in costume design and is also celebrating 15 years of his eponymous label, working on one of the most fashionable Hindi movies was a magical experience where everybody aimed to achieve a "larger goal".

"It was the coming together of a team which was charged with enthusiasm and passion... Everyone at that point, worked unanimously towards a larger goal -- the movie."

"I would say, it was my hard work and sheer involvement that helped create that magic people remember today."


Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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Komal Panchamatia and Shubha Dubey
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