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Making Priyanka Chopra look wow in Zanjeer

By Subhash K Jha
March 08, 2013 14:11 IST
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Pria Kataria PuriIf Priyanka Chopra looks stunning in her forthcoming film Zanjeer, she can thank designer Pria Kataria Puri, who shuttles between Kuwait, where her husband works, and San Francisco, where her daughter studies.

Pria’s heart, however, is very 'Hindustani'.

"I  love Hindi films and I love the way the heroines dress up, though very often I’ve felt they don’t dress in character. But I can’t sleep without watching a Bollywood film every night,” Pria says.

So what has kept this 'filmi' designer away from Bollywood so far? “I've always insisted on a bound script, which I never got. Zanjeer is the first film I’ve said yes to. One of the reasons is that director Apoorva Lakhia is a friend.

"The other reason is Priyanka Chopra, who according to me, is the most international actress from Bollywood. She can carry off any look. She understands clothes. And she knows so much about fabric! I was amazed by her knowledge and her ability to put forward her thoughts on how her character must dress. We were instantly on the same page when we met,” Pria adds.

Priyanka had flown in from the US and Pria had flown in from Kuwait the same morning, for their first meeting together. "So Priyanka was more jetlagged than me," Pria says. "Yet, she was all there. She is a very focused and hard-working actress.

"Because I got the script earlier, I got to know Priyanka’s character Mala thoroughly before I decided on her look. Like Mala, I am an NRI working out of a foreign country, so I instinctively understand the clothes Priyanka should wear. I often see actresses looking wow in their clothes but they don’t seem to be dressed in character.”

Priyanka ChopraExplaining the two distinct looks that Priyanka would sport, Pria says, “In the first-half of Zanjeer -- when she’s abroad -- Priyanka will be dressed as a woman entrepreneur. In today’s times, a working-woman from India doesn’t stand out in the airport. She looks like any chic well-dressed woman from any part of the world.

"Later when Priyanka’s character comes to India, she gets more colourful in her sartorial expression. You would notice that even when an Indian girl in India dresses in western clothes, there is a dash of Indianness in her clothes. She may wear shorts, but it would be orange in colour."

Pria sees a great challenge ahead. “I’ve never done a Bollywood film before but I know I’ve chosen the right project to start with. Priyanka is the coolest most cosmopolitan actress in Bollywood today.”

Priya has been present during the shoots, including the Hyderabad schedule.

“I am not leaving anything to chance, or to my assistants. I like to choose all the fabrics colours and designs personally,” says Pria.

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Subhash K Jha in Mumbai