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11 Dec 2023, Edition - 3072, Monday

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“Arjun was a treat to work with”

Indrani Thakurata


Posters for the new film ‘Daddy’ starring Arjun Rampal and Farhan Akhtar are out. And we can’t stop raving about Arjun Rampal’s look. He looks completely transformed and in character. We speak to the costume designer duo–Divya and Nidhi Gambhir–to know more about his look, the movie, their work and the stories that hooked them.

What was the initial brief and how was it working with Arjun Rampal?

The initial brief that came from our director Ashim Ahluwalia was that the costumes should tell the audience what era we are in and that we have to make real costumes of that time, no over the top period fashion. Arjun was a treat to work with. All he wanted was to look the part with complete authenticity. And we were totally in sync to get the look right.

Would the audience get to see something completely new? Did you meet the real life character before designing?

Absolutely, for people who are looking for some detailed work in terms of real costumes in a period film, it will be totally true to era.
Oh yeah, we met Arun Gawli, and a lot of other people who were part of the different gangs. People from those times to know their stories and to find references from their pictures and from their lives in general.

What were the challenges?

A lot. First to get the right references, we sourced pictures from people around of the same stratum as of these gangs, wedding albums, family albums to see how people were really dressed in Bombay in those times. The next was to get those prints right. We couldn’t find much which was readily available. So we went ahead and made fabrics. We can totally take out full collection derived from what we designed for daddy. The most challenging was ageing, we had to age clothes for days to make those look worn and real.

Daddy is based on a gangster and the time period spans from the 70s to 2012…What did you keep in mind while designing?

The authenticity of each period. We didn’t want to take cinematic liberty and do just whatever. We stuck to the realism of each decade, although it looked fairly simple initially, but every decade had too many details and patterns that we adapted.

Could you share some insights and interesting stories from the movie

There were many stories, back stories to each character, how gang wars used to happen and how these gangs used to make random calls for extortions, the stories were both interesting and really disturbing.

And who would you love to design for in Bollywood and Hollywood? Why?

Bollywood – Ranveer Singh for his experimental instincts and fab way of carrying any look.
Hollywood – Mathew McConaughey for he invariably changes his appearances to fit into his characters. And there is a lot to play around with his changing looks.

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