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Sunday, September 25 2022

Costumes sets tone of the film; gaining importance in Indian cinema: Designer Anju Modi

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New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS): Her first stint as a costume designer in Bollywood film “Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela” has made veteran designer Anju Modi realise that filmmakers are now more than ever focussing on getting the right look for their characters to add authenticity to their final product.

“Costumes are an important part of the narrative to set the tone of the film. I feel with such varied stories being told on the silver screen and with increasing authenticity, more and more emphasis is being given to costumes,” Modi told IANS in an interview.

“Costumes for any movie are very important. They help create and enhance characters,” added the designer, who has a rich experience of over two decades in the world of fashion.

For “Ram-Leela”, Modi created rustic Gujarat-inspired looks for Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra.

Her creativity was appreciated and she won trophies at the 20th Annual Screen Awards and the 9th Star Guild Awards for her costume designing in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali magnum opus.

“The character of Leela (played by Deepika) was explained in detail to me. She was to be portrayed as a young girl who is vivacious, beautiful, sensuous and headstrong, and this insight helped me bring out the nuances of the character,” Modi said.

As a designer, Modi has always enjoyed working with traditional Indian techniques and “Ram-Leela” gave her the same experience.

“‘Ram-Leela’ was my first movie and the adulation I have received for it has only added to this enriching experience. As a designer, I have always enjoyed working with traditional Indian techniques and ‘Ram-Leela’ allowed me to be true to my aesthetic and research even further on the traditions and costumes of Gujarat,” she said.

Modi has been an integral part of the Indian fashion industry since she launched her label in 1990. Having been one of the founder members of the Fashion Design Council of India, she has been a quiet yet strong force behind the growth and awareness about fashion in India.

Behind the scenes, Modi has been tirelessly working with master artisans across the country. She has delicately revived age-old Indian techniques. She has created an extensive library in areas like weaving, vegetable dyeing, block printing and old traditional embroidery.

Each of her collections explores modern designs while drawing a new story from the rich traditional vocabulary of Indian design and craft.

Even Bollywood’s dancing diva Madhuri Dixit walked in one of Modi’s bespoke creations for one of her shows during a fashion week.

Modi believes that Bollywood fashion continues to inspire movie buffs for everyday style, adding: “Indian audiences have matured enough to know what works for them and what doesn’t and they no longer blindly follow the trends set by films.”

“In fact, I feel it is a hallmark of admiration for the costume designer if someone wears any of the looks from a movie. I have been flooded with orders from around the world, with women wanting the essence of ‘Ram-Leela’ captured in intrinsically in their outfits,” she added.

(Nivedita can be contacted at

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