An actor’s initial connect to the character is through a costume. A costume and a film is a collaborative process, hence a film can be read through the costumes. Costumes are also believed to enhance the performance of an actor. In fact, half of the task of an actor is taken care of, if the costume blends with the character. Consequently, a costume designer has a significant role in making an actor get into the character.
Designer Anju Modi, on two occasions has designed for period dramas- Goliyon ki Rasleela Ram- Leela and her latest venture, Bajirao Mastani. It is definitely a challenge for a designer to switch from couture shows to designing for a film. On the occasion of Blenders Pride Fashion Tour (Delhi) 2015 (BPFT), Anju Modi revealed the important aspects that should be kept in mind while designing for a film. She said, “I think I have to be true to the script, the demand of the character but reading the script is not enough. It is also about understanding the storyline and completely getting into the character of the person who you are designing for. I designed for three characters in the movie, which are Bajirao, Kashibai and Mastani. They all are three different personalities, very passionate and very beautiful, so it was definitely an uphill task to make those characters come alive through distinct costumes.”
Deepika, also described that how getting into a costume amplified her performance, “I think a large part of getting into the character or feeling the character comes from the clothes that one wears. So the minute you go on the set, like for example, that I go in the gym clothes in the morning, but the minute my hair is done, my makeup is done and my costumes come on, they are already half the part, so automatically your body language changes, the way you carry yourself changes. So that is why I said that half of the challenge is taken care of when you look the part.”
She also commented on the criticality of the costume in relation to the performance by citing the example of a costume gone wrong on the sets of Goliyon ki Rasleela Ram- Leela. “The earlier film that I did with Sanjay sir (Sanjay Leela Bhansali), we shot a song for three days and he realized that color of the outfit was not working and Anju was designing costumes for that as well. He could have just said that we carry on but he is such a perfectionist that the three days we shot, he cancelled all of it and overnight she (Anju Modi) had to remake the costume in a completely different color and then to reshoot everything we had shot, ” said Deepika.
The costumes in a film should especially be alluring enough to captivate the audience. The glimpse of the costumes looked very appropriate as Anju Modi showcased her elaborate looks and the costumes from Bajirao Mastani, with the leading lady, Deepika Padukone as the showstopper.