Ram Leela – Costume Speaks Louder Than Script

Celluloid is not just for entertainment alone, more often it is exemplary of art. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movies have the signature larger-than-life feel- be it the set, plot or costumes. Ram Leela set against the backdrop of Kutch, has Deepika wearing the traditional ghagra with contemporary elements to it. Designed by Anju Modi, the costumes have been crafted from months of hard work and right-sided thinking. And even though, the movie itself wasn’t able to hold our fascination but it was worthwhile- just how you go to a museum to look at art.

Deepika Padukone

We discuss direction, action, music, cinematography but how often do we actually go to a movie hall just to look at the costumes? The making of the outfits involved a lot of inspiration-based research. They travelled all the way to Bhuj as well as the Calico Museum in Ahmadabad, drawing inspiration from the immense culture. This aspect of movie making definitely deserves more applaud than it is being given, especially for films with extra ordinary outfits.

Deepika Padukone

Fashion reflects an era, a time. A series of traditional kutch outfits with strictly ethnic detailing, this movie has exhibited Deepika Padukone carrying off with elegance pieces of art.  However, time-honoured pieces they may be, one always have to add a touch of contemporary times to them. Anju agrees, “It is very important to add contemporary elements, one has to keep evolving, even while sticking to traditions. Contemporary is my creative process, which is influenced by thoughts of a new era- it can be related to anything. Contemporary is how we are advancing, evolving. You may be in India, Europe or Brazil, the significance of contemporary elements remains the same- it is today’s interpretation of things that have existed since yesterday.”

The clothes shown in the movies are more often metaphors of characters and situations.  Anju agrees, “Priyanka’s and Deepika’s look have been kept very different. Deepika’s look is that of an innocent, village girl, who is strong yet fun and happy-which reflected very well through her clothes. Priyanka on the other hand is shown singing praises about the love between Ram and Leela- it had to look more sufi-like,” explained Anju Modi. She adds, “However, it was challenging to do Priyanka’s outfit because it had to look lungi-like and not a ghagra, without making it look sloppy. It had to look sexy and show off her curves, yet be comfortable enough to allow the dance movements in the song.”

Priyanka Chopra

After creating a visually extravagant series of designs, we are hoping we get to witness more of Anju’s work on the silver screen. “It has been a hectic one year. I always thought Bollywood is more demanding. But when I got such an opportunity to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who is a creative visionary, I was nothing but excited. If I get such an opportunity again where there is scope for research and creativity, I would love to do it,” said Anju Modi, giving us hope to see her work on screen again.

 Have you watched Ram Leela yet? FMW did, only for the gorgeous outfits! xx

By: Akanksha Narang