Chic Interview: Arjun Bhasin takes Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara on a fashion trip

For costume designer Arjun Bhasin,  Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) was perhaps a mammoth project. It’s a movie with five carefully-etched leads that demand diverse looks—clothes, accessories, the works. What’s more, the cast is fashionable and near the top of the Bollywood ladder—Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin.

Currently working on Life of Pi, Arjun Bhasin talks to Speaking Chic Costume designer Arjun Bhasin for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaraabout working with Farhan and Zoya Akhtar, and shares the various fashion stories playing in the movie.

You have worked on earlier movie projects with Farhan and Zoya Akhtar as well as the actors. How different was the experience with them this time?
For ZNMD, the entire setup was different—we were shooting in Spain, and working with a smaller crew. Hence a  lot of the work and styling was much more organic– we were all grabbing things and working at a completely difference pace. But Zoya and I know each other well and I know exactly what she wants. As for the lead actors, I’ve worked with three of them earlier [Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol], and I wanted to put new spins on them, especially Farhan and Hrithik.

The three male lead actors Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol are all stylish in their own way. Hrithik, for instance, is a style icon, How difficult was it for you to try something new with them?
Not at all. Actors like to change and try different things–hair style, clothes, looks etc. Also, I always let the script and characterisation dictate what an actor should wear. So if the same character would be played by another actor, I would keep the same clothes/ look.


ZNMD is your first movie project with Kalki Kechlin and Katrina Kaif. What are the distinct looks have you created for them?
Kalki Koechlin plays a spoilt rich girl who’s into high fashion. Kalki has such an amazing fashion body—she can carry off jumpsuits with heels, and short dresses. I wanted her to be a bit free, while being a bit overdressed. Her dressing is also a kind of tongue-in-cheek joke on fashion.

Katrina Kaif is an island girl and loves to mix and match. So she could combine a long dress from a street market with a blazer and boots, or carry off a sadhu necklace at a beach.

ZNMD actors- Hrithik Roshan, Farhan AKhtar, Abhay Deol

Which brands are the actors wearing in the movie? Being a stylish movie, which clothes and accessories should fashion lovers look out for (such as the Lady Dior in Aisha)?
The brands in the movie are chosen because they met our specific clothing and accessory needs.
For instance, Hrithik is wearing Tod’s and Bottega Veneta. He has an amazing look with lots of supershort cropped shirts, and especially when he lands at Barcelona airport—chambray shirt, trench coat and lace-up shoes.

Farhan’s character is a bit different, so he could be wearing Dior sunglasses and a kurta from Mumbai’s Managaldas market. Abhay (as Kabir) plays with colours so he’s got a lot of Paul Smith, which he pairs with slim pants from Etro.

Even though Kalki’s character Natasha is into high fashion, I’ve used a lot of high street wear and made it look like high fashion. Her clothes are from brands like Miss Sixty, and she’s wearing a Diesel jumpsuit. But her bag is from Tod’s, and you’ll also see her Hermes Kelly bag (which has a character of its own in the movie!).

Zindagi na milegi dobara poster

Which are your favourite looks from the movie?
I absolutely love Farhan and Katrina’s looks in the movie, since the are closest to my personal style, it’s kinda hippy. For example, Farhan wears kolhapuris with a suit!

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara releases July 15, 2011.

12 comments / Add your comment below

  1. good read…now will definitely se the movie, if not for anything..the styling!!!…
    p.s. i went to watch aisha too only for the fashion and styling….and the husband got royally bored and slept off in the middle of the movie, while i was busy watching the movie!!

  2. hi!! would like to know more about kalkis styling.. like the jacket worn by her it looks like a chanel, but m not sure..i seriously loved her dress sense in the movie..cheers to arjun bhasin u rock!!!!!!!!

    1. @Misha– Even I thought one of Kalki’s jackets seemed like a Chanel! From my conversation with Arjun Bhasin, Kalki’s mostly wearing high-street stuff styled to look like high-fashion/ designer wear. Like the jumpsuit she wears on her way to the airport in Spain is from Diesel.

  3. diesel!!! wow
    but thats looks very chanel.. u think its a combination of high end and high street considering the kelly was paired with the diesel..would really like to know more.. thanks..

  4. Hey I wanna ask Arjun Bhasin as such got to know he is a designer in ZNMD… My wife wants to wear one dress which is wear by Katrina in the movie that was WHITE ONE PEACE…so is that possible for u guys to give me any information abt that dress so i can buy for her…coz i wanna give her on her birthday..as she just told me…she likes that dress..

    1. @Rahul– You can try looking for that dress at brands and designers that specialise in gowns and dresses. Also visit department stores like Central/ Shoppers Stop– you might get such a dress at a bargain!

  5. hey it’s nice to know that we can source what katrina is wearing from central or shopper’s stop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!please tell about the pink dress and white jacket she wears when she comes to meet hrithik that was a lovely dress i go completely mad with dresses and dream about wearing such clothes please let me know where i can source that????please……..

  6. thank god for life of pi…benhur,elizabeth gandhi some of the movies arjun could have styled wonderfully not only a talented costume designer but a wonderful person too.

Leave a Reply to misha Cancel reply

Chic Interview: Arjun Bhasin takes Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara on a fashion trip

For costume designer Arjun Bhasin,  Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) was perhaps a mammoth project. It’s a movie with five carefully-etched leads that demand diverse looks—clothes, accessories, the works. What’s more, the cast is fashionable and near the top of the Bollywood ladder—Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin.

Currently working on Life of Pi, Arjun Bhasin talks to Speaking Chic Costume designer Arjun Bhasin for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaraabout working with Farhan and Zoya Akhtar, and shares the various fashion stories playing in the movie.

You have worked on earlier movie projects with Farhan and Zoya Akhtar as well as the actors. How different was the experience with them this time?
For ZNMD, the entire setup was different—we were shooting in Spain, and working with a smaller crew. Hence a  lot of the work and styling was much more organic– we were all grabbing things and working at a completely difference pace. But Zoya and I know each other well and I know exactly what she wants. As for the lead actors, I’ve worked with three of them earlier [Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol], and I wanted to put new spins on them, especially Farhan and Hrithik.

The three male lead actors Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol are all stylish in their own way. Hrithik, for instance, is a style icon, How difficult was it for you to try something new with them?
Not at all. Actors like to change and try different things–hair style, clothes, looks etc. Also, I always let the script and characterisation dictate what an actor should wear. So if the same character would be played by another actor, I would keep the same clothes/ look.


ZNMD is your first movie project with Kalki Kechlin and Katrina Kaif. What are the distinct looks have you created for them?
Kalki Koechlin plays a spoilt rich girl who’s into high fashion. Kalki has such an amazing fashion body—she can carry off jumpsuits with heels, and short dresses. I wanted her to be a bit free, while being a bit overdressed. Her dressing is also a kind of tongue-in-cheek joke on fashion.

Katrina Kaif is an island girl and loves to mix and match. So she could combine a long dress from a street market with a blazer and boots, or carry off a sadhu necklace at a beach.

ZNMD actors- Hrithik Roshan, Farhan AKhtar, Abhay Deol

Which brands are the actors wearing in the movie? Being a stylish movie, which clothes and accessories should fashion lovers look out for (such as the Lady Dior in Aisha)?
The brands in the movie are chosen because they met our specific clothing and accessory needs.
For instance, Hrithik is wearing Tod’s and Bottega Veneta. He has an amazing look with lots of supershort cropped shirts, and especially when he lands at Barcelona airport—chambray shirt, trench coat and lace-up shoes.

Farhan’s character is a bit different, so he could be wearing Dior sunglasses and a kurta from Mumbai’s Managaldas market. Abhay (as Kabir) plays with colours so he’s got a lot of Paul Smith, which he pairs with slim pants from Etro.

Even though Kalki’s character Natasha is into high fashion, I’ve used a lot of high street wear and made it look like high fashion. Her clothes are from brands like Miss Sixty, and she’s wearing a Diesel jumpsuit. But her bag is from Tod’s, and you’ll also see her Hermes Kelly bag (which has a character of its own in the movie!).

Zindagi na milegi dobara poster

Which are your favourite looks from the movie?
I absolutely love Farhan and Katrina’s looks in the movie, since the are closest to my personal style, it’s kinda hippy. For example, Farhan wears kolhapuris with a suit!

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara releases July 15, 2011.

12 comments / Add your comment below

  1. good read…now will definitely se the movie, if not for anything..the styling!!!…
    p.s. i went to watch aisha too only for the fashion and styling….and the husband got royally bored and slept off in the middle of the movie, while i was busy watching the movie!!

  2. hi!! would like to know more about kalkis styling.. like the jacket worn by her it looks like a chanel, but m not sure..i seriously loved her dress sense in the movie..cheers to arjun bhasin u rock!!!!!!!!

    1. @Misha– Even I thought one of Kalki’s jackets seemed like a Chanel! From my conversation with Arjun Bhasin, Kalki’s mostly wearing high-street stuff styled to look like high-fashion/ designer wear. Like the jumpsuit she wears on her way to the airport in Spain is from Diesel.

  3. diesel!!! wow
    but thats looks very chanel.. u think its a combination of high end and high street considering the kelly was paired with the diesel..would really like to know more.. thanks..

  4. Hey I wanna ask Arjun Bhasin as such got to know he is a designer in ZNMD… My wife wants to wear one dress which is wear by Katrina in the movie that was WHITE ONE PEACE…so is that possible for u guys to give me any information abt that dress so i can buy for her…coz i wanna give her on her birthday..as she just told me…she likes that dress..

    1. @Rahul– You can try looking for that dress at brands and designers that specialise in gowns and dresses. Also visit department stores like Central/ Shoppers Stop– you might get such a dress at a bargain!

  5. hey it’s nice to know that we can source what katrina is wearing from central or shopper’s stop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!please tell about the pink dress and white jacket she wears when she comes to meet hrithik that was a lovely dress i go completely mad with dresses and dream about wearing such clothes please let me know where i can source that????please……..

  6. thank god for life of pi…benhur,elizabeth gandhi some of the movies arjun could have styled wonderfully not only a talented costume designer but a wonderful person too.

Leave a Reply to misha Cancel reply