If you’ve seen Amitabh Bachchan in the promos of the upcoming movie Bbuddah… hoga terra baap, you’ve seen his brand-new look: bold, striking, even quirky. There are bright colours, eye-catching prints and funky accessories (think green glares and yellow scarf).
Leepakshi Ellawadi, a sub-30 Mumbai-based fashion designer is behind the much-talked-about look. Her creativity has come full circle since her days in NIFT Bangalore, where she won the Best Design Collection award for her Hindi film-inspired collection (starring mostly Amitabh Bachchan).
As costume stylist for Big B in Bbuddah…, Leepakshi has come a very long way in a very short time. In an interview with Speaking Chic, Leepakshi narrates the story behind the fashion and costumes of Mr Bachchan in the movie.
Understanding Amitabh Bachchan’s character
The director Puri Jagannadh didn’t tell me the kind of look he wanted for the movie’s lead character. All I got were some CDs with his dialogues and character sketch. Mr Bachchan’s character is an ex-gangster in India for a mission. He’s sarcastic, outlandish and likes to be the centre of attention. Most importantly, he doesn’t believe he’s old, and doesn’t like being called “Bbuddah”.
Peeking into Amitabh Bachchan’s wardrobe
The first-look trial with Mr Bachchan went well. I discovered that he’s experimental and open to new ideas, and was surprised with the range of garments and accessories in his wardrobe. I absolutely loved his pair of tiger-print jeans which is nothing less than a work of art.
Mr Bachchan and I sat together to discuss every scene of Bbuddah… hoga terra baap. As we evolved the looks, I realised that I needed to strike a balance between the character’s flamboyance and the essence of the scene.
So even though I’ve experimented with colours and prints, I used mix and match, pairing the brights with more subdued tones. We needed to make sure everything’s in sync and nothing clashes. Even the inner linings of jackets are reds and greens. We teamed prints with contrasting shirts. For example, I’ve used a bright turquoise and shirt with a black body.
Shopping with Mr Bachchan
Mr Bachchan and I went shopping for the movie in London for 10 days, my look sheets in hand. He helped me a lot, telling me what he liked, even as people asked him for autographs and pictures.
We shopped at Harrod’s, Armani, Burberry, Tom Ford, Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, Gucci and Etro.
About the famous glares—several of them are Mr Bachchan’s personal collection, handmade and handcrafted, and cost around Rs 15-20 lakh each. [Speaking Chic note: OMG, really?] I also used my personal collection of Pucci and Etro scarves that I’ve garnered over the years. and Mr Bachchan’s personal collection of watches in the movie.
Print-on-print is bang on trend right now, and Mr Bachchan wanted me to make some such pieces. I had some fabric from Chennai lying with me, so I made a piece for him. (He’s wearing that piece in Rang barse in the movie.) The prints are mostly florals and paisleys and “engineered” prints.
The Big B experience
It has been an amazing experience working with Amitabh Bachchan—like living a dream. Early on in the shoot, when I’d knot Mr Bachchan’s scarf, my hands would shake. One day he grabbed my hand and asked why they shook. “It’s you!” I replied.
Thanks to Amitabh Bachchan for being so patient and stylish—he’s anyway so stylish, he made my job a cakewalk!
Bbuddah… hoga terra baap releases July 1, 2011.