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 about 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.
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!).
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.