“Kangna’s Armour was hand-stitched by me”: Neeta Lulla
Kangna Ranaut starred historical drama Manikarnika has again hit the news for its larger than life costume designing by famous dress designer Neeta Lulla. Neeta is a familiar name in Bollywood when it comes to rare costume designing. She has worked previously with historical films like Devdas, Khuda Gawah, Jodha Akhbar and now designing costumes for the Manikarnika. Neeta feels that to make such film more realistic, the selection of costumes playa very important role. With her previous experience in such arena of work, she has played an integral part for the success of the film which is yet to come this 25th of January.
She spoke about her recent project: Manikarnika. “The story of Manikarnika is known to all of us through various texts and poems. The literature about her exudes power, strength and courage of a personality, who’s said to be one of the first freedom fighters of our country. The film has a beautiful script and I feel happy to be a part of it. The process of characterizations and their interpretation through various looks and costumes has been quite challenging.”
Neeta Lulla says, of all the historical films she has worked for, Manikarnika is the biggest project of her career. “It’s been a creatively satisfying project, in terms of the kind of visuals we’ve been able to create for the characters. Kangana has been able to carry off the character of Manikarnika beautifully. I feel that her own persona and personality exudes the kind of edginess required for the character of Rani Laxmibai. She has the same inner strength and perseverance to survive the odds and fight for what’s right. It’s been an absolute delight working with her on this project, where she’s the lead and the director, too.”
When asked how Neeta finalized on the charters of the movie and mainly the protagonist should look like to be in accordance with the real historical figures, she said, “We had some video footage, associated with the period, which helped us out. The internet threw up a lot of stuff, too. Our effort was to lay our hands on whatever source material we could. Conducting fabric and jewelry research was important, because using the right fabrics and set pieces makes all the difference in lending authenticity to a character. We used an amalgamation of Maharashtrian and modern Indian jewelry as Manikarnika was from Maharashtra and she married Gangadhar Rao, who hailed from central India.”
Neeta was amazed to collaborate with actor-director Kangna Ranaut and recollects her found memory regarding designing outfits for the entire team of the film, “Kangana was very trusting of my sensibilities and ability to design the right aesthetics. At one point, she did express concern about the color schemes being used for the character of Jhalkari Bai (played by Ankita Lokhande in the film) in a portion of the film. I was pretty amused and told her, ‘Kangana, you haven’t asked me a single question about your own clothes, but you’re more concerned about another character’. I guess, that was the concern of a director, wanting every little detail of her film to be precise.”
Neeta’s favorite creation in the entire film was the bridal costume designed for Kangana. She reveals, “Manikarnika’s wedding outfit turned out to be quite spectacular. It took me two days just to create the jewellery for this look.” She adds that thinking on your feet is of the essence for a costume designer. “Sometimes when you’re on set, you are asked to create a new costume from scratch in a span of three to four hours. Instances like these can be quite challenging, even for the most seasoned costume designer,” she agrees. The film is scheduled to hit the theaters on 25th of January 2019 and it’s able to make to the headline with every details of the film.