He has got the first Filmfare award ever given to a costume designer. He was there for the first shot of actresses making their debut, like Karisma Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Deepika Padukone, Preity Zinta, etc. He was a superstar after Rangeela for making Urmila Matondkar look like a perfect fantasy. He defines creativity as, ‘Nothing intellectual’. He will make you look different even in the basic blue denims and a white shirt because he is Manish Malhotra, a self-made man with a discerning eye who knows exactly how something should look, and won’t suffer fools who look otherwise. Manish is a clothing guru, a subdued personality, never flinching when it comes to speaking his mind even when the culture would not have found it appropriate. His outfits have expression, modesty, sex appeal and simplicity because that’s how Malhotra is in real life. So if you are forty plus and decide to go and buy a Manish Malhotra outfit, this is what happens. You then have an age you can deserve. UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent Devansh Patel met the man who doesn’t design clothes, but dreams…because he doesn’t do fashion, he is fashion.
The career of Fashion isn’t difficult. Initially, when we came into movies, there was payment problem and shooting delays. Designers back then didn’t ask for the script too. When we started out, we used to design outfits to hide their body flaws and that’s what a true designer is, one who can hide the negative and show the positive. I was really bad in my studies and the only thing I’ve loved in my life was films. And if you love something, you don’t feel the pain. I love my career and I don’t think it’s difficult or a pain. It has become a part of my life now.
I Hate LUV Storys is like my own film. I feel really close to it because when Punit had the germ of the story in place, I knew it would be a good product, a good film. I think he is a good director and in times, I’m sure he’ll turn out to be a great director. What I knew about Punit is the fact that he is very clear minded director, and that, in the industry are very few. The film is a rom-com and it sticks to that. Punit has assisted Karan for nearly ten years now and this was the right time for him to start off with his own film. I was the one who wanted Imran and Sonam to be paired in the film. Punit went to them and convinced them to act in the film and the rest is in front of you. I am not sympathising with Punit because I know that he has to work hard to pull it off.
Robot & Ra.One
There is only one song left to be shot for Robot and that’s it. As far as Ra.One is concerned; it is very different from Robot, even though both are sci-fi movies. In Robot, I’ve dressed up both Rajnikant and Aishwarya. She is seen wearing a saree, jeans, tribal outfit and ghaghra, etc. It was full paisa vasool (laughs). Whereas in Ra.One, I’ve only dressed up Kareena. I don’t find it difficult to dress up these actors be it any genre of film. It is challenging because it’s a different character each time. It’s more important to dress people up keeping in mind the time, the audience, etc. The challenge is to think what the younger mind would think and what people will go for.
She is Anil Kapoor‘s daughter. She is a fashion freak. She wears Stella McCartney, Balenciaga, Armani, etc. Her earlier films had her draped in Indian clothes. In I Hate LUV Storys, she plays an art director. My whole take on her was that all boys had to relate to her role. The feeling of ‘I want to take her out for coffee’ and ‘I want to date her’ should come from looking at Sonam. That’s what I did with her. It doesn’t happen right now with her because she is up there. I had to underplay her in this film. All this was exciting.
I have designed for Priyanka Chopra in Anjaana Anjaani. She is from New York and a lot of the film, almost the entire film, has been shot in winter. It’s a winter look but yet a girly look.
Film on Manish Malhotra
Not at all. People think that twenty years is a good enough time to make a film on Manish Malhotra, it’s not happening. There is so much more to do. As of now, I don’t have anything to say on this.
Manish Malhotra store in London
It’s not easy. As a designer, I’m creative. That’s the business aspect of me. For international labels, they have a huge company backing these designers. If I am asked to be a business man which is not my call, I will somehow shift focus from my designing. Till I don’t get a company who understands my business and in general, I will not open any retail outlet in the U.K. You never know what comes up. May be after this interview, someone might come up to me with an offer and a wine on the table (laughs).
Designer outfits are expensive, agree. Manish Malhotra outfits are evening wears and I don’t do pret. I do diffusion and couture. I sympathise with the people who want to buy a normal outfit which is affordable. I did start that a few years ago but it didn’t work because for that you need mass production and a huge set up. I am not saying that I am a brand which is easily available.