Thursday, February 25, 2010

Clothes maketh the film

Bhanu Athaiya, Hindi cinema's costume designer for more than 50 years, condenses her work into one volume

After Bhanu Athaiya won the Oscar for Best Costume Design for Richard Attenborough's Gandhi in 1983, Phyllis Dalton, the costume designer for Dr. Zhivago, met her and said, “Out there in L.A. the producers think that India comes all readymade. All you need to do is come here with a camera and go out and shoot. All thanks to you.” A compliment pointing to the fact that sometimes blending into a story is more difficult than standing out.

A five-decade-long career in costume designing is a no mean feat. To stay on top of the game throughout and create clothes that became the defining sample of each era of Hindi cinema — from the days of Nadira in Shri 420, Vyjayanthimala in Sangam and Amrapali and Waheeda Rehman in Chaudhvin ka Chand to those of Helen in Teesri Manzil, Meena Kumari in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Sadhna in Waqt, Rekha in Mr. Natwarlal or Aamir Khan in Lagaan — sounds even more Herculean.

Full report here Hindu

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