Archive for Kangana Ranaut
From dressing sassy showgirls to recreating period army uniforms in Rangoon, costume designer Dolly Ahluwalia discusses the challenges of a historical wartime romance.
WHEN two-time National Award-winning costume designer Dolly Ahluwalia says that Vishal Bhardwaj’s war and romance drama Rangoon has been the toughest movie of her career, she’s not kidding. With films such as Bandit Queen (1993), Omkara (2006) and Haider (2014) under her belt, she’s no stranger to large-scale spectacles and sweeping canvases. But Bhardwaj’s latest, set during World War II and shot largely in Arunachal Pradesh, proved to be a formidable challenge. The experience was much like the volatile storyline of the love triangle between livewire action heroine Julia (played by Kangna Ranaut), erstwhile actor and debonair producer Rusi Billimoria (Saif Ali Khan) and soldier Nawab Mallik (Shahid Kapoor).
Armed with keywords such as “love triangle”, “war”, “aristocracy”, “comedy”, “tragedy” and “sensuousness”, Ahluwalia set about creating a canvas for each of her characters. “I watched a lot of Hollywood and Bollywood films from the ’40s to see what the fashion was like back then, delved into old fashion magazines that I sourced from London and studied people’s personal albums to gauge the Western trends that had percolated down to India,” she says.
The year is 1943, and World War II is raging fiercely. In these times, live three Indians, each captive to political circumstances.
One among them is his rich, powerful father’s puppet. His name is Russi Billimoria (Saif Ali Khan), a suave Parsi producer whose earlier glory days as an action hero come to an untimely end in an accident. His magnificence presence becomes evident when the camera in his movie studio zooms gently upwards, as if to show us all of his pomposity. He zips up his black gloved hand (a mechanical one to replace the one he lost in the accident) with such aplomb that you cannot help but know — it is he who wields the whip that is an iconic prop in his heroine’s hands.
His heroine is Julia (Kangana Ranaut) — the masses’ darling; she cracks her whip, sings, dances, risks her neck by leaping onto chandeliers. But when Russi asks her to jump, Julia asks how high. When he pats his thigh and beckons for her to be seated, calling her ‘Hey Kiddo’, she obeys.