For Aki Narula who has spent his life working on clothes, fashion is something which comes to him intuitively. Having spent the early part of his career as a fashion designer, he transitioned to costume designing and has worked in a number of films. With his newest venture, “Highway” close to release, he lays bare his thoughts on fashion, movies and clothes in a conversation.
Fashion designing has been viewed as more of an art form while costume designing is deigned to be more prosaic and less creative. What’s your take on it?
I totally disagree with this, there is a great deal of art to costume designing, it adds to the movie, it is essential to flesh out the script, one has to make the characters look as the script demands. But it also depends upon the kind of films that one does. I do not take up run of the mill scripts.
Have you switched to costume designing or do you still have the desire to do fashion designing?
There was no decision to leave fashion designing, but it takes a lot of work to run even a small fashion label and do the fashion weeks. I made a conscious decision to do films and it is only possible to do one.
What is the process of designing for a film and how is it different from fashion designing?
There is a lot more freedom in fashion designing, you have complete freedom to do as you please, and you do not have any restrictions to work within. It is a lot easier this way. In costume design, you have to work within the limits of the script, how it will look on the character. Why does the character wear it? Where does he get it from? You need to be careful to represent the character as the script demands it, a lot of research needs to be done. Plus there are considerations like the lighting which the cameraman will use, the backgrounds in outdoor shoots. These factors need to be taken into consideration.
Which is more creatively satisfying?
They have very different aspects, the work you do for a film is always in the limelight and creatively very satisfying. I enjoy both.
What was the experience of designing for “Highway”?
“Highway” has been the most creatively stimulating project that I have undertaken. I share a very good bond with Imtiaz and for this film, I supervised the look of every person who appears on screen. The clothes were bought from local markets, borrowed from locals to make the looks as authentic as possible.
As the film has the main characters going from one State to another, the looks changed with the changing of the milieu. As the main characters wear the same clothes throughout the movie, their look was worked upon by the accessories. A jacket, a shawl was added, to change the looks.