Designing for the cast of “Aaja Nachle” had its share of trial and error, costume designer Mandira Shukla tells P. ANIMA

Chak De” gave her a high. Costume designer Mandira Shukla worked on the “tom-boyish” look of the 16 girls from far-flung regions of India and their metamorphosis into seasoned hockey players. Post “Chak De”, “Aaja Nachle”, yet another Yash Raj production, takes centre stage for Mandira.

This Anil Mehta movie may well be touted as the comeback avatar of Bollywood’s dancing queen Madhuri Dixit. But for Mandira, it is the rest of the cast that she is responsible for. She has given the look for Konkona Sen Sharma, Kunal Kapoor, Jugal Hansraj, Ranvir Shorey, Raghuvir Yadav and others in the movie. Manish Malhotra has crafted the look and appearance of Madhuri Dixit.

Trying times

“The characters are true to the story,” says Mandira. “Konkona has a look that is different from that of Madhuri. It is the look that suits her character,” she adds.

But Mandira admits there were trying times for her along the way.

“For Konkona I didn’t get the look right in the first trial. Even for Raghuvir Yadav there were as many as six trial and error sessions. Sometimes, we need to commit a mistake to realise,” Mandira is quite frank. But on the whole, Mandira admits the movie was a “satisfying experience”.

“For Konkona, the look is that of a small town girl. I have used a lot of cotton salwar kameez for her. Konkona’s character undergoes a change during the movie. Kunal Kapoor has been given a very layered look. He is mostly in jeans, malmal and shirts,” elaborates Mandira.

Each actor has been dressed to suit the character to T. “For Akhilendra Mishra, I have used lot of raw silk and it is crepes and georgettes for Asha Sachdeva,” Mandira gets down to the details. A small portion of designing for the movie has been also done by Dolly Ahluwalia.

But Mandira admits working for a banner that is known to make statements with costumes does not put any pressure on her.

“Designing for Yashraj is not a matter of pressure on me. They are trying to make different films,” says Mandira adding neither the fact that Madhuri Dixit was making a comeback with the film mattered.

“Maybe there was pressure on Manish,” she says.

But with “Aaja Nachle” behind her, the designer is already busy with her next projects. “I am currently doing an untitled movie for Kunal Kohli. Then there is the Hollywood crossover film produced by Ashok Amritraj,” she winds up.