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Cut to perfection

ROYAL TOUCH Raghavendra Rathore had to give many options to Vidhu Vinod Chopra to get the right beard for Amitabh Bachchan

ROYAL TOUCH Raghavendra Rathore had to give many options to Vidhu Vinod Chopra to get the right beard for Amitabh Bachchan   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: S. ARNEJA

Designer Raghavendra Rathore talks to ANUJ KUMAR about the special clothes he has designed for Amitabh Bachchan for Vidhu Vinod Chopra's "Eklavya"

If it's Rajasthan it has to be Raghavendra Rathore. Yes, when Vidhu Vinod Chopra decided to set his film Eklavya - The Royal Guard in Rajasthan his first choice for costumes was designer Raghavendra Rathore. "It is my first film assignment. Shantanu Moitra (who has composed the music) suggested my name. I was nervous at the beginning but in Vinod I found a meticulous person who works in a democratic format and gave me all the creative freedom, which I believe is a divine gift in India to have."Talking about the concept of a royal guard, Rathore, who himself hails from the royal family of Jodhpur, says they were knights who used to be an integral part of the family in those days. "Unlike today, they were treated like family members and used to help in household chores as well." Rathore adds that the respect element for the helpers can be gauged from the fact that his mother had to bow before the sweeperess, as she was older to her. As for the costumes, Rathore says the most difficult part was to create the look for Amitabh Bachchan. "From beard to turban to boots, everything took considerable time. As the entire story unfolds in two days, he had to carry one look and Vinod wanted him to appear completely different from his previous films. I created a number of options on my Photoshop and finally decided on this particular look where he sports a turban and a beard, wears churidar with a kamarband and boots. We didn't want to make him look like a freak and at the same time didn't want to overdress him in typical Bollywood way. Just to get the right kind of beard Vinod tried six-seven options. And till the last shoot, there were special guys, just to check every strand of it."

Difficult to impress

He says it was difficult to impress Bachchan. "Though I have designed for him for Kaun Banega Crorepati but here things were different. He knows what works for him and doesn't want to fiddle too much. First he suggested making the outfit in leather. I did but told him it will look unrealistic in Rajasthan. He agreed. Then in case of turban I wanted him to wear it in typical Rajasthani style, a little high showing the forehead and with a chinga, the drape of the turban - as Jackie Shroff does in one scene - but he thought it would appear very regional, like Paheli. I agreed. For boots we wanted an aged feel, but the manufacturers kept on supplying us with options, which had some sheen. Finally, he suggested he has one in his collection, which I think he wore in Don. It worked. I had to repeatedly tell him to wear kamarband as tight as possible. He would give me a look and tighten it with full force."Rathore says if Bachchan brings the traditional look, with Saif he has tried to bring in fashion in the film. "I am pushing for safari suits these days. Despite an evergreen silhouette like bandhgala, it is now considered a dress for the babus. Saif was hesitant, but finally relented to wear a black safari." The audience will get to see his signature bandhagalas and breaches as well. "Bandhagalas are always popular but from the film, the discerning will get to know the right length of a kurta and why not to use a readymade turban," he quips. As a designer, Rathore says the most difficult thing is to see holes being created in your creations. "They ask to make copies of outfits - one before the bullet is fired and one for the after-effect. It hurts!"
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