Niharika talks about designing costumes for Kai Po Che

Niharika talks about designing costumes for Kai Po Che

After working on a wide variety of films including Rock On!!, Karthik Calling Karthik, Delhi Belly, The Dirty Picture, the award winning costume designer, Niharika Khan is now ready to showcase her talent in Abhishek Kapoor's Kai Po Che. While the film is based on Chetan Bhagat's novel 'The 3 Mistakes Of My Life', it was the character descriptions in the script rather than the book that inspired Khan's creations. "For me, the script is the Bible because that showcases a director's vision," says Khan. Here's a look at how the designer brought the essence of the film's world through the costumes.

Real search
According to Khan, this film required extensive research since it is a story of three friends set in Gujarat during the early 2000's. "The characters live in the old part of Ahmedabad which has a distinct culture and dressing style. It was important to bring that out in the costumes of the characters. I visited the older parts of Ahmedabad, known as the 'pols' and researched on the kind of fabrics that are pertinent to the area. Moreover, I had to use the prints, textiles and colours available around 10 years back because the film captures that period," says Khan and add, "Being a hot and dry city, I have used breathable fabrics for all the characters. In terms of the colours, none of them wear extremely bright, neon colours because that does not fit in the film's world. I have used earthy colours like browns and mostly cotton block prints."

Character sketch
Designing the costumes of the three leads – Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh and Raj Kumar- was quite a challenge, "as I had to reveal their personalities through the costumes," says Khan. For Sushant Singh Rajput, who plays a young cricketer Ishaan, Khan stuck to a casual and relaxed look. "When boys are young, usually their mothers help them with clothes shopping and putting together the outfits. Since Sushant's character lives without a mother, he is quite careless about what he wears. He also plays cricket, so you will mostly see him in shorts and sport shoes because of the comfort factor," says the costume designer. "I have also given him an Indian cricket team jersey because he is a huge fan of the team," adds the designer.

Explaining Amit Sadh's character, Khan says, "He is a priest's son and he doesn't have any particular style of dressing. While I have dressed him up in shirts and denims, his footwear is mainly chappals because he is required to remove them often when he goes to mandir. He also emulates Ishaan a lot, which is noticeable in his dressing style. There is a scene where he wears corduroy pants because Ishaan wears them too."

Meanwhile, Raj Kumar, who plays a money-minded businessman, will be seen wearing locally stitched shirts and synthetic trousers. "That is how old school businessmen dressed up and Raj Kumar is stuck in a time wrap. I have given pockets for all of his shirts because his character always carries a pen as he is a tuition teacher," she adds.

Traditional take
A film set in Gujarat is incomplete without a traditional garba sequence and Kai Po Che is no different. Featuring a traditional garba number Shubhaarambh, the sequence sees Raj Kumar and Amrita Puri, who plays his love interest, wearing the traditional dandiya raas outfits. While Khan designed a kedia, an old tribal costume consisting of flowing upper vest and a dhoti for Raj, she chose ghaghra choli with an open midriff for Puri. "In Gujarat, you are not allowed to play garba if you are not dressed in the traditional outfits. So I chose kedia and ghaghra choli for the garba sequence. While we had three options -maroon, cream and green – for the kedia, we chose green because it is a beautiful contrast with Puri's haldi yellow and pink ghaghra choli," elaborates Khan.

The designer has also paid a lot of attention to detail, even if it might not be visible on screen. "I noticed that most of the households have stuffed cotton animals dangling from threads near the doors. Inspired from them, I added elephant blocks on Amrita's naada (chord used to tie the salwar)," says Khan.

Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama. Read more

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