So did anyone wonder who styled Nayanthara as a stylish cop in Imaikka Nodigal? It is our own Chennai based designer Chaitanya Rao who believes that it is the clothes that accentuate the character’s personality in a film and is an important part of the visual story-telling process. Chetan, in conversation with Sridevi Sreedhar
What is it like to be a designer in Chennai?
It’s not easy. I started working in movies after my stint with fashion shows and Minnale was my first film about 17 years back. I had done many films including Yuva, Ghajini among so many. Basically I work with western wear and I take up films only if there is something to experiment.
You’ve worked with all the big names. Who was the easiest?
No one is easy (smiles). When it comes to a movie, it is team effort and it is the manner in which the actor carries your clothes which is as important as making it for them and styling.
Is Nayan difficult to work with?
(Laughs) Yes it is difficult, as she knows exactly what she wants and does not like to be stressed out with her costumes on the set. She is a thorough professional and does not repeat the look in her previous film. She takes that extra effort to look different, as she is working in multiple projects and does not want to look the same.
How did you give her that stylish cop look in Imaikka Nodigal ?
Normally we discuss about the character in detail before we arrive at a particular look for a film. Nayan gave me a lot of references and we worked together. In Imaikka Nodigal, Anjali Vikramadityan the character she plays is settled in Bangalore so we settled on a shirt and sweater, formals including few very stylish jackets. The colours were all earthy like a military green, black, grey and rust.
What inspires your designs?
I work with natural fabrics and love to work with confident women who can carry themselves effortlessly. That way, Nayanthara is a dream to work with.
Have you worked with Nayan before?
Nayan’s soft femininity and grace makes her the perfect muse for a western or Indian look. I have worked with her in Raja Rani, Thani Oruvan, few Telugu projects and now Imaikka Nodikal, which was really challenging. Remember the flowy gowns in kannala kannala song in Thani Oruvan shot on the beach? OMG, she carried it so beautifully. She has the grace, style and balances it both effortlessly.
Do you think that when a movie is a hit, no one notices the effort of a costume designer who has given that all-important look for the lead actors?
I think when no one notices, our job is a success. If you tell me that Anjali was looking so convincing on screen, then that’s the biggest compliment that I get.
After so many years of designing, who is the one person you still dream of designing for?
(Thinking) Rekha, I guess...I would have loved to style Sridevi
Any words of wisdom for those still struggling to carve a niche for themselves?
While it is easy to make a name, it is much more difficult to sustain it. For any job, hard work, luck and patience are essential factors.