Indian fashion industry headed for big time: Neeta Lulla (Interview)

By Nivedita, New Delhi, Oct 19 : In her 26 years of styling and designing, Neeta Lulla has seen multifarious changes in the industry and says business is booming thanks to the fashion awareness of the people and their fondness for dressing up.

"The Indian fashion industry is headed to become a very serious business due to the immense fashion awareness in our country and demands of trendy garments pan all strata of our society. The biggest change has been branded garments and ready to wear clothing," Lulla told IANS in an interview.

She also feels that one of the most beautiful things about Indian culture is the "sola shringar" of the bride so "I think dressing is here to stay."

Lulla is amongst the most awarded fashion designers in the country with four National Film Awards in her kitty. She won the prestigious awards for her work in "Lamhe", "Devdas", "Baalgandharva" and "Jodhaa Akbar".

During her career, she has styled the look for some of the finest Indian films and biggest stars and worked with many prominent directors.

She has worked in over 300 films in more than seven languages in Indian and international projects and has now added another feather to her cap by designing for period drama "Kochadaiiyaan - The Legend", the country's first Photorealistic Performance Capture Film.

Starring southern matinee idol Rajinikanth, the film has been directed by his daughter Soundarya Rajinikanth Ashwin. The cast also has names like R. Sarath Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff, Shobana and Aadi Pinisetty.

"Being a part of 'Kochadaiiyaan' is definitely a milestone in my career. I have crafted and conceptualized the entire look for each of the characters in the movie," Lulla said.

"This project is different from my previous Bollywood projects because 'Kochadaiiyaan - The Legend' is India's first Photorealistic Performance Capture Film. The highlight, however, remains designing the look of Rajinikanth, who stars as a legendary mythological character in the film," she added.

Crafting the perfect look required a lot of research. Around 150 costumes per character were designed on paper and 20 to 25 of these were selected and detailed.

The designer also created a range of 20 to 30 looks, especially for Rajinikanth's armour suit, as well as for the supporting cast of "Kochadaiiyaan".

"The costumes were created on a sketch format first in colour then a croqui created by CG technicians for Rajini sir. Detailing was added to it. The process took almost six-eight months of sketching and re-sketching details.

"A lot of research was conducted to achieve the right looks, especially to create it in apt colors with the right fabric; its dull luster and embroidery details," she said.

Even jewellery required a lot of research.

"It required sketches and eventually mounted in form. The armour had a lot of detailing that was achieved through careful understanding of its movement and appeal in keeping with the era," she said.

What changes has she noticed in costune designing in Bollywood in over two decades?

"There were lots of changes in Bollywood between the 1980s and 1990s. The silhouettes developed a mature definition and there was a sense of elegance," said the designer, who considers Sridevi and Hema Malini as the most stylish Indian celebrities.

Internationally, she choose Sienna Miller and Helen Miren.

(Nivedita can be contacted at

--IANS (Posted on 19-10-2013)

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