By Mitali Parekh
Throughout Tamasha, costume designers Aki Narula (for Ranbir Kapoor) and Anaita Shroff Adajania (for Deepika Padukone) leave a little nude colour for each other to pick up and carry on with, during the actor's ongoing conversations in the film.
When Tara (Padukone) wears a rich wine top and breaks down, asking Ved (Kapoor) to come back to her, she colours him emotionally. It's a wine tie he wears to work the next day, when his true self breaks out expressively.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. It's not only each other Shroff and Narula talk to, but also their respective audience -- for Shroff (she’s the Fashion Director at Vogue magazine) it's the legions of fashion worshippers that follow her work at Vogue; Narula leaves channel past cinematic characters from his own work and those connected with the actor.
When we first meet Tara, she’s in Corsica wearing a shirt with lipstick marks on it. For fashion followers, there’s only one famous person from the island — fashion blogger and illustrator Garance Doré. It’s not a co-incidence that she recently designed a line with fashion brand Equipment and the shirts and scarves featured illustrations — a pair of red lacquered lips. And that’s not the only little Easter Egg, when little Ved is day-dreaming about Samyukta, she wears a yellow dupatta/veil with lip marks all over it — a slow extension of the women in his childhood fantasies manifesting as this girl in Corsica.
As it goes, Tara’s wardrobe is not very far from how Deepika dresses (styled by Anaita in real-life too) for public appearances — floral dresses with keds, long jackets, clean camel, white and burgundy in ankle-length trousers, shin-leith skirts and shirts in the office. The accessories are an Anaita trademark of seven or 10 years — a mix of bracelets of different materials with a watch, with the introduction of slim pinky rings.
The closeness to the actor’s off screen self gives the character of Tara a cohesiveness; the audience can believe she is authentic. Her inner and outer self are not in conflict with each other. She’s almost without make-up for most of the movie wearing only a lip stain on holiday and looking made-up only in the scenes she’s in office or on dates with Ved, where one would wear make-up normally.
Ved, on the other hand, has two different wardrobes — one for the story-teller Don and the other for project manager Ved Sahni. Don, on holiday, has a sectional buzz in his hair. He wears yellow glares and a kada and black ‘dhaga’ from his life as Ved. Ved combs his hair like a good boy, wears a lot of grey and manicures his goatee to perfection. As Don, in quick flashes, Narula shows us Kapoor experimenting with a mullet, a man-bun, a side buzz, layering clothes over each other in a jumble of kurtas, kids, pitiless, blazers, army jackets as his stories overlap.
There’s also a flash of Janardan from Rockstar in these clothes (another Imtiaz Ali movie styled by Narula). And there’s a flash of his father (Rishi Kapoor) in the 90s-style sweaters that little Ved wears in Shimla. One of the most winning outfits is the layered one he wears in Japan, a tee-shirt with a tracksuit jacket under a blazer and flat front trousers, that comes from from Narula’s personal wardrobe.
But before that, his wardrobe moves towards cohesiveness in an all blue outfit — shirt, jacket and a headscarf borrowed from his beloved storyteller in Shimla — just like his personality.
Importantly, the supporting cast has not been floundering. Their clothes are styled in he same vein, coloured with humour. Sita has a heart tattoo on her arm. Ram and Lakshman wear uniforms and thermals as they go into exile. Ved’s boss wears a douch-ey neck scarf and over-dyed hair in an act of virility. The rickshaw driver, as he imagines himself singing to a crowd, wears the a neck-scarf and shirt of the same fabric, with a jacket over it, a variation of his public service uniform.
The clothes also come into a neat circle. Don wears yellow glares again in Japan when he meet Tara. He uses the black thread that he wears around his neck to tie the ring to a cup. The yellow dupatta with lipstick marks comes back to a member of the cast in the final scene. Ved is himself here with his layered clothes, and so is Tara — under her business blazer she wears puffy harlequin pants trans versing both her worlds.
This play-off between Narula and Shroff, along with the attention played to the costumes of the supporting cast, immerses the audience in the film and makes us stay part of the universe. It shows us that the filmmaker was able to get his team to work together and not in isolation which often happens with two big stars with individual stylists with no regard for the rest of the actors.
We’re smiling at the little quirks — a child in the hills imagining Ram sensibly wearing thermals in vanvas. A “creative-type” Ved experimenting with his looks like we expect people in the Arts to. Tara, with her closeness to Deepika, becomes real and relatable. The script allows her no uniqueness — she’s a pleasant girl with a career in tea trading, a fondness for Asterix comics and game for an adventure. So is her wardrobe — common pieces that we will wear in the coming year (and look for on online shopping sites). It’s this normalcy and comfort that both characters carry along with their costumes that makes Tamasha such a refreshing change.
Updated Date: Dec 03, 2015 11:32 AM