But while the film, based on the real-life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham’s journey to make affordable sanitary napkins, has been lauded for its intent, the film also stands out due to its character detailing and styling. And Sonam’s character Pari is perhaps one of the most stylized character in the film.
“I wanted to be very careful to make sure that the wardrobe feels very effortless and not designed, so we mixed and matched several pieces to give a much thrown together feel,” says costume designer and stylist Theia Tekchandaney in an interaction with News18.com.
Theia shares that the brief for Sonam’s character was an open one with a few prominent notes, saying, “Pari is an MBA student from Delhi and a Tabla player, so keeping that in mind, I came up with a few ideas for her look which I shared with Balki and Sonam. We wanted her wardrobe to reflect a modern Indian sensibility and have a young bright vibe to it at the same time.”
“One of the most important aspects Balki wanted to keep in mind was the relatability factor. As a character, she needed to remain approachable to the other women in the villages,” she explains. For the uninitiated, Sonam’s character helps Akshay’s character Lakshmikant in materializing his dream of creating affordable sanitary napkins for rural women.
Theia also adds that she collaborated with several designers, some of whom even made custom pieces for the film. “Many things were kept in mind whilst deciding on the designers we wanted to collaborate with for the film. Most important being the fact that all the brands work with various craft-people all over the country in the field of sustainable fashion,” she says.
“Shantanu Das from Maku, Anavila, Aneeth Arora from Pero, Shikha from the label Vrisa, Rina Singh from Eka, Sanjay Garg of Raw Mango, Tammanah Punjabi, and the lovely Anita Dongre who has been a friend and an inspiration to me for several years,” she lists the names adding that the most important aspect was to have variety in her clothing like any other normal girl. “With some of the labels we went into their archives and pulled several old designs whilst others created pieces from scratch that fit in with our story,” she adds.
Theia also credits Sonam for accessorizing the character with little things to add depth to her character including the bespoke glasses. “Every actor has their own take on how they will play a certain actor, and Sonam is no different. She didn’t have too much of an opinion on the styling but she did have several ideas on the little things that build a character’s personality through the wardrobe or accessories. So, for example, she definitely wanted glasses for her character, to break her glamorous image.”
And while Sonam might be known as the most fashionable actors in Bollywood, Theia, who has also worked with the actor in Neerja, says, “As an actor, I think she definitely couldn’t give two hoots about being fashionable unless the character demands it.”
Theia also reveals that while Sonam’s clothes were curated from other labels, both Radhika Apte and Akshay Kumar’s costumes were purchased from and matched in the local markets of Maheshwar.
On being asked about the films she chooses to work on, Theia says she tries to work on projects that resonate with her personally. “I don’t think of myself as a stylist. I am a costume designer and I work with that ethic in mind. I think any creative person feels amazing if in some way their work can influence others and bring about a change. So in my own small way, I’m very proud to have been a part of this film.”