Manish Malhotra (Photo Credit: Instagram)
Ace fashion couturier Manish Malhotra says cinema is his first love and he wishes to direct a movie someday. Malhotra, who recently completed 30 years in the film industry, said if not a costume designer, he would have definitely become a director as he has a deep understanding of the filmmaking craft.
"Movies is something I have always loved. They have given me everything. I enjoy films and understand the medium. I'm a storyteller and films are a very important form of storytelling...
"I actually wanted to become a film director. If I was not a designer, I would have 100 per cent been a film director. That's something I definitely want to do," the designer said during a session on Friday at the ongoing Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2020.
His next designing gig is his frequent collaborator and good friend Karan Johar's magnum opus "Takht". The historical drama will feature an ensemble cast of Bollywood stars -- Anil Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar and Janhvi Kapoor.
The designer said while he is looking forward to the project, he is equally nervous as he has never worked on a period film before. "I'm working on Karan's 'Takht'. It is his ambitious project and there are so many actors. There is a lot of study and research for me to do. It's unlike any other film I've done before.
"Veteran actor Shabana Azmi recently told me 'I have never seen you so stressed about a movie and it's good thing to see someone so nervous after being in the business for 30 years.' It's a big challenge for me and I'm enjoying it," he said.
Malhotra started his journey as a film designer in 90s with an aim to change the way Indian movies looked but he said it has not been a cake walk for him. "I was very anxious when I started designing for movies as I never studied fashion. In 1989, there was no course in Mumbai for men. But I was very interested in clothes and started working in a boutique.
"I loved movies and there was something I wanted to do to change the way Indian movies looked because during '80s the films were getting loud and the clothes were getting dramatic."
The designer revealed that people in the industry were surprised when he asked them for a script or a character description as all that makers wanted him to do was to make the heroine look "sexy".
"I wanted to do something new and with that passion I got into films. But still people in the industry were not used to having a designer asking for a script. When I asked them to give me a brief, they used to say ‘just make the heroine look sexy'. Every brief at that time was ‘make the heroine look sexy'. I remember in my first film the heroine was going to a funeral in one scene and I had to make her look sexy. But then I understood that they meant the fit has to be really good."
Malhotra said films have evolved over the time and while people still want the heroine to look "attractive", they have much more to do in the story than just being a pretty face. "Films have changed now. Women have significant roles now. They are doing something in the movie. I've always tried to marry glamour with realism," he added.
Malhotra is a celebrity-favourite designer and has dressed the who's who of Bollywood, but the couturier believes his friendship with the A-listers is not the reason for his three-decade-long run in the showbiz.
"Being in good books of people can get you an invite to a party, but it will not help you sustain. It will initially get you work but it's not going to help you continue for 30 years."
LFW will conclude on Sunday.