For me, fashion is like writing a screenplay: Karan Johar
|Katrina Kaif and Karan Johar at the 18th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival|
The last panel discussion at the 18th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star was froth with entertaining anecdotes and lots of laughter, thanks to the moderator Karan Johar who announced right in the beginning that there can be no seriousness when he is on the panel.
Leading a conversation on ‘Fashion in Film’, Karan was joined by actress Katrina Kaif along with the biggies from the world of fashion – Christian Loubotin and Prabal Gurung. “Sometimes fashion is considered to be frivolous to the intellectual mind but for me, it’s just like writing a screenplay,” Karan said, throwing open the discussion on how the red carpets have taken film industries world over by storm. So much so that with respect to actors, fashion easily takes over their being today, keeping their films and characters at the backburner. “I do feel more importance should go back to the designing of clothes in films rather than the number of gowns worn at the red carpet,” commented Katrina, who was referred to by Karan as glamorous from the outside and inherently casual and easy going from the inside.
For a film industry, which has constantly dictated fashion norms, Hindi cinema has been intertwined with the fashion industry from early on, with both industries drawing inspiration from each other. Prabal, who was born in Singapore and brought up in Nepal, owes his career to Hindi films and Rekha. “Hindi films allowed me to dream. The orchestra, the violins playing, the dancers in the rain...it all allowed me to soar. It gave me courage,” recounted the self-confessed Rekha fan, who has designed for the First Lady Michelle Obama and heads an internationally renowned collection. On the other hand, French shoemaker Christian is a bonafide Sridevi fan and has an unusual stint in Tollywood to his credit. “There was a South film being made in Chennai. I played an ice-cream seller against a painted backdrop of an Eiffel Tower. I was 16 then and was visiting India to see Bollywood studios. I only went to Madras, watched Satyajit Ray’s Devi there along with the filmmaker himself being present for a Q and A session after the screening,” Christian recalled, adding, “The interactive session with Ray was one of my biggest moments of cinema. I also watched Guru Dutt’s films.” Christian’s tryst with Hindi films began with Dilip Kumar’s Aan, that he watched at a theatre in Seattle. “I immediately fell in love with the entire movie,” the eclectic shoemaker said, whose love for shoes began with his obsession with dancing shoes in films.
Although film and fashion have always gone hand in hand, the two have often cast a dark shadow on each other too. Especially in today’s times, a fashionable actor is easily perceived to be dumb and not good with his or her work. “Well, I am not going to try to oppose this thought process. I would just say that not all actors are brilliant in the industry. Fashion is at your disposal to use it to your advantage. And there is nothing wrong if actors are using fashion. It is the most complicated and interesting industry out there. Also, I am of the firm belief that fashion and intelligence doesn’t have to be mutually explicit,” Prabal opined. To which Katrina said, “Glamour is who you are and how you carry it.”
The discussion came to a close by touching upon the ever existing itch about most fashion being unaffordable and hence, being restricted to the rich and famous. “One charges according to the work one puts in. It’s about the process of making a design and how something is constructed,” Christian justified. While Karan went on to raise a toast to all spin offs of high fashion, which makes expensive brands accessible to the less privileged. “I have made a career out of emulating careers. One should totally go for the spin offs of brands. It doesn’t make you any lesser. So, more power to Linking Road,” he signed off.