Simple, Neat and Contemporary – That is how I will describe the costumes in Mani Ratnam’s movies. As far as his movies are concerned, you very rarely come across a costume that doesn’t suit the actors or that you don’t like. The costumes go well not only with the setting of the movie but also with the current trend and that makes you feel as though the characters are one among us. Though there is nothing extraordinary about the costumes in Mani Ratnam’s movies, the natural look and feel that they give to his movies is what makes it appealing and the costumes in his movies have always been an object of interest to me.
Guys, you can skip reading the rest of this post if you want to, since I am going to focus mainly on the costumes of the leading ladies of Mani Ratnam’s movies. 😉
Let’s take, for instance, Aayitha Ezhuthu. Since Meera Jasmine is from a lower-middle class, she was made to wear simple, not-too expensive sarees. The costumes of all the other lead actors went with what’s the current trend. At a time when skirts are something like the in-thing, Esha, a girl coming from Delhi, was made to wear it. Agreed Esha Deol’s costumes could have been a little better and some didn’t look good on her too. (That’s what I felt) But, take Trisha’s costumes. They looked nice. I loved the purple saree that she will be wearing when Siddharth meets her at the railway Station. 🙂 In Yuva, Kareena’s kurtas were too good.
In AE, I didn’t like some of the shirts of Siddharth that had flower designs and all.
Cottons in Mani Ratnam’s films
Shobhana’s and Geeta’s sarees in Thalapathy, Revathy’s in Mouna Raagam and Anjali and Madhubala’s in Roja, Sharanya’s in Nayagan – They all look so simple and also suit them perfectly. Contrasting blouses to go with the sarees was the specialty in the costumes of Thalapathy. Shobhana wearing a yellow saree with a contrasting green blouse in the scene where Mamootty comes to her house with Geeta is one that comes to my mind right now.
Talking about the costumes in Mouna Ragam, incidentally, costume designer, Nalini Sriram’s first attempt at costume designing for movies was for that movie only it seems. She was asked by Mani Ratnam to choose a simple, white cotton saree for the judge who handles the divorce case of Revathy and Mohan in the movie and the rest as they say is history.
I like Heera’s costumes in Thiruda Thiruda especially, the mirror-worked ones in the Veerapandi Koattayile song.
If it was cotton sarees in the above-mentioned movies, Simran’s sarees in Kannatthil Mutthamittal are not-so-bright-coloured poly-cots or poly-silks (I am not an expert in identifying the materials correctly 😉 )
Riot of Colours
Now coming to my favourite film, Alaipayuthey, the song Pachchai Nirame alone itself is enough to term the costumes in this movie as a riot of colours. 🙂 You can’t find a better shade of green, red, yellow or black than the ones worn by Madhavan and Shalini to go with the locales of the song! Forget about Pachchai Nirame, even many other scenes and songs in the movie have colourful, yet not-too-harsh-on-the-eye costumes. Shalini and Swarnamalya’s silk sarees in the wedding scene, in the scene where they go to Madhavan’s house and the scene where Hari Nair and his family come to their house are all so lovely. So are Shalini’s sarees in the song Snehidhane. 🙂
Special mention has to be made about Madhavan’s shirts. The blue shirt in the wedding scene, yellow one in Yaaro Yaarodi, red T-Shirt when he meets Shalini in the railway station after their parents meet each other, blue T-Shirt when he speaks with Shalini over the phone for the first time and the list goes on! Before any of you get scared, I will stop with this and won’t write anything more about this movie. 😉
Talking about colourful costumes, the ones in Tere Bina (Guru) will also feature in the list. Each one of Aishwarya Rai’s costumes (esp. that blue-coloured one) and Abhishek Bachchan’s sherwanis in this song, look simple, yet so elegant.
Not only the dresses but, even the accessories that the actresses in his movies wear have never been too grand or too glittery. The make up (or the lack of it?) of the actresses in his movies have always made most of them look good.
I will stop with this since I don’t want this post to end up as just a listing of all the costumes that come in his movies. Anyway, it always feels great to recollect the scenes of Mani Ratnam’s movies and for this post, I yet again, relived many scenes. 🙂