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She cuts for Ash


IF CHANDNI, Lamhe, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas are postcards of ethnicity on celluloid, the designer link is Neeta Lulla, these days making a splash as Aishwarya Rai's designer.

In the Capital to felicitate the winners of the Lux Star Bano Aish Karo contest, Neeta steers clear of the Cannes storm, where Aishwarya was rapped by the media for her appearance last year, while this year the national media pointed pens at her revealing white ensemble. "The white ensemble that she wore during the opening ceremony was provided by L'Oreal, as Aishwarya is their brand ambassador. It was to present her as an international personality. All the other dresses she wore were my creations and were not revealing.

"Last year, I was not there in person. In mixing and matching the dress with footwear, hairstyle, make-up, the final result could not come out as expected. And don't forget, she had just come out of an injury."

Neeta feels things have changed for the better in Bollywood, with heroines specifically asking for dresses that go with their character. "Filmmakers and artistes insist on character-oriented costumes. Heavy jewellery is passé, no more laced and embroidered saris during funerals."

However, Neeta insists if it's a Devdas, then thousands can assemble in white mourning the demise of Devdas' father.



Neeta Lulla.

Now working on Subhash Ghai's Kisna, Neeta feels here the challenge is making newcomers Isha Sherwani and Antonio Bernath appear in consonance with the script. "Ash was already a brand, here there is no such problem. My effort has been to weave the clothes with the script so that my name shouldn't cry out. Nobody notices my work in films that do not do well commercially, like Yash Chopra's Aaina."

Another example, meanwhile, is Black, where Sanjay Leela Bhansali opted for Sabyasachi Mukherjee, putting a question mark over Neeta's ability to design beyond the trousseau in an age where Aki Narula redefined screen clothing successfully with Dil Chahta Hai and his next Kyon Ho Gaya Na is eagerly anticipated.

Someone who holds, in India it's films, which bring fashion trends rather than fashion weeks , Neeta answers that stray incidents can't hurt her interests and she is joining hands with Sanjay again in Bajirao Mastani. That's far too obvious. Neeta goes on,

"I am contemplating entering the ready-to-wear market and would be seen in India Fashion Week next year."

Plans to finally shed the lavish ethnicity tag which won her the National Award for Lamhe and Devdas? "No, I have given trendy clothes in films like Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, where ghagra cholis were presented as modern outfits. It's just that now I can diversify with my kids joining me in the business."

ANUJ KUMAR

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