Can you imagine Ranveer Singh saying ‘Allah ki banayi har nayab cheez pe Alauddin ka haq hai’ in a tee and jeans? Or can you imagine Priyanka Chopra saying ‘Aap humse humari zindagi maang lete hum aapko khushi khushi de dete par aapne toh humse humara guroor cheen liya’ in a crop top and skirt?

The effect comes when you see them in the attire. The costumes are a vital part of period dramas in Bollywood. It gives the movie what it needs, the look and the feel. The costumes, the sets, and the performances take us back to the eras the creators of the film wish to transcend us to.

#1 Mughal-E-Azam– Habib Mirza

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The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when we think of Mughal-E-Azam is the iconic white and blue anarkali Madhubala has worn in the song ‘Jab Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya’. There is no doubt that the movie was visually stunning and the costumes contributed a lot to it. The one to be credited for the extremely beautiful outfits is Habib Mirza. From the bandgala to anarkali, the attires are evergreen.

#2 Devdas – Neeta Lulla, Abu Salem, and Sudeep Khosla

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Who doesn’t remember the stunning outfit Madhuri Dixit wore in the song ‘Maar Daala’ or how gorgeous both Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Madhuri were looking in ‘Dola Re Dola’? Both their costumes through the film were made by Neeta Lulla.  This is what she said:

Sanjay gave the entire script to the designers before any of the stars in the film were finalised. He had asked me to work on Paro and Chandramukhi’s [played by Madhuri Dixit] clothes. I had worked on Chandramukhi’s character as well. But then things changed. Ash came on the scene and I did not want to take on both artistes together.

It is a huge film, and there would be greater responsibility doing both the stars. It is not a film where you pick clothes off a rack or supply two saris. I thought it best to design for just one heroine and do it well.

The other designers on the film were Abu Salem and Sandeep Khosla. The duo had won the National Award for Devdas. The costumes that were worn by Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Jackie Shroff were their creations.

#3 Jodhaa Akbar– Neeta Lulla

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Elaborate and extremely pleasing designs that were seen in this movie were made by Neeta Lulla. This is what she had to say about working on Jodhaa Akbar.

Though I have worked on period films like Devdas, Kisna and even a Hollywood film, One Night with the King, Jodhaa Akbar is one of the most challenging films I have ever done in the last 20 years.

One of the main reasons is because this is the first time I have designed for an entire cast — from Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya, to a commoner walking on the road.

What made it easier was that everything was well researched. Even then, I worked on this project for a year and half because there was very little information available about the costumes and jewellery worn during that period.

#4 Bombay Velvet – Niharika Kaur

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The movie tanked at the box office but the costumes were a class apart. The looks donned by the actors were extremely pleasing to the eye. 140 costumes were designed for Anushka Sharma by Niharika Kaur. This is what she had to say:

Anushka’s amazing! And she had the body to carry it off. We wanted her to put on a little weight which she did. At that time, there were no size zeroes. Women were voluptuous. It is a glamorous role. She comes from Portuguese Goa, an Anglo-Indian.

#5 Bajirao Mastani – Anju Modi

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The costumes for this one were designed by Anju Modi, the same designer who had worked on Bhansali’s ‘Goliyon Ki Raas Leela: Ram Leela’. She had worked on all the costumes worn by the leads. This is what Anju Modi said about the costumes:

It’s difficult to single out any one of them because all three of them posed their own set of unique challenges. I would say that balancing the core personalities with their progression through the movie to reflect their states of mind during pivotal moments with the right garments, colors, accessories was the most challenging task.

#6 Padmaavat –Harpreet and Rimple Narula

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Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s latest outing at the box office had every element of cinema that Padmaavat extravagant. The costumes by Harpreet and Rimple Narula don’t fail to catch your attention. This is what they had to say about designing Alauddin Khilji’s costumes:

 “People will remember his performance and get-up. His clothes are beastly. When we started shooting he was not Ranveer anymore. He was getting into the Khilji mould. We enhanced his aggressiveness as he was a nomadic invader, who desires every object of beauty. We gave him outfits and jewellery which highlight his masculinity. And also created detailed armoury keeping his warrior look in mind.”

Costumes play a very pivotal role in Bollywood period dramas and we can be assured that they can never go wrong with it!