MUMBAI—Psychological analysis of the characters and 300-year-old leather techniques made up the “Padmavati” wardrobe, revealed designer duo, Vipul Amar and Harsheen Arora.
Ranveer Singh’s and Shahid Kapoor’s characters in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s epic have already left everyone spellbound and waiting for more. After making Sushant Singh Rajput look like a warrior in “Raabta,” their Delhi-based design house, The V Renaissance has showcased their design proficiency in this film.
“They first approached us to create one look for Ranveer Singh’s earlier battles in the film, and then they also asked us to create the armor for Shahid Kapoor’s final battle. After Mr. Bhansali saw these armors, he loved them so much that he asked us to create one for Khilji’s final battle as well,” said Amar. In fact, the armor for the final battle was revealed by them on Bhansali’s birthday and going by his reaction, it was the ideal birthday surprise for him.
These armors are a result of back-breaking research not only regarding their authenticity but also the functionality. The duo consulted an engineer to confirm the robotics incorporated in the armors.
“Authenticity and mobility of the armors was our prime concern, as it is imperative that the actor is able to perform stunts while wearing them. Hence, we carried out thorough research on the armories and weaponries of the era around which the film revolves. We employed actual historical techniques to create the armors such as the Cuirboilli technique of sculpting, chiseling, inlaying, to name a few, while making sure they align with today’s standards of comfort and weightlessness,” added Amar.
Accompanying historical and functional research, the construction of the armors also comprised Arora’s expertise – the psychological analysis of the characters being portrayed by Kapoor and Singh as actors along with Bhansali’s vision of his characters. Ratan Singh (Kapoor) is an embodiment of love and patriotism while Allaudin Khilji (Singh) embodies conquest and invasion.
Interestingly, even though the same materials have been used in their armors, they have been treated differently to depict their opposing personalities. Both the characters are so strong and contrasting that the challenges while designing for both cannot be compared. The techniques used in armors for both of them vary drastically.
Arora said, “Once I was able to get into the psyche of Maharawal Ratan Singh, it helped in bringing elements to his armor that represent nobility and honor. Even the colors used for his armor show just that. The blood red depicts honor, love and eagerness to serve one’s land and the deep gold stands for courage, generosity and passion. Not only that, the design elements in Kapoor’s armor are inspired by the sun-rays, and the chest plate is colored like the Rajputana soil at different times of the day. ”
On the other hand, Khilji’s armor represents the Sultan that he envisioned himself as being. “The leather lions on his shoulders show his strong-headedness. The Lions have been chiseled and hammered to bring into form as part of the technique that is also symbolic to Khilji’s conquest. Also, the darkness of the character has been enhanced by engraving reptile scales on the lion heads,” added Arora.
Even the storage of these costumes is one of a kind. When not in use, the armors rest on life-sized mannequins, which are then placed inside vintage closet trunks. These are no ordinary trunks since they are fitted with lights and wheels for easy transport when the armies are moving in caravans before settling at base camp. All this helps transport the actor psychologically into that time and era.
The story of “Padmavati” is about Rani Padmavati, said to be one of the most beautiful women ever to exist. This real-life story is the epitome of love and sacrifice between Padmavati and Rana Rawal Ratan Singh, the Rajput ruler of Mewar. Their perfect life took an unfortunate turn when Allauddin Khilji’s lustful eyes gazed upon the queen.
Khilji is known as one of the most brutal rulers of the Khilji dynasty, who ascended the throne by killing his father-in-law, his brothers-in-law, and their uncles. He was known for attacking states, only for their land and women. And the motive behind the attack on Mewar was none other than Padmavati. Chittorgarh Fort, today, stands as an epitome of the true Rajputana spirit, loyalty, fidelity and bravery and a symbol of women power.