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Samidha Wangnoo On Being A Costume Designer For Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

by Simi Kuriakose

Every Friday release comes up with its own share of expectations, box office ratings, and critical reviews. But here at MFG, what we are most concerned about is not how a script makes or breaks a movie or how the actors perform, but every sartorial detail of the film. Be it the costumes, styling, and makeup of the characters involved in the movie or a star’s off-duty ensembles on promotional gigs, we spot, review, and even get in touch with the people behind-the-scenes who help build an actor’s style file both on and off screen. 

Samidha Wangdoo Ae Dil Hai Mushkil_MFG


When you have some of the most good looking and talented actors from the industry playing a part in the same narrative, the expectations are obviously sky-high. And that’s exactly why Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is one the most talked about films of the year, Despite the controversies this movie has been part of, film buff or not, everyone’s been waiting in anticipation to witness the film on the silver screen. And finally, ADHM has hit the theatres today. Keeping at bay all the cheering and critiquing, MFG decided to get in touch with some of the behind-the-scene stars of the film. We got in touch with Samidha Wangnoo, stylist and costume designer for Fawad Khan in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, to give us some insight to the film’s look and feel of the character. Excerpts from an interview. 

1. Tell me a little about your treatment of styling and designing for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

In Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, I have designed and styled Fawad Khan. Before we start on planning the styling and costumes, we’re given a brief on what the character is like, his likes/dislikes, where he lives and what he does… basically a sketch of his life and personality. Depending on that, we pulled out images and put together looks that we thought would suit the character. We then made a presentation to showcase to Karan Johar. Karan would add his inputs on what he wanted for a given look, and what was good. What’s best is, he’s always open to ideas.

2. Can you specify a little more on Fawad’s character in the film, and how you styled him for the same?  

In this film, Fawad’s character is a DJ. We had to design the costumes keeping in mind the kind of person he is. The looks had to be grungy because that’s how he is portrayed to be… and we’ve not got him to be too flamboyant. We sourced as well as custom-made outfits for him. His wedding sherwani is sourced from Sabyasachi, but the rest of his wedding sequence outfits are custom-made. 

3. Styling someone in reality vs styling a character, tell me a little about how different the two are keeping in mind this particular film? 

It is very different. For instance, if you look at Fawad in real life, he’s a very sophisticated guy. His style is very sharp and clean, and he’s always keeping it very classy. But for this particular role, I needed him to look highly grunge given his profession is that of a DJ. We had to work on his entire look, design the way his hair would look, everything had to be different. In fact, he’s also sporting a tattoo, and all this had to be kept in mind just so we could bring out more of the character he plays.
Fawad Khan_Ae Dil Hai Mushkil_MFG

4. You’ve worked on different genres of films… Udaan, Agent Vinod, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, and more. Given how different Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is, tell us how your different was your methodology of styling and designing?  

I was a co-designer for Udaan, not the costume designer. But I did design for Kalki Koechlin’s character in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, and more recently for the film Mirzya. Mirzya had an entire folklore segment so the garments and styling had to be extensively researched. As far as Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is concerned, it has a more urban plot, and the styling is very relatable, very today.

5. From your past films, do you recall any iconic fashion moments that you think made a huge impact on people?

I am hoping that Ae Dil Hai Mushkil turns out to be that. But I have to mention that in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, a lot of people were very impressed with Kalki Koechlin’s bridal outfit. Though it was shocking to see the response that particular garment received, it was also great. Many brides-to-be would inquire about it; probably because she was not the regular, coy, Indian bride but a fun and quirky one. I think people could relate to that outfit a lot.   

6. Any movies that you find inspirational when it comes to on-point costume designing and styling?

I like it when the costumes blend in to form the narrative of the film. In the recent past, the only movies that I can think of that really looked great in terms of costumes is Bajirao Mastani and Ram-Leela. Bajirao Mastani more so…. I loved everything about the film as far as costumes and styling are concerned. It was really inspirational. 

7. Can you name some of your upcoming film projects?

While I do styling and designing for both commercials and films, as of now, I have not signed any movie projects that I can talk about. 

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