Hello Folks! In this week’s #BlabWithSandy, we have Tollywood’s happening costume designer Aditi Agarwal with us. She created a huge impact with her work in ‘Awe’ and followed it up with ‘Taxiwaala’. Her current work was for Dr. Rajasekhar’s ‘Kalki’. Let’s wait no further and dive into the blab I had with her:
Sandy: Hey Aditi! Long time. How have you been?
Aditi: Hello Sandeep! Yes, been some time. I am doing great and you? 🙂
Sandy: Great too! So, could you throw some light on your background?
Aditi: I was born and brought up in Hyderabad. I always wanted to become a fashion designer. My dad wasn’t really keen to get me into the industry, thus I studied Business Administration. Whilst working for my dad’s company along with my brother, I realized that I seriously want to do fashion.
I studied Fashion from NIFT in 2013. After which, I moved to Bangalore for a job. I did not know that Hyderabad was also strong in fashion industry, until I met few industry people. I went to Milan in 2015 and further studied from Milan Fashion Campus.
Sandy: Great! So, how did you enter Tollywood?
Aditi: Once I cam back from Milan, I worked as a Head Stylist for a couple of years. I also joined my brother in his business. I started getting few advertisements offers and did quite a number of model portfolios.
In 2017, I got a call from a photographer who informed me about Prasanth Varma. I met him, and he instantly liked my portfolio. He wanted me on board for his first film and that’s how ‘Awe’ happened. 🙂
Sandy: How was the experience of working for ‘Awe’?
Aditi: It was my first film and I styled for Regina Cassandra, Kajal Agarwal, Eesha Rebba, and all the other cast. My work was hugely appreciated, and I must thank Prasanth for being beside me during my initial stages. ‘Awe’ was a unique film and, so was the experience.
Regina Cassandra had actually shaved her head in accordance to the style that we conceptualized. The word of mouth was so great that I started getting other offers.
Sandy: You have worked with Prasanth in Awe, now Kalki and also for his upcoming film That is Mahalakshmi. You seem to share a wonderful camaraderie.
Aditi: I was surprised that he wanted to work with me again after Awe for Kalki and That is Mahalakshmi. Awe was the first movie for both of us and maybe that’s a good reason that we got connected so well.
There were times wherein I wanted to quit the projects but, he stood by me and gave me pep talks. I feel happy to have started my journey with him. The best part is, we both are open to criticism, changes, and trying out different things.
Sandy: How was it working with the likes of Dr. Rajasekhar, Adah Sharma and Scarlett Wilson for Kalki?
Aditi: Initially we were thinking on the genre of its plot and Prasanth decided to shoot it as a period film. We could have either made in in the current times or a period, finally we picked it to be a period set-up. It was a challenge as I am not a Telugu person. I researched for one month on the Telangana culture and met many people to gather accurate information.
It was good working with Rajasekhar. It wasn’t very difficult to convince him about the style that I had chosen for him. He was open to my ideas. During situations of changes, Prasanth always stood by me. Both, Rajaskehar and Jeevitha Ma’am were comfortable with my ideas.
With regards to Rajasekhar’s age and role in the movie, I could not give him the exact look as per the 1980s. But, we made his character such that he comes from a futuristic thinking. Hence, I styled him in accordance. I used to take him shopping with me so that he was always aware of what I was picking for him.
Working with Adah Sharma is too much fun. I was initially skeptical about her choices but, it was extremely easy to work with Adah. She absolutely loved whatever I chose for her. She mostly wears bright floral color, striped and polka dotted sarees with frills in the film. Her character is from Telangana region, hence I picked Kalamkari and Handloom fabric for her.
Talking about Scarlett Wilson, the director, the producers and the choreographer, all of them had different ideas on Scarlett’s costume and its length.
A final decision came a night before the shoot and I started working on it at 11 a.m. By 4 p.m. it had to be ready and I just got a couple of hours to work on it.
I, myself stitched the whole outfit on the sets. I had to keep everyone happy, and that’s the reason you will find Scarlett’s skirt a little long in the first half of the song and it turns shorter during the latter half.
Sandy: Wow! Interesting indeed. 🙂 Let’s move to the quick shot round.
Quick Shot Round:
- Kalki: Best project till date
- Biggest regret in life: I don’t think I have any regrets yet
- You enjoyed working the most with: Adah Sharma
- An industry person whom you admire the most: Priyanka Chopra
- You enjoy styling men or women: LOL! Both equally
- Prasanth Varma: Godfather
- Love: Waste of time, ha-ha
- If you were stuck in a lift and can have two people in it, who would those two be? Priyanka Chopra and my friend Manpreet
- One good thing and one bad thing about the industry: I get to meet different kind of people, which is good. And, every day is different and not monotonous. The bad thing is, industry still is male dominated
- A celeb you’d love to style: Priyanka Chopra 🙂
- Fashion in Tollywood: I see a good change. Earlier, actresses used to feel very uncomfortable with skin exposure and with the kind of costumes they were being provided. But now, Tollywood is fast changing. With every film, makers are looking for a difference, which is a bright thing
Sandy: Any piece of advice that you would like to give the newcomers?
Aditi: One needs to have a huge amount of patience to sustain and succeed. Every second you need to prove yourself to gain recognition. There are times when you may think to give up, but do not! Have your own style and keeping trying.
Sandy: What’s in the pipeline for Aditi in the coming months?
Aditi: I am working on a film based on a social message. It is specially being made for film festivals. The shoot will start mid July onwards and I do not know when it’ll release. I have recently finished working with Eesha Rebba for her next film, which directed by Srinivas Reddy. It shall release soon.
I have also completed styling Tamannaah Bhatia for Queen Telugu remake titled That is Mahalakshmi.
Sandy: A few words about Hyderabad Local.
Aditi: What do I say? Ha-ha-ha! I have heard a lot of stuff about you from our common friend Poojitha. I appreciate and love what all you do. You are multi-talented. Keep going ahead Sandy!
And, I would want to thank you for addressing me. I am super duper happy, as normally the industry never recognizes the costume designers. Thank you so much!
Editor’s note: I have known Aditi personally and she is exceptionally talented. With the kind of portfolio, she has (Awe, Taxiwaala, Kalki, That is Mahalakshmi, etc), it is indeed a remarkable feat. She started her journey in 2017 and has come a long way.
Wishing her an awesome journey ahead, filled with costumes and films!
Interview by Sandy (Sandeep Rao)