Working with a legendary filmmaker like Mani Ratnam is no joke. Ponniyin Selvan’s success is a result of direction, acting and not to forget the costumes that reflected grandeur on such a large scale.
Mani Ratnam was planning to come up with the classic movie since long. Costume designer Eka Lakhani too was aware of the director’s plan to make hearing about director Kalki Krishnamurthy’s cult classic. Twelve years ago, Lakhani had worked under the ace director on Raavan. Besides, she also worked as a main costume designer for Mani’s movie Kadal, O Kadhal Kanmani and Kaatru Veliyidai. The designer exclaimed being a part of the project on such a large scale was a massive honour. PS-1 is a fictious representation of Chola empire, and costumes and set up needed to reflect grandeur. Eka Lakhani’s PS-1 costumes just elevated the appearance to a different level.
No wonder the movie is heaping praises from everywhere. She had this to say when she came about the project coming to life.
“We all knew this was Mani (sir’s) dream project, so the fact that I was associated with him on a project of such grandeur itself was an honour. I’ve been hearing whispers about him adapting the novel for the big screen for such a long time that it felt surreal when it actually happened.”Costume Designer on working with Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan
Eka Lakhani’s PS-1 costumes had tremendous historical research
Ponniyin Selvan is enjoying worldwide success. People are showering praises on the movie. In the movie is shown the grandeur of the Chola Kingdom like never before. Not many know that the final outcome of the movie is a result of massive historical research that Eka did in coming with the costumes. Being a story of the royalty in the tenth century, the designer had more than eighty individuals over the project.
The project was an elaborate and took the team over a year and involved sequences of battlefields and dance sequences. Not only did the designer understood the background of the period story was set in, but also studying the intricate details such as dances and costumes of that era. Considering the massive task ahead, she did not leave anything to hit and trial. Subsequently, she decided to study the remains of the statues and visited Tanjore. The visit helped her to understand the costumes of the era. Astute precision was considered while designing the costumes. Minute detailing such as draping of a turban or the yardage, or even the outfits of the characters in the battlefields were taken into consideration.
The real inspiration behind Eka Lakhani’s PS-1 costumes was authenticity
Costume Designer recalled working hard to bring the same feel of the era the movie reflected. From Traditional motifs, animals, flowers to time-honoured designs, south Indian lexicon, mangoes to the rudraksha and trees, everything had a detailed planning. Also, the garments (especially for the women) were classic: pleated blouses without straps, draped dhotis or skirts and then a sculpted drape over these two pieces completed the look.
“We tried to dye the costumes in natural colors. So, we tried everything from haldi, Kumkum, kesar and fruit peels but while the color was achieved, we couldn’t achieve the richness so we opted for natural colors.”Eka on her preparation for the movie Ponniyin Selvan
As far as designing for Aishwarya Rai and Trisha Krishnan was concerned, Eka claimed the same detailing went into that as well. For other characters such as male lead Vikram, lot of blue and black to denote his fierceness and is always ready with Armour while Jayam Ravi, who is a prince is given softer hues in keeping with his character.