Madhuri Dixit's Gulaab Gang showcases the power of pink

Written by Priya Adivarekar | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 10 2014, 18:54pm hrs
Madhuri Dixit will be seen sporting a unique bindi in Gulaab Gang, which signifies her character name, Rajjo. The alphabet R is written in devnagari script, using a stylish font.

Every time they are out to fight, the gang members are seen wearing an armour made of rope, which was hand stitched by Lakhanis team. Since the characters dont have access to metal or coins, they used rope to add a more realistic touch.

To help the character move around more comfortably, especially while they fighting, kicking or punching the enemies, the gang members are seen wearing a salwar. On a normal day, the women are seen wearing contrast coloured petticoats. The designer gave a peek -a-boo effect to the petticoat, whenever the pleats of their saree is tucked in.

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Only Ikat blouses are used for her outfits, mostly in darker hues and not necessarily matching to her saree. The sleeves are mostly three fourth. The back of the blouse has an interesting deep, key hole pattern, which does expose too much of her back keeping the characters age in mind.

The sarees worn by Dixit was draped in a Madhya Pradesh inspired style. Lakhani used cotton sarees and fabrics, which were mostly picked up from Pydhonie in Mumbai. The zig zag pattern on the bottom of the hem added an interesting touch.

SIMPLE juttis and covered shoes were mostly sourced from Jaipur to give an authentic look to their outfits.

Dressing up a group of vigilantes may not be that difficult, but when the theme of your film revolves around a certain colour, especially a shade that has always been associated with words like cute or pretty, restrictions and dilemmas do arise. When we asked designer Eka Lakhani about the process that she went through to get the shade of pink for the outfits in Gulaab Gang, she confessed that it was quite a task. Showing pink as a powerful color is very difficult. It has always been looked at as a pretty, petite and feminine hue. It doesnt go with arrogance, anger and aggression, which happens to be the attitude of the women in this film. Both Soumik (Sen) and I sat through several sessions of planning to get the right shade, stated Lakhani. As part of the process, they dyed various shades of pink, on both synthetic and cotton fabric. Eventually, they chose cotton and out of the hundred shades of pink that were dyed, a mix of magenta and fuschia pink was eventually chose. We like to call this shade a fierce pink, she adds. A lot of detailing went into the creation of outfits, especially the choice of accessories. To source these items, Lakhani visited small shops and markets located outside stations like Pydhonie, Malad, Santacruz among others in Mumbai. We tried to give every character a back story through different elements. For example: a character maybe from Gujarat, so we added ablas on the sleeve, tribal tattoos and vintage kadas to the outfits, mentioned Lakhani.

Politically correct

Instead of opting for the regular crisp, cotton sarees that are usually chosen for characters who play politicians, Lakhani chose soft fabrics for Juhi Chawlas politically correct and smart character Sumitra Devi. She will be seen wearing not more than 16 sarees in the film, most of which were picked up from hast kala or paramparika exhibitions held regularly in the city that includes Mul sarees woven with ikat border, kota printed sarees, Handloom raw silk sarees among others. Lakhani even picked up a few crisp fabrics, got them washed multiple times till it became softer than mul. Later, she got block printing done on the fabrics in the in-house unit owned by her. A simple braid and pair of wedges complete Juhis look.

Element hunt

Madhuri wears a very interesting dark magenta motif shawl in the film which, according to director Soumik Sen, signified power and strength. Soumik told me that the shawl was extremely important for her character. It adds a lot of power to her character, every time she wears it around her head, mentioned Lakhani. During a casual trip to the suburbs, she saw it hanging outside a small shop near Santacruz station. Lakhani immediately got down from the train and picked it up. I took it to Soumik and he said, this is exactly what I wanted. Later, we had to age the shawl a little, so we used fan paper and washed it multiple times. The actress is also seen wearing a pair of vintage anklets and a kada in the film. These accessories are owned by the designers grandmother.

Did you know

Designer Eka Lakhani kept a back up of close to 150 200 pink sarees on the sets, almost everyday. Since there were no special sarees created for any particular character, they would exchange and choose from the available options. A lot of these sarees were also used as part of setting or an activity, where the women would come together .