By Hooks or by Crook

Amber Dhara, the new Sony TV launch is the story of conjoined twins and how they battle out in the big bad world. Right from the concept, to casting to designing costume for the twins, everything about the show was challenging. Dressing the twins was trickiest of all. The designer-duo Runali Bhagat and Karishma Lalani did extensive research and experimentation to ensure that the costume for the twins was not only good but also comfortable and easy to wear.

Runali Bhagat shares her experience of dolling up Amber and Dhara. She says, “We had to design costumes that were no where close to being normal. It was not just the complexities and the difficulties that we faced while designing but we also had to keep the comfort of the girls in mind.”

Runali continues, “We had to avoid using stiff fabrics and we stuck to lycra and other stretchable materials for easy movements. After much experimentation we got the tact and skill right. We also had to keep in mind the personalities of the conjoined girls and design two different costumes. While Amber is very modern and outgoing with a western outlook, Dhara is traditional and subdued. Both their costumes were poles apart and keeping the varied colours, textures and fabrics in mind, was quite a task. We also couldn’t afford to let them look shabby on the screen.”

She shudders as she recalls that initially everything would come apart but they continued to experiment. Runali says, “For keeping their costumes together, we experimented with velcro, touch buttons, hooks etc. We’ve used special zips that can attach and detach any two different costumes,” explains Runali.

What kind of home work did the designers have to do while designing for the twins? “We watched the film Stuck on You to see how the garments were attached together. Our tailors had no concept of conjoined twins, so it was task to explain it to the masterji (tailor).They would often ridicule us saying ‘are you all mad, aise bhi kapde koi pehenta hai?’ I must say that the girls were completely flabbergasted with their new costumes,” says Runali.

Since Runali and Karishma had other commitments they had to hand over the task to designer Amrish. Says Amrish who is handling the next schedule of the serial, “I’ve been on the job for two months and it is important to make the twins look as real as possible keeping their individual characteristics intact. The look, however, changes with the storyline. This is definitely the most challenging job I’ve ever taken up.”

Amrish adds, “I’m amazed at their support and co-operation in experimenting and trying out new things.”

Ashwini Deshmukh

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