After making Sushant Singh Rajput look like a fitting warrior in RAABTA, Delhi-based design house The V Renaissance has showcased their proficiency once again in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus PADMAAVAT.
Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor’s characters in PADMAAVAT have already left everyone spellbound. Designer duo Vipul Amar and psychologist Harsheen Arora combined their forces to create warrior costumes for Shahid and Ranveer in the movie.
“They first approached us to create one look for Ranveer Singh’s earlier battles in the film. During this time we had just finished work on a bridal lehenga in leather, they liked the technique that we had employed in that piece, thus they also asked us to create the armour for Shahid Kapoor’s final battle. After Mr. Bhansali saw these armours he then asked us to create one for Khilji’s final battle as well,” shares Vipul.
These armours are a result of back-breaking research not only in terms of their authenticity but also the functionality. The duo consulted an engineer to confirm the mechanics incorporated in the armours. “Authenticity and mobility of the armours was our prime concern as it is imperative that the actor is able to perform stunts in them. Hence, we carried out thorough research on the armouries and weaponries of the era around which the film revolves. We employed actual historical techniques to create the armours such as cuirboilli technique, sculpting, chiselling, inlaying to name a few, while making sure they align with today’s standards of comfort and weightlessness,” added Vipul.
Khilji Chest plate detailing armour
Chest plate of Khilji and Ratan Singh
Alauddin Khilji's full armour
(Top)Basu and Harsheen Arora working on the details and (R)Maharawal Ratan Singh’s full armour
“The leather lions on his shoulders show his strong-headedness. The lions have been chiseled and hammered to bring into form - as part of the technique which is also symbolic to Khilji’s conquest. Also, the darkness of the character has been enhanced by engraving reptile scales on the lion heads. An engineer was consulted to make the movements of the Armour functional and to create a domino effect to the whole look. The ergonomics were looked into with equal priority as the designs were looked into. Our design studio for those 10 months homed every kind of mason and technician of highest accumen. This has been the experience of a lifetime,\" signed off Harsheen.
On the other hand, Allaudin Khilji’s armour represents the Sultan that he envisioned himself as. The Khilji Armour is larger than life magnanimous armour that has been created in multiple layers. Ranveer Singh’s character required an embodiment of pure evil and ruthlessness, to portray this, the designer had the top layer as well as the inner vest of the Armour engraved with Alligator Scales.
Accompanying historical and functional research, the construction of the armours also comprises of Harsheen’s expertise of psychological analysis of the characters being portrayed by Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh as actors along with Mr. Bhansali’s vision of his characters. Ratan Singh is an embodiment of love and patriotism while Allaudin Khilji embodies conquest and invasion.
Interestingly, even though the same materials have been used in their armours, they have been treated differently to depict their opposing personalities.
Talking about what went behind making Shahid’s armour, psychologist Harsheen shares, “Once I was able to understand Mr. Bhansali’s vision of Maharawal Ratan Singh, it helped in bringing elements to his armour that represent nobility and honour. Even the colours used for Shahid’s armour show just that. The blood red depicts honour, love, and eagerness to serve one’s land and the deep gold stands for courage, generosity and passion. Not only that, the design elements in Shahid Kapoor’s armour are inspired by the sun rays and the chest-plate is coloured like the Rajputana soil at different times of the day. Now if we see the details of the Armour for Maharawal Ratan Singh, the whole suit is a blend of shades of Rajputana Soil, shades of Gold, shades of blood maroon. A criss-cross of geometrical design that signifies purpose and direction which drives Rajput bravery. On the chest of the Armour lays an inlay work of Metal wire running on the leather bust, a mark of Valour. Vipul Amar being a cinematic person created the colour and wire pattern keeping in mind how the camera will see the armour as well. The principle of light and shadow has been the basis of designing these armours.”
Designers Harsheen Arora and Vipul Amar