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Manish Malhotra talks about fashion, films and friends

Designer to the stars and the rich, Manish Malhotra talks about a few of his favourite things

There's no stopping Manish Malhotra. The designer, who confesses that given an option he would work on Sundays too, manages to put up various shows across the country, in addition to creating costumes for some of Bollywood's biggest films. Tomorrow, he will be presenting a line for a cause that he's been associated with for four years, the annual Cancer Patients Aids Association (CPAA) show.

Manish Malhotra. File pic
Manish Malhotra. File pic

The collection will be an extension of Malhotra's Regal Threads line, which he had launched earlier and will be using a variety of handloom textiles. One will see semi-formal wear, cotton from Andhra Pradesh, cotton woven with silk and mulmul and the south checks (woven by Benarasi weavers) and Bandhini combination seen in his Regal Threads line. The colour shades will range from ivory and pastels to black. "I started in the industry by designing costumes and have completed 25 years; my label is still 10 years old. When we first did the Mijwan (Shabana Azmi's project) show, there were just 40 women; today, 280 women are working for the line. I always do solo shows, but the CPAA show is the lone one where two designers showcase together — Shania NC and myself, as she introduced me to this project," he shares. Shabana Azmi, Huma Qureshi and Athiya Shetty will be showstoppers for his show tomorrow. "With social media, every designer has to do the Instagram, Facebook and Twitter bit. This has increased the audience for the label and it reaches the whole world," he explains.

Glitz and glamour
"When I did a show in 1999, Urmila (Matondkar) was the show stopper. Critics condemned it saying that there is too much bling and Bollywood. But I had the last laugh. Today, every designer runs after celebrities to get them to wear their clothes," he tells us. However, Malhotra feels that having a celebrity wear your dress is not the end of the battle. "An actress will wear one outfit in the morning and another two in the evening. The scene is vast and hip, and it is difficult to make a mark on people's memories because there are so many options (international designers too). The only thing that will work is consistency."

The ladies man
Malhotra loves the stardust attached to his label. Matondkar, who was one of his earliest muses and is a close friend, got hitched recently. Her wedding trousseau was his creation. "I jumped on the sofa when Urmila told me that she is getting married as it was sudden news. I made her wedding outfit in five days. And unlike what people feel, I didn't play the cupid. She met him at my niece's wedding, and that's it," says an overjoyed Malhotra.

He's done work for his other favourite, Kareena Kapoor Khan in her forthcoming release Ki & Ka. "I don't want to do films where I have to shop abroad and create costumes. I want to design more. Kareena is a friend, so this film wasn't a problem, but sourcing clothes from elsewhere doesn't excite me anymore," he confides. Malhotra has always been a film buff (he wanted to direct a film; the script has been ready for a decade) and has many films in his bag this year — Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Sridevi for Mom and Alia Bhatt for Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Though his heart lies elsewhere, "I am the only designer who started designing for films and then created my label. But if I had to pick — I would pick my label."

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