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'I absolutely love Nakuul Mehta and Anya Singh'

Updated on: 03 May,2022 11:39 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Mohar Basu |

Costume designer Rick Roy on building the world of Zee 5 show Never Kiss Your best Friend season 2, comparisons with The Bold Type and pulling off the series despite budgetary limitations

'I absolutely love Nakuul Mehta and Anya Singh'

Karan Wahi with Nakuull Mehta and Anya Singh

Over the weekend, the one show that has struck a chord is Zee 5’s new series Never Kiss Your Best Friend Season 2. Taking the story ahead from season 1, the show delves into messy matters of the heart and explores friendship and relationship and everything in between. Amongst the many highlights of the series, besides the fantastic performances from leads Nakuul Mehta, Anya Singh and Karan Wahi is the show’s styling. Following the brief of creating the universe of a young-adult show to the tee, the series looks fashionably upbeat and peppy. Costume designer and Stylist Rick Roy walks us through how he built the second season. He tells us, “Season 2 is the next stage of the story. It is more in a professional space while season 1 was more in growing up space for the characters. Evidently, the bigger now and more stylish.We have a bigger cast with very important new main characters. Look wise I honestly wanted to top what we did in season 1. I wanted it to be more stylish without going away from the original essence.”

Ask him about his references and he says, “When we were designing the looks we didn't have a reference of a particular show but we had a visual in mind. I wanted Tani (Anya) in a specific way. She for me in this season was heavily inspired by South East Asian pop culture. I was inspired by HARAJUKU, the Japanese style street, multiple vibrant cross coloured layers and stuff but we simplified it to fit the character. Sumair (Nakuul) obviously I just wanted to follow the same ethos from season 1 but more style and added more colours to him as well. I wanted the show to be all pop. Lavanya (Sarah Jane Dias) I loved dressing. I love doing sexy things. She was a character from Devil wears Prada.   I went all out for her. We made most of her clothes including her fur coats because we were working off a limited budget and couldn't afford to buy anything branded. We managed to make her look uber posh and I feel that is the point of a designer. We need to make characters look good. It's not necessary to just buy the most expensive clothes, as long as you can make them look expensive on screen.” In recent times, Hulu’s The Bold Type comes off as the show that is the Holy Grail for stylists. “I started watching that series after I finished this show. I have been getting a lot of it from people saying it's got that Emily in Paris vibe. I take it like a huge compliment.”

Innovation is the mother of everything, believes Rick. Working off a limited budget, the stylist says he experimented through the making. “We had an extremely limited budget for this show. My full budget for one main character was almost the same as 1 expensive designer outfit. So it was a huge challenge but I guess somehow I made it happen. I also believe everything that looks expensive on screen doesn't always have to be expensive. That’s the difference when you get a costume designer versus a stylist. A stylist will pick from designers and brands based on your brief but when you hire a designer they will create the same look and make it better for you without the added prestige price. It turns out to be more cost efficient. This show is a prime example of that. We barely got a budget to pick high street or luxury brands but when you see the show you do not notice that at all.”


The show is personal growth for Rick, who has previously done Tumhari Sulu and Begum Jaan amongst several other projects. “I have always had to fight against limited perception about myself and my work. When I worked with Malaika and people loved the looks we did people said oh he does high glam sexy. Producers would only call me for songs and not give me full films. I got fed up with that tag and I really worked hard to prove I can do real looks and period stuff . Then came Sulu which became a huge hit and again suddenly I was stuck with the branding that I was the designer to go to only for ghareloo middle class looks and it is so frustrating. A producer actually told me to my face - "I feel you do the saree blouse space well but I am not sure not sure you can pull off cool”. I mean look at this show. I can ace cool! I consciously decided to not take up work in the real so-called 'saree blouse" space to break away from that image. So I guess through this show I have proven my point that I can do every genre of work.”

The heart of the show for him is working with his favourites Nakuul and Anya. “I absolutely love Nakuul and Anya. It’s such a delight to work with actors who understand limitations of production and are non demanding. In fact, Nakuul after a look test sits with me and makes his notes on clothes scene wise. Literally I never had to look into it again. I just send him the looks to wear and he comes out wearing it. Simple! Anya is my doll. I love to dress her. I have to say she is turning into quite a style star. In season 1, I had to keep telling her to be more confident about herself. This time whatever I threw at her she came out wearing it with so much confidence. It was amazing to see that transformation. Karan Wahi is all heart. I absolutely love him. He is one of the sweetest people I have known. When I got covid in London he actually sent me a bag of stuff with food and champagne and sent me the sweetest message. It helps that everything looks good on him. And he doesn't question anything. Sara is quiet but sometimes comes across as cold and diva-ish but that is totally untrue. She is extremely warm and caring. It was a good team!”

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