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Our clothes are always on point: Karan Johar on Manish Malhotra


The Ae Dil Hai Mushkil filmmaker talked about his working relationship with costume designer Malhotra that somehow always manages to produce successes.

(Photo: Shutterbugs Images)

Sonal Pandya

The filmmaker whose latest film, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, has just hit theaters, moderated the lively panels on the synergy of fashion and film with shoe legend Christian Louboutin, fashion designer Prabal Gurung and actress Katrina Kaif, at the recently-concluded MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.

The famous t-shirt from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

Johar talked about his awareness of fashion and cinema through his first film and the impact on ordinary people. He recalled, “I had bought this Polo Sport T-shirt for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), which Manish Malhotra and I had gotten. We stared at it for hours. It cost 90 pounds that time and we said it’s not worth it. It’s too expensive.” 

Johar had a budget to adhere to and already his father Yash Johar thought he was mad for shopping for the film in London. “It was a tight, cycling t-shirt, but we liked the colour. And we went back, we actually slept over it and like a life changing and altering decision, I looked at it and said, “Let’s do it!” We’ll sacrifice two of Kajol and Rani’s outfits. We’ll get them cheaper, we’ll go and buy that t-shirt. So we went and bought it." 

He only found out the impact of his impulse buy after the film was released. “Three weeks after the release, early in the morning, those days were not milk packet days, there was actually a dhoodhwala bhaiya who used to come and give you your milk. It was early in the morning and I was awake, the bell rang and my dhoodhwala was wearing the Polo Sport t-shirt and I looked at him with pride. Sometimes, we’re all somewhere necessarily and we get inspired, we sometimes copy it vehemently. And that doesn’t make that garment lesser, it makes sure that your reach is higher,” he explained.

Manish Malhotra
(Photo: Shutterbugs Images)

Johar spoke about his friend and costume designer to the stars, Malhotra. “The most important thing about Manish Malhotra is just like Christian and Prabal, he has an inherent obsession for cinema. When I met for the first time in 1993, we discussed Sridevi. It was our bonding moment. Then I realised that passion never got diluted. Even today, 25 years in the business, he’s like an excited child about every garment. I sometimes look at him in awe, he’s worked in over 800 movies and his level of excitement is the same. That’s a message to all professionals that you don’t compromise on.”

He also said, on a personal level, “Certainly we’re best friends. It’s a kind of professional marriage that I hope never divorce because we do solid work together. Irrespective of the films, our clothes are always on point.”

Malhotra has worked on Johar’s films from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.