Award-winning Indian Textile designer Gaurang Shah, who is making his film debut, says that 100 artisans worked relentlessly on the costumes of the legendary actress Savitri in her biopic Mahanati.
Shah is known for his exquisite work using Jamdani weave to create a unique fusion of fabrics and textures. He has worked as a costume designer for the big trilingual film Mahanati, which is slated for release in Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam May 9. Before he began designing her sari, he tried to understand the life of Savitri, interacting with people, industry folks for months.
In a statement released to the media, Shah said that it was a challenge to work in Mahanati, which explores important milestone in the life of the late south Indian actress.
Shah's statement read, "Choosing the right textile, weaving, texturing, and coloring to lend reality to the look of actress Savitri took many months. Over 100 artisans worked relentlessly to ensure the weaving process was uninterrupted as the whole progression took more than a year and a half from the inception of the costumes to the conclusion of the last shoot."
The costume designer , who has numerous celebrities adoring his inventive textile craftsmanship using jamdani weave, added, "It was a challenge right from the beginning, what excited me the most was a perfect opportunity to showcase Indian saris in its fullest grandeur, with utmost simplicity through the journey of the legendary actress Savitri on the big screen."
Talking about director Nag Ashwin's vision of Mahanati, Shah said, "It was a beautiful journey even for me and my team capturing different moods and sequences in the film. Recreating the sensibilities of the actress including elements such as the choice of fabric types and the textures were immensely satisfying for me as a textile designer."
Shah and his team sourced heavy silk fabrics from different parts of India like Kanchipuram and Benares. He said, "We used tones that carry a lot of radiance and associated with awe feminine character, balanced it with traditional at-that-era of colors since Savitri outfits were all about simplicity and opulence."
The costume designer explored and recreated textiles to weave her journey from her childhood to her passing away. From Mangalgiri's and Kota's with prints for her adolescent days, to heavy brocades, silks, organza's and handwoven sateen's, chiffons for her golden era to subtle rendition for her later life. His team travelled extensively to museums and recreated the textiles of that time. Each and every detail were studied and artisans were guided to recreate it.
The most anticipated biopic #Mahanati Official Teaser has been out. The First look of @KeerthyOfficial as legendary actress #Savitri also has been revealed. #KeerthySuresh looks surprisingly similar to #MahanatiSavitri with her retro style attire & we are in completely awe of it! pic.twitter.com/tj878HZkuv— YuppTV (@yupptv) April 14, 2018
The Textile designer said, " The director wanted me to make satins for specific scenes, but since I wanted all her looks to be pure handloom, I recreated the satin on handloom, and so for the chiffons and georgettes. For instance, I replicated Savitri's look for maya bazaar- which was a heavy kanjeevaram lehenga and blouse with an organza dupatta itself. It took us three months to get the colour, design and fabric woven."
Talking about his work, producer Priyanka Dutt said, "Gaurang has a unique knack for capturing ancient traditions of craft, antiques, and architecture to create his own signature which is a beautiful blend of past and modernity using jamdani weaving technique. This skill lent beautiful synergy and made things seamless."