Vidya Balan made me comfortable’ says her costume designer for ‘Begum Jaan: Rick Roy – Designer and stylist Rick Roy on nailing the style geometry for the actress in her next film
When you barely have 20 days to start a shoot for a period film and you have a plethora of outfit changes to come up for the film’s leading lady and you have nothing to reference, it can be a tap dance on a high wire. And that’s what Rick Roy had to confront with when he was offered Begum Jaan starring Vidya Balan. He had to strike the delicate balance between the historical facts and the brief given to him. “I was itching to work on a period film for a long time as I’m usually associated with glamour,” says the stylist.
The Period Paintbrush
Roy put his thinking cap on and came up with his own vision of the powerful, fearless Begum. From the naturally dyed pure cottons sourced from around the country to an array of custom-made artisanal jewellery pieces with an antique finish. “The research was exciting and challenging. A friend’s grand-mom showed me some jewellery dating back to the pre-Partition era and I re-imagined and recontextualised it to complement the film’s narrative.
The director identified one strong jewellery piece, which would be seen on Vidya throughout the film. At the outset, it was supposed to a tabeez, but when I showed him a vintage pendant studded with minakari and panchratna, he loved it.”
Working with Vidya
Did the Begum have any inputs on the brainstorming table? “Vidya made me comfortable. She was supportive and I could call her any time to do a trial. The only thing she cared about was the comfort of the fabric because we shot in 46 degrees heat,” says he. In the film’s trailer, one sees Vidya sans make-up. Rick says, “Back in the day, women in that part of Punjab only wore kaajal. Vidya would wake up in the morning and touch up her kaajal. I ensured that her hair also had a rough texture because her character was out in the sun all the time.”
Breaking the cocoon of glamour
Rick’s happy with the way his vision has shaped up. “I hope this film will change people’s perception about me as a designer. My persona as an item song designer or glamour stylist sort of restricted me as an artist so far,” he concludes.