Around the world in disguises

Randeep Hooda

Look matters

Talking about Hooda’s contribution, Asgarally mentioned that the actor has perfected each look with great attitude and has carried off every outfit with élan. “He is a brilliant actor and understands that costume plays a very important role in essaying this character. Not only was he extremely co-operative, but was involved at every stage, right from sketch to fittings. Randeep gave us valuable inputs as how he visualises the character of Charles.”

Hair: The hair and make-up department followed the overall brief and created sketches by the designers. Hooda can be seen sporting a side swept hairstyle with thin side burns.

Sunglasses: Certain items like Charles’s sun glasses were picked up from vintage shops. The one dominantly used in the film is an original 1970’s frame, which was refitted.

Tie: All the ties used in the film were handpicked from old collections, used by friends and family members of Asgarally.

Blazer: The fabrics for his jackets and blazers were carefully chosen so that the colour palette is not disturbed. Two and three piece suit styles, that were trendy in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, were used. A lot of checkered fabrics were also used.

Did you know: A lot of expensive vintage cuff links and watches were also used as part of the look, as Charles Sobhraj was a man of expensive tastes. The blazers and leather jackets used in scenes, in which he is dressed as a Nepalese royalty, were sourced from Nepal.

On the con trail

An extensive three months of research went into creating a collage of looks for Hooda’s character

According to designer Salim Asgarally, styling a character’s look especially, when it spans from the ’70s to the ’90s is a challenge that he readily took up. As each decade had its own dominant fashion trend and bringing out the essence of each era to dress up actor Randeep Hooda as a fictionalised character, Charles, in Main Aur Charles involved lot of research and an eye for details. Thus, in director Prawaal Raman’s Main Aur Charles, Hooda’s character will be seen sporting different outfits and disguises.. Keeping in mind that the fictional character (written according to the experiences and accounts shared by real life cop Amod Kant with the makers) was known for his debonair appearances, Asgarally has designed a different look for every city that the con-man visited.
“The brief given by Prawaal was very clear. The character’s look had to reflect the eras that were being depicted in the film. We did not want to use cliché and done-to-death trends like polka dots and loud colours,” mentioned Asgarally, who along with his team went through three months of extensive research to put all the looks together. Apart from looking for references online, they went through magazines like The Illustrated Weekly of India and different style catalogues and images to create a collage of looks for Hooda’s character. “Colours and styles had to be tweaked so that a consistent image is achieved throughout the film, thereby avoiding any patchiness,” he adds.

The designer admits that the process was extremely challenging, given the range and scope that the film offered. Main Aur Charles follows the journey of the character from Bangkok to Delhi, Mumbai and Goa, with a few scenes which were also shot in Tihar jail and the Tees Hazaari Court in Delhi. Asgarally adds, “Charles, the character, was an extremely intelligent, well travelled and a fashion savvy person with an inimitable personal style. Every outfit used in the film had to be created from scratch. Even the jeans were tailored, as that was the trend in those days, since branded jeans were not easily available as they are today. Textures played a very important role, as both Prawaal and I believe that it plays a large role in creating the right feel of the looks. So, we used fabrics like double knits, which were actually worn in that era. Some of them came in yardage, which we had to unearth from old godowns and closets in India.” Hooda’s character will be seen in different disguises which include playing a Nepalese royalty, a savvy art dealer among others. There is even a breezy, hippie like countenance in Goa, where he will be seen in swimming trunks and shorts. While in Bangkok, he will be seen wearing a lot of checkered shirts, suave trench coats and beret caps.
Since the outfits had to look dashing, the dominant colour palette used throughout the film is very muted and subtle. “Sand, sky blue, olive, coffee and greys are the dominant colours that make up the palette, with white and off-white thrown in for good measure,” adds the designer. Since the retro era was well known for its quirky style, the designer admits to have taken inspiration from a few popular trends, that were even sported by Charles. “We used upturned hems for the trousers and patch pockets, a lot like what was trendy then. Wide bottom jeans with top stitching and suits with broader lapels were the finer details that were worked in to achieve the correct feel,” mentioned Asgarally.

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