Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor’s characters in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s megahit film Padmaavat have already left everyone spellbound. After making Sushant Singh Rajput look like a fitting warrior in Raabta, Delhi-based design house The V Renaissance has showcased their design proficiency once again in the Block-buster of the year. Designer duo Vipul Amar and psychologist Harsheen Arora combined their forces to create warrior costumes for Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in the movie.
“They first approached us to create one look for Ranveer Singh’s earlier battles in the film. During this time we had just finished work on a bridal lehenga in leather, they liked the technique that we had employed in that piece, thus they also asked us to create the armour for Shahid Kapoor’s final battle. After Mr. Bhansali saw these armours he then asked us to create one for Khilji’s final battle as well,” says Vipul.
These armours are a result of back-breaking research in terms of their authenticity and functionality. The duo consulted an engineer to confirm the mechanics incorporated in the armours. “ We employed actual historical techniques to create the armours” says Vipul.
Accompanying historical and functional research, the construction of the armours also comprises of Harsheen’s expertise of psychological analysis of the characters being portrayed by Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh. Interestingly, even though the same materials have been used in their armours, they have been treated differently to depict their opposing personalities. Both the characters are so strong and contrasting that the challenges while designing for both cannot be compared.
Harsheen says, “Once I was able to understand Mr. Bhansali’s vision of Maharawal Ratan Singh,it helped in bringing elements to his armour that represent nobility and honour. The blood red depicts honour, love, and eagerness to serve one’s land and the deep gold stands for courage, generosity and passion. Not only that, the design elements in Shahid Kapoor’s armour are inspired by the sun rays and the chest-plate is coloured like the Rajputana soil at different times of the day. Now if we see the details of the Armour for Maharawal Ratan Singh , the whole suit is a blend of shades of Rajputana Soil, shades of Gold , shades of Blood Maroon. A criss cross of geometrical design that sigifies purpose and direction which drives Rajput bravery. The principle of light and shadow has been the basis of designing these armours.”
On the other hand, Allaudin Khilji’s armour represents the Sultan that he envisioned himself as.
“The leather lions on his shoulders show his strong-headedness. The lions have been chiselled and hammered to bring into form – as part of the technique which is also symbolic to Khilji’s conquest.” says Harsheen.
“Ranveer Singh’s character required an embodiment of pure evil and ruthlessness, to portray this the top layer as well as the inner vest of the Armour is engraved with Alligator Scales. The skirt comprises of thousands of Individual fish scales that were hand crafted from Italian leather and fixed with two pin size metal studs per scale.
The shoulder guard of the Khilji armour consists of 3 layers each. Each layer employed a different technique on leather with design elements inspired from the era. The top chest plate is made from another special kind of Italian Leather and an extensive process of engraving and sculpting has gone into it.
Even the storage of these costumes is one of a kind. When not in use, the armours rest on life-sized mannequins, which are then placed inside vintage closet trunks. These are no ordinary trunks since they are fitted with lights and wheels for easy transport when the armies are moving in caravans before settling at base camp. This simply adds to the authenticity of experiencing the armours.