The chase began in 2006. Shah Rukh Khan slipped into the role of Vijay (Don) in Farhan Akhtar’s reinterpretation of the 1978 classic. He wore printed shirts and ties and carried off colour with aplomb as costume designer Aki Narula paid tribute to the 1970s. Recall that floral tie worn inside a patterned collared shirt with top button open?
Five years later, Akhtar scripts an original sequel that begins where the last film left off. New York-based Jaimal Odedra, whose work we’ve previously seen in Chandni Chowk to China, Patiala House and Game, styles the look for Khan in this big-ticket Christmas release.
Double bill: Dreadlocks and a “D” tattoo define Shah Rukh Khan’s look in the first half of Don 2
When we first see him in Don 2, Khan is in retirement. “He is chilling on a beach, wearing loose clothing. He has grown out his hair because he has the time to do it,” says writer-director Akhtar. The script required Odedra to create two looks because, obviously, it doesn’t take long for Don to get back into the groove.
Odedra’s first step was to watch Akhtar’s Don and interpret the character while accounting for the passage of time and looking for ways to incorporate current trends. He went for leather jackets, overcoats and layering. “We wanted to get away from the scruffy image of gangsters to a snazzy look, like you saw in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch. Don flies in a private jet and his clothes have to reflect that.”
The inspiration for this Don, says Odedra, is more “sophisticated cat burglar, the original Bond or Thomas Crown. A dapper gentleman like Cary Grant, a dandy like Johnny Depp, who may slip on a suit, but always adds that one killer accessory.” Don’s signature accessories include pocket squares and a holster, and of course, the stylized ‘D’ tattoo.
Since Don is the epitome of a supervillain, he had to look mean. “We also wanted to him to look sharp, strong in the film. So for the opening we decided to keep his hair longish. It works well because we have not seen Shah Rukh in that look before,” says Walter Dorairaj, hairstylist with b:blunt, Mumbai. The first time Khan’s personal hairstylist Dilshad Pastakia used hair extensions for Khan was 10 years ago, for Asoka.
Slim pants, biker jackets, gloves and trench coats with slick hairdo for back-in-action Don
Odedra says: “I never thought of Shah Rukh as a romantic hero. When you first see him in Don, he has long hair and a tattoo, he looks tough—someone you would not mess with. But to make it look like he has been on holiday, I dressed him in linens and softer shades. Since he was already growing his hair, he was game to try the extensions and dreadlocks.”
As the movie progresses, events compel Don to switch from laid-back to his action avatar. Out goes the grungy look—the linen pants, loose clothing and softer shades. The long hair is shorn for a businesslike, sophisticated appearance with leather jackets and pocket squares, but the tattoo stays. “It helps that he is in such good shape that I could put him in fitted vests, T-shirts, biker jackets and slim trousers. Yet we had to maintain elegance so even the biker jackets are not overdone with metal and zips. It had to be slim, fitted, shorter, modern jackets with pocket details and a single zip,” says Odedra.
New York-based designer Jaimal Odedra
“In Don, Khan was dapper and a little dandy. I wanted to take that further, so I have maintained the chic dandy aspect for the phase when he goes back to work and used rich fabrics like leather, silk and velvet in muted hues and jewel tones like wine red, petrol blue, coffee and tans. The colours are intensified to match the locations, which were lush, rich, chrome and steel; the fabrics had to echo that,” adds Odedra.
Most of the garments have been made especially for the film and not bought off the rack, says Odedra. Fabrics were sourced from New York, London and India, but almost all the tailoring was done in India. Given that Khan has long been the face of Tag Heuer in India, it comes as no surprise that Don has a Tag watch for every occasion. He also boasts stylish shoes (often Gucci or Dior), accessories like scarves and leather gloves.
Both Akhtar and Odedra say Khan was hesitant about the slim pants and the wetsuit for an underwater scene. “By the end of the film, he was convinced he looks good in slim pants. As for the underwater sequence, we had many jokes about the wetsuit,” says Odedra. Wait till December to know why.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org