Aki Narula’s ambitious styling project for Kareena Kapoor in Kambakkht Ishq has paid off. Kapoor’s ensembles won’t be establishing any new trends but reinforce already established international ones that hadn’t really taken off in India in a big way yet. After this movie, the mismatched appeal of, say, a cobalt blue dress with sunshine yellow heels won’t be seen as an exception, but the norm.
As shallow as it sounds, it would be safe to say that Kapoor’s clothes in the film are the best thing about it. The script is nonsensical, acting is nonexistent and music is nothing to write home about, so the styling is what got our attention and sustained it. In most Bollywood movies, the function of the stylist is to make the actor look as fabulous as possible, no matter what the character, and this one is no exception. But after factoring that out of the equation, it’s fun to look at the parade of babydoll dresses Narula has sourced.
Still from the movie ‘Kambakkht Ishq’ starring Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor
Kapoor is studying to be a surgeon, and moonlights as a model to pay the bills. Of course, Kapoor who’s on the wrong side of five feet as a supermodel is a tough pill to swallow, but stay with us. To stay true to her model image, she’s in a parade of short dresses accessorized with sky-high stilettoes and clutches, both in colours that are a big contrast to her clothes. Jewellery has been kept to a minimum—Narula concentrates on her arms and accessorizes with bold cuffs and bangles.
We’re grateful that Narula attempted to be original and didn’t put Kapoor in a parade of couture dresses and designer-logo handbags. He says he shopped at vintage stores in Milan for the dresses and bought contrasting shoes and bags later.
There’s a line-up of party-worthy short dresses—a black one-shouldered sequined crotch-skimming number, the fitted cobalt dress she wears with yellow shoes in the promotional posters, a lovely trapeze-style pleated dress in yellow with a pink yoke. Narula’s inspiration for her look is the colour blocking trend, where the ensemble is divided into sections of different solid colours. So Kapoor’s wardrobe has a minimal amount of prints, only bright solid-coloured miniscule dresses, with shots of more bright colours in the shoes and bag.
And not to be outdone by Priyanka Chopra’s gold one-piece swimsuit in Dostana, Kapoor also has her moment in the sun, in a smoking black one-piece, which is infinitely sexier than a bikini. Speaking of bikinis, the only scene in which Amrita Arora sort-of sizzles is her purple bikini appearance.
Kapoor’s make-up is as far removed from the over-emphasized eyes and nude lips look of other films. Lips are stained peach and not over-glossed, while colours such as green enhance kohl-lined eyes. Kapoor’s hair is in a sleek ponytail with volume in the front, just before the title track, but then the filmmakers decided filmi is better than chic, and as soon as the song starts, she’s sporting a Bollywood-style, cascading straight hairdo.
All in all, Narula’s created a look that will be copied and remembered by Kapoor’s female fans for some time. The same, however, cannot be said about the film.