Designer Ritu Kumar recreates Kashmir designs in latest flick

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Srinagar

As Kashmir has always been a fascination for Bollywood, be it a location or the tradition. This time it is a veteran fashion designer Ritu Kumar. For Ritu, Kashmir never stopped to inspire her design, craft and narrative she produces.

In a recently released film directed by Oscar Nominated Ashvin Kumar, the unique textile traditions from the valley are beautifully recreated by her and showcased by her son, Ashvin Kumar in No Fathers in Kashmir.

No Fathers in Kashmir

Kumar’s association with Kashmir has been a long, evocative journey. As a child, she spent a lot of time there during the summer holidays and part of her family also belonged to Kashmir. During that time, she developed a natural likeness towards the picturesque territory. “Later on as my career developed, I realised there was so much research to be done on the Kashmiri shawl and it was one of the most developed textiles in the world. People around the globe still copy the aesthetics of the shawl and call it ‘Pasiley’, however, it is basically the aesthetic of the weaving of the Kashmiri shawl that people actually wear today”, Hindustan Times quoted her as saying.

Even though the film is set in the early 20th Century, Kashmir has not changed much since and the aesthetics of that part of the world are so fine and detailed that one could really not have taken any modern clothes and put them into the scenario so it was even more imperative that someone more aware of the colours and traditions of Kashmir does the costumes for the film, Ritu said during an interview with Hindustan Times.

“I have recreated Kashmiri shawls for the film which were actually worn by the locals in the olden times. I tried to recreate the look of the shawls by printing them in Delhi, the idea was to make them look like the old shawls. There was a lot of research which went into making the costumes. Even though there were not many costumes in the film, we tried to recreate what people wear there which required a lot of research,” the report quoted Ritu as saying.

When asked how she managed to stay relevant to the narrative as far as the clothes are concerned, Ritu said she had French and an English team who handled different parts of the film. “We had to recreate the furnishings and interiors of the place because we couldn’t find something which looked authentic and the interiors of houses in Kashmir are very unique, for instance, the Kazak motifs on the Shikaras. It’s difficult to find fabrics like the ones available in Kashmir in modern day India and I had to recreate those as well for furnishing. The colour palette had to be kept well within control so the colours wouldn’t overshadow the sets, for instance even in the wedding sequence the colours had to be contained in a way,” she said.

While answering a question that how did her memory of Kashmir play a role, Ritu said after spending a considerable amount in the fashion industry, she realised that there was so much research that could be done on the Kashmiri shawls and it was one of the most developed textiles in the world. People around the globe still, copy the aesthetics of the shawl and call it ‘Pasiley’, however, it is basically the aesthetic of the weaving of the Kashmiri shawl that people actually wear today.

“I also tried to reproduce the Jamavar shawls by getting the local women from SEVA NGO to do the embroidery and make the women embroider the very beautiful phirans they wear but due to militancy and unrest in the area at the time we had to close down the unit and had to get them made in Delhi. I used a lot of different kinds of wools for the collection,” Hindustan Times quoted Ritu as saying.

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