Iran and Tamil

2004 was the year that the first ever IFFI occurred on the Goan banks of the Mandovi River. It caused a stir and the then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar worked tirelessly to see a dream become a reality. In this column we will examine the best films that celebrate costume and clothing on celluloid since the past fifteen years. Each day we will explore a foreign and Indian film that part from the storyline speak about the clothes.

Iran has consistently produced films that are award winning. In 2004 the Golden Peacock went to The Beautiful City. Other award winning films followed. A Separation that win an Oscar in 2011, Daughter in 2016 and The Salesman In 2017. What is interesting in Iranian cinema is that there is not much importance or budget put into the costumes. They are clothes that are every day garments that merely serve as an almost non entity for the thespians to display their art form. Which is why the above mentioned films gain prominence…for the acting and emotion. That said, each movie has stayed the realistic course with the authentic costumes that are no fussy, minimal and true to the time frame in celluloid.

Ask any Tamilian conegoer to pick a standout film for costume and the newer dwindles down to two. Sringaram made in 2007 with the delicious Aditi Rao Hydari stealing every scene with her beauty as a danceuse. The story line is of a girl in prime dancing her way to glory despite the resistance she faces. In the mix is great makeup, jewellery, sari drapes and exquisite foot work. The other movie that Tamil cine goers love is Super Deluxe released this year in March. An unfaithful wife, an estranged father and an angry boy must all face their demons on one fateful day. That the costumes, like in Iranian cinema, play second fiddle to the story line does not eliminate the fact that these are clothes that satisfy the plot and satire the viewer. Between the two films, beauty wins over the beast. Sringaram is the winner.

Wendell Rodricks is an award winning fashion designer, writer and activist who is currently working on opening India’s first costume museum in his native village in Goa. . He teaches History of World Costume and is trained in Hollywood and Paris.

Artwork by Fabian Gonsalves.