Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor on Tuesday said filmmakers have preferred to cast her in girl-next-door parts rather than giving her the chance to star in a movie that will need her to wear heavy costumes and jewellery.
At the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival panel discussion on 'The Art of Costume Design - Celebrating the book and the legacy of Bhanu Athaiya', the actor, known for sartorial fashion choices off the screen, said she feels boxed in the image of a simpleton in films.
"I've done period dramas but for some reason, every director, even though I'm known for my clothes, every director likes me in simple clothes and no make-up. I'm always (playing) the girl-next-door. I've never done a period film with jewellery and Indian clothes," she said during the event.
Sonam added, "(In films) I'm always wearing simple salwar kameez... So, my dream is to do a period dramatic role one day," Kapoor said, adding that she fulfils her desire to wear extravagant dresses for her red carpet appearances."
The 38-year-old actor believes movies have inspired people's fashion choice for years.
"Cinema and films have a huge impact on how people dress... With her designs, Bhanu Athaiya created so many trends. With Sadhna ji, the short kurtas and tight churidars, which only Sadhna ji could wear... It was so significant that when you think of that era you think of that outfit." Filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker, who was also part of the panel, fondly remembered his experience of working with Athaiya, India's first Oscar winner, on two of his films - "Lagaan" (2001) and "Swades" (2004).
Athaiya had won the Academy Award for best costume design for Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi" in 1983. The director said he was in awe of the costume designer's "meticulousness" and "eye for detail".
"In 'Swades', we had a 'Ram Leela' song and in that the colour of the sari that Sita was wearing was so very important to her. She went and found the right colour. Even the look of Mohan Bhargav (Shah Rukh Khan), the kind of shirts he wears, she would herself go out and do things, and not rely on a research team or an assistant to get the job done.
"That is something that has stuck with me. I remember her to be the most hard working and soft-spoken. The only complaint I've against her is that she never gave me any sketches, which she made for my films. I had been telling her to, 'let me take a photo copy of it' and she did not let me take it." Gowariker also revealed that he pursued Athaiya to do the costumes for his 2008 critically acclaimed and blockbuster hit "Jodha Akbar".
"Despite my persistence and trying to request her, she had to pass on it. So 'Jodha Akbar' costume was done by Neeta Lulla. In her book, she praised the design, jewellery and the whole wardrobe of 'Jodha Akbar'. That was a graceful thing to do - to appreciate it in her own book. It was amazing," he said.
Athaiya died in 2020 at the age of 91. The event was also attended by Athaiya's daughter Radhika, who praised her mother's passion for art.
"She ate, lived and breathed art. This was her passion. She was able to give the focus because she single-handedly did the costumes, she made the sketch and invariably it would be the first sketch that would get approved whether it was with Raj Kapoor ji (or any other director)," she said.