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Having the right measure

Sizing them up all - stars big and small alike - is the famous Bollywood designer, Anna Singh. The design diva speaks to SURESH KOHLI


I kept getting compliments for the jewellery I created and that's how I got inspired to introduce a special line of custom-made costume jewellery ANNA SINGH


In her office stars come and go, talking only of dressing up, trying out their new outfits. She seems to strip them of their egos. This famous dress designer, not even in her mid-thirties yet but you name a star who has not supported her outfits, from Bada Bachchan to Chota Bachchan. She has worked on a record number of 550-plus films already, beginning with the late genius Mukul Anand who mistook her to be an aspirant who had walked into his office with the hope of a role in his new movie. But more than getting shocked, she appears to have shocked him by telling him she was no aspiring heroine but a costume designer he had invited to dress up his stars for his new movie. She must have been a stunner. For Anna Singh continues to be one as she measures up Lara Dattas and Ajay Devgans who drop by without appointments. She appears sheepish introducing them to this writer for these busy stars are not used to be waiting for others.

But this Bollywood numero uno design consultant feels she hasn't worked better, harder and been more content than giving almost three years of her life to Akbar Khan's magnum-opus Taj Mahal during the making of which she nearly came to be renamed, she says amused, Anna Jampuri or Jodhpuri for the amount of fabric yards she cut to tailor out costumes for countless artistes in the film.

Mind-boggling


Her career brief is indeed mind boggling for someone so young, amenable yet fastidious, busy yet reachable. She has worked on high-profile celebrity wardrobes and costumes; has been official designer for various beauty pageants and Femina Miss India for five years, and Miss World and Miss Universe; did personal wardrobe for Michael Jackson when he visited India for a concert; worked on 150 ad films; participated in 40 fashion shows; and is the only Indian designer to be a fashion consultant and image makeover expert and consultant for some Indian websites. Indeed, the rise of this gold medallist from the J.J. School of Arts to fame actually began with an image build-up of Jackie Shroff in 1986. She has won the Rajeev Gandhi, and the Rashtriya Ekta award for contribution and achievements as fashion designer to Indian film industry. Anna is also passionate about jewellery designing, and was thrilled during the making of Taj Mahal that afforded her an opportunity to hone her skills. Going back in time this beautiful designer confessed, "When I worked with my costumes and bridal wear, I laid great emphasis on jewellery and accessories and not just the garments to complete the look. I kept getting compliments for the jewellery I created and that's how I got inspired to introduce a special line of custom-made costume jewellery, beginning with an avant-garde line of 30 exceptional pieces that were the master designs."

It is style, substance, and creativity. In Bollywood, they come in the unassuming, assured form of Anna Singh.

SURESH KOHLI

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