The success of Aashiq Abu’s ‘Mayaanadhi’ has cemented Sameera Saneesh’s position as the leading costume designer in Malayalam moviedom. Sameera said that the hit movie was dear to her for more reasons than one.
The designer was pregnant while she worked on the movie. Her baby was just 15 days old when she designed the gown that the lead actress wears in the final scene of the movie.
Sameera said that the gown was easily her favorite. The audience seemed to agree.
» How do you recollect your association with ‘Mayaanadhi’?
I designed realistic costumes for ‘Mayaanadhi’. The director had briefed me that the costumes should be as simple as the characters. So I mostly went for light and pastel shades. I have experimented with all types of dress such as casuals, jeans, sari and gown. I have selected the costumes to suit the characters and the situations.
» What kind of homework did you do for Appu and Mathan, the protagonists?
Actually, I did not get much time to do homework for ‘Mayaanadhi’. Usually, I get a month at least to prepare for an Aashiq Abu movie. But ‘Mayaanadhi’ started too soon. It’s relatively easy to work with Aashiq Abu. He gives the designer much freedom. I designed costumes for Appu and Mathan with that freedom.
» Was it an enjoyable experience?
I got only a short time to design costumes for this movie. I was pregnant while I worked on this movie. I had only heard the on-line when I started work on this movie. ‘Mayaanadhi’ was special to me in many ways. When Aashiq told me to start working, he had not even fixed a title for the movie. I was only told that this was a love story. I know Aashiq Abu’s heroines would be pretty and they would use very little makeup. I sketched Appu’s dress going by this logic.
I had tried to give Mathan an identity through his dress. His cap was part of it. I received very positive feedback on it.
» Appu’s sari and gown were the most noticed in the movie. Anything special about them?
I was only told that the sari was supposed to be worn in a wedding scene. I designed a green sari and sleeveless blouse. Then Shyam Pushkaran asked me if red would be better since the scene was to be shot at night. I told them to try it anyway. After they shot the scene, Aashiq Abu messaged me that the sari looked good.
That was an ordinary sari in bottle green color. The color was noticed and it was the highlight of the scene.
That gown was a personal challenge for me. When Aashiq Abu told me about the gown, my baby was hardly two weeks old. I was asked to take rest for at least 45 days but I left the child at home to go shopping for the gown’s materials. I was tensed at leaving the baby alone yet committed to make the job perfect. I had taken too much of a risk in designing that gown. I am happy that it was well received.
» So you would count ‘Mayaanadhi’ as one of your best works?
Definitely. I worked on the movie just two days short of my delivery. I resumed work two weeks after the delivery. This is the first movie I watched with my baby. So it will always be close to my heart.
» What about your new projects?
I am working on ‘Kammara Sambhavam’ and ‘Orayiram Kinakkal’