What Happens to an Iconic Bollywood Costume after the Movie Has Been Made?

The glitzy world of Bollywood always gives us styling ideas, but the glamorous clothes that are worn by stars end up in a trunk

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What is a Bollywood film without those haseen vadiyaas, that khula asmaan, the image of actresses dancing in sexy chiffon saris against the backdrop of snow valleys, and costume changes every 30 seconds? Most movies have countless costumes changes, and not a single item of clothing is repeated after usage in one scene. Ever wondered what happens to those tons of clothes after the movie is made in entirety?

Once the whole film is shot, the costume department is left filled with stacks of clothes. Those outfits worn by the characters of Leela and Mastani in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movies may have given you ethnic wardrobe goals, but you may be a little disappointed to know that those clothes, as well as many other outfits, are sitting idle in trunks and cartons.

“When it comes to costumes, there is a whole process that is followed. The team works on details like what clothes we need, what outfit the actor will wear in a particular scene, and for how many seconds or minutes. But once the movie is over, all the costumes are collected and filled in different cartons. At times, big trunks are stuffed with them. Each trunk or carton is labelled with the name of the movie, the year and the name of the character who wore the costumes. Then these containers are kept in a storage house where plenty of other such cartons are kept,” reveals a source who works closely with the Yash Raj Production House.

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You read that right, the sexy ghagra choli that Deepika donned in the movie Ram Leela, or those beautiful outfits that Sonam wore in Aisha, or even that golden anarkali Mastani wears in Bajirao Mastani that we couldn’t stop talking about — all those costumes are locked up somewhere in dark corners and nobody knows what will happen to them. In fact, there are various costumes that have been forgotten and no one cares about them anymore. The wrap-up of a film truly reveals the real value of costumes that take many months and lakhs of rupees to make.

However, not every piece of clothing is forgotten. “At times, these clothes are reused. The costume department brainstorms and tries to work on designs to think about how they can be used or if they can be recycled at all. But none of these reused costumes are worn by the leads or supporting cast members. Only junior artists will be seen wearing them. But you will not be able to recognise these clothes because the combinations are made with extreme care. Designers literally create a whole new costume by using what has already been worn once,” shares a source close to the Dharma Production House.

“When you hire a high-end designer, there are a number of clothes that are created for the leads. When designers like Manish Malhotra, Neeta Lulla or Anju Modi come on board, they usually take these exclusively designed costumes along with them when the film is made. They use these fabrics or styles for their upcoming collections. And you will never know that the outfits worn by their show shoppers may have a piece of cloth that was once used in a costume that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan or Deepika Padukone wore,” said the source from the Yash Raj Production House.

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Sometimes, some actors take the costumes home. On the other hand, some costumes are put on auction and the money from these sales is donated to charity. For example, Akshay Kumar’s outfit from Oh My God, Kareena Kapoor’s sari from the song ‘Halkat Jawaani’, and Salman Khan’s towel from the title track of Mujhse Shaadi Karogi were auctioned off to raise money for charitable causes.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could have access to these clothes so that we could wear them to fancy parties and big fat weddings? That way, we could have the wardrobes we always dreamt of. Whether it is Anjali’s feminine look from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, or Alizeh’s outfit from the song ‘Channa Mereya’, or Deepika’s ‘hot chick’ vibe from Cocktail, and even the high-end style of Priyanka Chopra from Dil Dhadakne Do, we could have it all. We would even shell out the money to pay for these clothes just so we could own these designer pieces.

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Alas, this is not possible, so all we can do is keep obsessing about these mesmerizing outfits and hope that one day, they will be available for us to buy!