By Dhwani Mody
Rajinikanth’s Kochadaiiyaan will be the first Indian film that will use 3D performance capture computer animation. Directed by Rajinikanth’s younger daughter Soundarya R. Ashwin, the actor is cast as the archetypal superhero in the epic dramatisation of good versus evil. Rajinikanth plays a double role, with Deepika Padukone being paired opposite the younger character. The film’s uniqueness also stems from the fact that this project combines many modern technologies to aid in visual storytelling of the mythological character, Kochadaiiyaan—Lord Shiva as he is known to the devout.
Designing the costumes for the epic character was not an easy task for designer, Neeta Lulla, who took on the challenge to create a look for each of the characters. Lulla and her team immersed themselves in extensive research over a period of time in order to craft the perfect look and deliver intricate luminosity to each of the garments designed for the film. Interestingly, while shooting for the film, the actors wore body suits and later the sequence was given to Lulla, who had to add the sketches of the costume design on the characters using 3D motion capture computer animation technology.
The Shiva Avatar : This look of Rajinikanth was inspired by Lord Shiva. Two to three different looks were sketched of the actor, before the team finalised two extremely diverse looks played by him in the film. Anklets, earrings, and armbands formed an essential part of the look, while rudraksh was used in creating the long neckpiece.
ARMOUR : Lulla created a range of 20-30 looks for Rajinikanth’s armour suit, as well as for the supporting cast. The armour suit included predetermined detailing that was achieved through a careful understanding of the character’s movement and appeal, in keeping with the authenticity and credibility of the era. As opposed to the previous look, this one didn’t require many accessories, except for a few scenes.
* Mounted on a majestic canvas, 150 costumes per character were designed on paper, out of which 20-25 costumes for each character were selected. Due to the intricacy of the designs, the team worked on 25-29 costumes for each character, providing minute details.
* The animation team was divided into three groups— India, China and L.A. Lulla held briefing sessions with her teams, to help understand the fabrics, colour schemes and the flow of the fabrics as they had to show difference in the culture.
*The entire look was created not in fabric form, but a detailed overview was sketched. Her creative team worked for almost eight months on the various characterisations of Rajinikanth and the supporting cast.
Princess attire : As Deepika Padukone plays the role of Princess Vadhana, it was important for her character to look larger-than-life, with heavy jewellery in place. Jewellery of the medieval era was kept in mind, while deciding her look. A detailed research was made to make her look contemporary at the same time. Maang-tika, hair-jewels, kaccham, and payals were made with extensive usage of gold and coloured stones.