Mention South Korean cinema, and most people return a blank look. To have a change of heart and some enlightenment see The Throne (2013) and The Handmaiden (2017). Both films will convince anyone that Korean cinema has come of age. And in each of these two films, the costumes are opulent and dramatic. So much so that the viewer is left with many open mouth moments. In the award winning The Throne, the costumes are both regal and simple, and one can only marvel at how the designer has used a different aesthetic for the royal clothes in rich red and gold, versus the white and beige. It’s not just the clothes but the fabulous accessories that make the film a visual feast. The Handmaiden is a contemporary yet conservative narrative with clothing ‘to die for’.
Assam? Yes, Assamese films are emerging in a new wave of popularity. Look at Jahnu Barua’s films for proof. Like in Bengali cinema, the actors and acting take centre stage, relegating the clothing to play second fiddle. Despite the wardrobe simplicity, the clothing holds up brilliantly to the emotional content of fine cinema. Watch Baandhon (Waves of Silence); a 2012 Assamese language drama, starring Bishnu Kharghoria and Bina Patangia in the lead roles. The film was directed by Jahnu Barua and produced by Assam State Film (Finance & Development) Corporation Limited. It was initially released in October 2012 in the state of Assam, and later in July 2013 in select theatres across India. Assamese films deserve a wider audience for greater appreciation and applause.
Wendell Rodricks is an award winning fashion designer, writer and activist who is currently working on opening India’s first costume museum in his native village in Goa, www. modagoamuseum.org. He teaches History of World Costume, and is trained in Hollywood and Paris.
Illustration by Fabian Gonsalves. You can follow his work on instagram.com/fabskribbler
Read more from The Peacock: Issue 7 (2019) here: