When 25-year-old Nift graduate Nidhi Yasha came to Mumbai in 2008, it was to handle the menswear division for a retail brand. But with the global downturn affecting the fashion industry, Nidhi had to look for another opportunity. “Entertainment was one of the sectors that was least hit by the recession. With my technical know-how, I knew I could do well in TV, and films became the next obvious step,” says Nidhi.
Cut to 2012, when the 29-year-old has created the costumes for shows like Ram Leela, Devon Ka Dev Mahadev, Shobha Somnath Ki, Navya and films like Haunted, 1920 Evil Returns and Zilla Ghaziabad and even scooped up an Indian Television Academy Award. Says Nidhi, “When I began, I was told by many that TV will never support the quality and cost I was proposing. I find this untrue... many producers are driven to invest in setting new standards for their show’s look.”
Balancing out the opulent costumes for shows like Ram Leela with the more contemporary designs for Navya means Nidhi is never “bored”. “Every character is different. A costume never gets repeated,” she says.
Nidhi enjoys mythological, fantasy and historical projects more. Ram Leela is among her favourite shows, and Mohit Raina (who plays Lord Shiva in Mahadev) is the actor Nidhi has enjoyed working most with. “He has done full justice to the look I’ve created,” she enthuses.
The line between designing for TV and Bollywood is gradually blurring and Nidhi welcomes the change. She explains: “For a film, the number of costumes are pre-decided and locked beforehand, everything is more systematic, whereas in TV, one is churning out 22-minute footage every day, the storyline can change anytime. The number of costumes can never be accurately predicted. Costume designers have to work with crazier deadlines than even TV actors.”