Nandini Bhalla: What kind of films and books have shaped you?
Aditi Rao Hydari: So many of Mani sir’s films... One of the first films I watched of his was Bombay, and I was mesmerised by it, from the music to the cinematography and the actors. It sparked a desire in me, and I knew that is where I wanted to be. Then there are other films of his in Tamil like Mouna Ragam, Nayakan, Iruvar, and Alai Payuthey. After that, there was Dil Se... But there are other love stories as well, like Pan’s Labyrinth and Life Is Beautiful. While growing up, I read quite a bit of Isabel Allende and Amy Tam; again, these are within the realm of magic realism. And I truly enjoyed Pearl S. Buck because there was so much emotion and drama in her writing. It was very exciting.
NB: What do you think is the secret to getting over a heartbreak?
ARH: Oh my God, that is a very hard one! Begin with just acknowledging that you are heartbroken, rather than pretending that you are okay or doing something impulsive to get over it. You have to heal and nurture yourself and seal your heart back into feeling strong again. There are different ways of doing this, but you have to provide yourself with time, understanding, and gentleness. Many people suppress the pain and act alright on the outside, but carry a big gash within that keeps festering. Which, then, shows up in other relationships and equations. I think it is so important for people to heal from situations and reach a state of neutrality. You need to be able to function from your most happy, fearless self to be the best version of yourself. Everyone has a lovely inner self, and you can’t let anyone take it away from you.
NB: What was your experience shooting for the Brides Today cover?
ARH: This cover shoot has been special because we had been wanting to make it happen for so long. And I always look forward to working with people I like. I enjoy visiting places with history, and the palace was exquisite. Sometimes, in between shots, I would imagine all that must have taken place over the centuries. I am always imagining situations and scenarios... I was thinking about who must have been married here, and would they have sat and drank tea in this spot? What was a particular room used for? I would imagine someone strolling in the garden, their lives, and how they must have led them. I find such things exciting...it is like a film script being written in my brain. I was dressed in Gaurav Gupta’s creations for the shoot, which I find almost Baroque. They are so intricate and larger than life but at the same time, minimalistic, which resonates with me. I believe that one’s personality must shine through in the clothes you wear.
NB: Tell me about the designers you enjoy wearing for Indianwear?
ARH: Even with my eyes shut I would pick up Sabyasachi! I love heritage so much, and I love his clothes. I truly appreciate the way he combines prints. My mother has always worn handloom, and so did my grandmother. And they never matched the blouses with the saris...for instance, they might pair an ikat blouse with a different handloom sari. I would always tell them to be consistent, that all my friend’s mothers matched their blouses. Why couldn’t they match their blouse? But now, I think it is so cool. My love for textile and handloom comes from my family, and that is why I appreciate Sabyasachi for his take on the Indian aesthetic. I have witnessed the change since I entered the industry. Today, we have access to such a variety of beautiful, handloom garments, even on Instagram. And people are wearing Indian ensembles with so much pride. For bridalwear, my favourite is Jayanti Reddy because she has a very simple and delicate aesthetic. I also appreciate Anand Kabra and Anamika Khanna’s work.
NB: Finally, what are your hopes for the future?
ARH: Just to laugh and be happy. To love my inner child and be in love forever. It’s not just about being with someone; the feeling of always being in love is truly important.
Photographs By Errikos Andreou
Interview By Nandini Bhalla
Styling By Who Wore What When
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