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Preity's role in KANK unrealistic

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By: Seema Goswami, IndiaFM

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Everybody has their own take on it, but I have to say that I loved Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. The first half had me giggling helplessly, the second found me all teary and sentimental (Karan Johar will do this to me every time) while the ending brought a lump to my throat. And even days after, I found myself thinking of the movie. Why was it necessary to keep Dev and Maya apart for three years? Why did Dev have to be so bloody-minded with that adorable kid of his? Was Sam modeled on that other elderly rake, Hugh Hefner? How could any woman - let alone his wife - fall to be charmed by Rishi?

But even after I lost interest in the answers so these questions, the one thing that I kept coming back to was poor Preity Zinta. I couldn't help feeling just a wee bit sorry for her. No, not because she was tarred with the 'career bitch' tag. I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with being one, especially if your pay cheque is supporting your family in style. No, it was Preity's style, or rather the way she was made to dress in the movie, that made me pity her most sincerely. As the editor of New York's leading fashion magazine, she should have been the epitome of urban sophistication, easy elegance and cutting-edge style. And with the kind of budgets that Karan Johar's films enjoy, buying the outfits that make for such a look couldn't possibly have been a problem.

Hell, given the kind of publicity Hindi movies generate, all the international labels currently selling in India would have fallen over each other to provide free outfits. Channel, for instance, would have been only too happy to dress Preity, given how often she wears that label in real life. And there is no disputing that nothing becomes a fashion editor more than a sharply tailored tweed twin set (multiple strings of pearls optional). For a trendier, less formal look, the jacket could have been paired with a pair of skinny jeans and a funky belt. And a floaty, chiffon dress would have been just the ticket for a more feminine feel.

Instead, poor Preity was made to wear the most hideously inappropriate clothes throughout the movie. Her entrance in the film, when she appears for a job interview at the magazine she later goes on the edit, says it all. In a skin-tight dress, she looks more like a tightly encased sausage auditioning for the part of high-priced call girl, than a journalist who aspires to be a fashion editor. In one memorable scene in which she is walking down a New York street on her way to work, blissfully unaware that Rani is right behind her, she is wearing a denim mini-skirt with a sequined hemline. I mean, seriously, which fashion editor would be caught deed in that, let alone wear it to office? That's the kind of outfight you say goodbye to after college.

What was Manish Malhotra thinking? Surely, as a fashion designer, he is reasonably au fait with what high-powered fashion editors wear? And if he had any doubts, he didn't need to look any further than Anna Wintour, style icon and editor of American Vogue. But even if he wasn't thinking too clearly, sheer common sense should have told him that no career woman would dream of going to office dressed as a boho chick. Women-yes, even those inhabiting the world of high fashion-want to project of professional image at work, not have people peering down their cleavage or leering at their thighs.

What a pity that The Devil Wears Prada was released too late for Manish to seek inspiration from it. That was a movie that had the New York fashion scene nailed right down to the Manolo Blahnik stiletto. But that film released just before KANK, so Manish was left to trawl the stores all on his own and ended up creating a look that was more LA than New York. And not even elegant LA at that.

What made this style travesty even more tragic was that Preity herself is an incredibly stylish dresser in real life, one of the few actresses who knows her Versace from her Valentino. She knows what becomes her best where casual wear is concerned and her instinct for a correct. So, it was particularly jarring to see her in clothes that suited neither her character nor her body type. Perhaps, it would have been better for all concerned if her natural elegance had been allowed free reign. As it turned out, she looked less like a fashion editor in the movie than she does in real life. And that's a real shame.

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