Some people believe in letting their work speak for themselves. Designer Nachiket Barve is one of them. Low-profile and hardworking, he first shot into prominence when he earned the Maharashtra State Award for the 2015-film Katyar Kaljat Ghusali. That is when the film industry first took note of this talented designer. Then, he further upped his game when he won an award for best costume designer for the 2018-Marathi film, Ani Dr Kashinath Ghanekar.
Currently in the throes of designing costumes for the Prabhas–Saif blockbuster Adipurush, Nachiket is snowed under with work. So, when he does find time, he says, he prefers to dedicate those moments to his eleven-month-old daughter Aarohi and wife Surabhi. “I’m not a party person. I wake up early and spend my mornings with my daughter. I return late at night, so she is asleep by then. I really believe it is more important to spend quality time with your
kid. My wife is currently on a maternity break and will join me soon,” states Nachiket.
Work before stars
What comes across during our telephonic chat is the quiet confidence that Nachiket exudes. He may be designing for South-Indian heartthrob Prabhas and the Bollywood dude Saif Ali Khan, who play Lord Rama and Ravana, respectively, in Adipurush, but Nachiket remains unruffled. While he clearly respects the stars he is working with, what shows through is that he manages to strike up a good rapport with everyone. “I have worked with Saif before in the 2020-film, Tanhaji. Prabhas is a gentleman, gracious and easy-going. When you work on a film, there is a lot of research and background work that goes in. Given the current times, one has to be prudent about your approach, especially if he is a historical figure. For instance, Sharad Kelkar’s costumes for his character of the Maratha leader Shivaji were well appreciated,” explains Nachiket matter-of-factly.
The costume designer then talks about the positive experience of working with the star couple in Tanhaji, Ajay Devgun and Kajol. Nachiket says, “They were both amiable and it was a wonderful experience working with them.” As regards handling creative differences, Nachiket believes that designing for films is a collaborative venture. “Once you understand what the film demands in terms of the characters’ background and looks, and you can implement the director’s vision, it becomes a memorable ride. Also, most of these producers who have reached out to me are familiar with my body of work,” reveals the designer.
Meeting the Bachchans
Nachiket, who has completed almost fourteen years in the world of fashion, made his impact in 2007 at the Lakmé Fashion Week, impressing international critics such as former editor of Vogue International, Suzy Menkes, and the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, Carine Roitfield, who were bowled over with his work. He quickly made strides in the fashion world, too, winning the British Fashion Council’s ‘Young Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2010.
But he jumped into the spotlight when he worked on a prestigious jewellery ad with Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan. “That was the time I had entered a set,” he recollects. Speaking about the experience of working with the Bachchans, Nachiket can’t help but gush. “He is truly a legend. I remember, for the shoot I wanted him to wear a particular kind of footwear. He ended up bringing twenty pairs of shoes for me to choose from,” he adds with a chuckle. “Between the two of them, they have almost a hundred years of experience, and I have learnt so many finer nuances from both. Mrs Bachchan has a fine eye for detail and she even taught me how to iron a saree properly,” he confesses.
Recently, Nachiket did another jewellery commercial with the Bachchans and their daughter Shweta. Calling it a wonderful experience, he adds, “Shweta is so stylish and even wore the first piece of my new collection, which will be launched across my stores in the country.”
So how does he do the balancing act? “I’m not someone who can multitask well. So, it helps to have a good team in place one can rely on. And this is how I am able to focus on my film projects,” he concludes.