A period film is a great motivation for the team to push the bar. Recreating a different era through props, costumes, visuals and building a new world from scratch is as exciting as it gets. That’s exactly what happened in the case of Sheetal Sharma as well, period romance costume designer Sita Ramam, which is set to hit theaters on August 5 across the world in three languages.
The costume designer came on board for Dulquer Salmaan star Mrunal Thakur with a call from Swapna Dutt, the producer. He was immediately drawn to the story which was moving, beautiful and refreshing at the same time. “Director Hanu Raghavapudi was very clear about the thought process. He has a clear vision, values authenticity, and provides enough leeway to experiment,” Sheetal shares.
Sheetal was asked to recreate the old world charm of the 50s and 60s, which required a lot of research. That they told a soldier’s story meant he couldn’t leave anything to chance with the uniforms. With the help of his team, everything fell into place. “Sita Ramam’s costume design is driven by storytelling, as is the color palette.”
The icing on the cake was Swapna Dutt’s knowledge of jewelry and vintage clothing. The look try-ons for the actors were an interesting experience, he says. “Dulquer and Mrunal both pulled off the look beautifully. Throughout we tried to keep it simple, true to the timeline, but they brought a lot of beauty and character to the outfits.
Sita Ramam is a love story that transports you to another world, he assures. “The romance at the time was more eternal, and the emotions of the story are strong and relatable. The design and colors play a very important role in a film with strong emotions. Some scenes will definitely leave you with tears in your eyes and you I’m happy to be part of a film where aesthetics play an important role.
The creator shares that the key characters – played by Dulquer, Mrunal and Rashmika – intervene with each other over two decades, from the 60s to the 80s. He thinks the cinematography, art and design of the production added incredible charm and beauty in every frame. Deepika, his associate and Geetha’s contributions on the production front helped him immensely in the preparation.
Sheetal has created complete lookbooks with references and color palettes so everyone is on the same page. Arshita, Sushritha and Ajay helped him with local sourcing and communication. “It was a great learning experience shooting in various locations from Kashmir to Gujarat to Kerala, Spiti Valley, Russia and Hyderabad. The journey with the film was so smooth.
Ultimately, he credits the director for his immense sense of color, music, and their seamless integration into the narrative. “He explained each scene, the relevance of the colors and the music. I knew we were going to be part of a great project. He credits the actors for their cooperation despite filming in difficult terrain with maximum snowfall for the dance, war and action sequences.
Sumanth, Gautham Menon, Tharun Bhascker, Bhumika Chawla, Rukmini Vijaykumar and Prakash Raj also play prominent roles in the film. Sita Ramam has music by Vishal Chandrasekhar, photography by PS Vinod and Shreyaas Krishnan and is edited by Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao. The film is produced by Ashwini Dutt under Swapna Cinema and presented by Vyjayanthi Movies.