"Screen clothes have to look dramatic, yet be effortless for the wearer."
Indian cinema is not an easy business to run. It takes a lot more than just a good script, great songs, choreography and good actors to make a film hit. Expensive Bollywood costumes play a significant role too.
The aesthetics of Bollywood films play a major role and the costumes worn contribute immensely to the theme of a film.
‘Bollywood’, ‘Blockbuster’ and ‘Big Budget’ are the three most important B’s for a successful career in the Indian film industry.
Be it any director, if the budget of the movie is grand, then the box office is definitely going to receive high numbers.
Audiences love to watch grand scale Bollywood projects at the cinema.
From Sanjay Leela Bhansali to Ashutosh Gowariker all the renowned filmmakers are constantly making magnificent films to allure audiences.
There is a lot that goes in portraying a fairy tale to the audience, an immense amount of money is spent just on one piece of costume that the actor wears.
Extensive research is required to know the colour tone, costume material or other detailed specifications to get the look right.
Each character has a personal designer assigned just to them to ensure the persona of the character is realised correctly with the costume worn.
Earlier actors used to style their own look, but now with brilliant emerging designers, the business has changed a lot.
We bring you 14 outfits that are deemed to be the most expensive Bollywood costumes.
Shahrukh Khan: Ra.One
Ruling the list is the Badshah of B-town Shahrukh Khan, who has possibly worn the most expensive outfit in his sci-fi movie, Ra.One.
Ra.One, a film directed by Anubhav Sinha in 2011 with a budget of Rs 130 crore, was a first of its kind for Bollywood.
Shahrukh’s robotic suit was a centrepiece for the film and it was worth nearly Rs 4.5 crores.
The designers behind creating such a masterpiece were, Robert Lever, Manish Malhotra, Naresh Rohira and Anaita Shroff.
This incredible costume caught the eye of many who had not experienced such a look in Bollywood before. Shahrukh’s superhero-themed costumes became popular amongst children.
Deepika Padukone: Padmavaat
A film that was called Padmavati but then had to be changed to Padmavaat attracted huge attention both at the box office and culturally.
A Sanjay Leela periodic epic, which had a huge budget of Rs 160 crore, was not going to skimp on costumes.
Deepika Padukone wore an incredible lehenga outfit in the song ‘Ghoomer’.
The outfit which weighed 30kg and cost Rs 30 lakhs.
Reports say it 200 craftsmen used 400 kgs of gold in 600 days just to create the jewellery for her character.
Madhuri Dixit: Devdas
The most iconic song ‘Mardala’ of a classic film Devdas has highly positioned as one of the most expensive Bollywood costumes of all time.
The drama film made in 2000 by Sanjay Leela Bhansali has led to a significant impact on the standards of big-budget films.
The outfits and overall aesthetics were so beautiful that no one could take their eyes off any character and their attire.
Each outfit in this epic film cost about Rs 15 lakhs.
They had a deep sense of the ethnic butcher’s hook and as they were deeply embellished and embroidered.
The designers Neeta Lulla, Sandeep Khosla and Reza Sharifi, have won the IIFA Award for Best Costume Design for Devdas, in 2003 and are still known for their eminent graft.
Kareena Kapoor: Kambakkht Ishq
It’s rational to spend a lot of money on a superhero or a historical costume, but to spend lakhs on just one dress can just be a dream.
In the film, Kambakkht Ishq, Kareena is actually slaying the title track by wearing a black dress that cost approximately Rs 8 lakhs.
Despite teaming up and setting the screen on fire along with Akshay Kumar, the movie did not do well but it definitely made every girl watching Bebo fantasise themselves in that dress.
Sequins dresses have been Kareena’s style statement for as long as one can remember, special thanks to the designers Aki Narula and Shabina Khan.
Rajinikanth: Enthiran (Robot)
The Superstar of the South can never be behind in any race, Rajnikanth in the Tamil movie Enthiran known as Robot to many, wore a Rs 3 crores costume.
The unforgettable role of Chitti Robot Directed by Shankar Panikar is a sci-fi and romantic film, which earned approx Rs 2.90 billion solely due to the craze of the star cast.
The amount of hard work put in for the making of this movie was very visible, be it costumes or the VFX.
A lot of precision was put in while designing the Robotic suit by Manish Malhotra. Classifying as one of the most expensive costumes, this captivating gear brought art and machinery to life.
Manish Malhotra has been quoted as saying:
“Screen clothes have to look dramatic, yet be effortless for the wearer.”
Aishwarya Rai: Jodhaa Akbar
The most classic film of all times Jodhaa Akbar by Ashutosh Gowarikar, which gave three hours and thirty-four minutes of cinematic experience was an eye-pleasing movie in all sense.
The historical romantic film left a heavy impression of love and faith starring Aishwarya Rai in the lead female role of Jodhaa.
This successful movie had a budget of Rs 40 crores and the theme of the Mughal era.
Each outfit for Aishwarya Rai cost Rs 2 lakhs and was designed by Neeta Lulla.
The outfits looked majestic on screen. They were heavily embroidered, studded with beadworks and other precious stones.
The real-life story adds life to the characters through their realistic costumes. And thus, leaving us with its memorable and significant experience.
Akshay Kumar: Singh is Bling
The golden turban that Akshay Kumar wore for the poster of the movie was for Rs 65 lakhs. Probably one of the most expensive turbans made for any Bollywood film.
With a budget of Rs 91 crores, the bling of the Singh attracted a mixed reaction.
Directed by Prabhu Deva, the movie had an experienced actor Akshay Kumar at the helm and catchy songs.
Kangana Ranaut: Krrish 3
“Perfection lies in minute details” Rakesh Roshan and the designer Gavin Miguel has taken this quote too seriously.
In the movie Krrish 3, Kangana Ranaut was seen wearing 10 different latex suits and the material for these suits were brought from Paris.
It cost them approx Rs 1 crore to make 10 such costumes.
Sewn to perfection, Gavin actually studied each superwoman costume made in Hollywood, to get the specifics right for Kangana’s expensive look.
Salman Khan: Veer
Talking about Bollywood, it is impossible to not mention Salman Khan, the Bhaijan of the B-town.
Salman played the role of a warrior in Veer and wore six costumes.
Each one of the costumes worn by Salman cost Rs 20 lakhs.
Veer, was actually Salman Khan’s dream project and his first draft was written by him 20 years back. It is also based on a Russian novel Taras Bulba by Nikolai Gogol.
Deepika Padukone: Bajirao Mastani
If there was a list of directors in rank order for big-budget movies, Sanjay Leela Bhansali would top that list.
So, to grab the attention in Bajirao Mastani, he spent more than Rs 50 lakhs on Deepika Padukone’s costume alone in her role as Mastani.
Designer Anju Modi had personally crafted and studied history to understand the colour tone that the outfits required.
In addition, a huge amount of money was also spent on jewellery like everything that they wore was expensive and real.
Due to his solid Indian roots, Bansali has a strong sense of aesthetics when it comes to historic movies which are evidently visible.
Not only that, except for the set he puts a lot of effort into the specification of every attire worn by his actors.
The movie was a huge hit both at the box office and for audiences enjoying its grandeur, featuring immensely expensive Bollywood costumes.
Sonakshi Sinha: Tevar
Tevar directed by Amit Sharma had a budget of 40 crores. It starred Sonakshi Sinha in the female lead.
One of the most entertaining elements in this movie was the item song named ‘Radha Nachegi’ which was choreographed by Remo D’souza.
The song had Sonakshi looking stunning in her elaborate lehenga and jewellery.
The lehenga that she wore in the song was for Rs 75 lakhs.
Subarna Rai Chaudhari, the lady behind Sonakshi’s glam costume made every effort to make her look amazing in all the scenes.
Vivek Oberoi: Prince
2010 Indian action thriller film Prince directed by Kookie V Gulati had a budget of Rs 35 crores.
Vivek Oberoi the lead star in the movie, wore six leather suit in this movie and each of them cost about Rs 30 lakhs.
The film actually got pretty mixed reviews from acclaimed critics.
Hrithik Roshan: Jodhaa Akbar
To play a historic role is not easy, especially if you are depicting the great Emperor Akbar. In the movie Jodha Akbar directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, there was plateful money spent on the set and costumes.
Not only the grandeur of the set but the costumes were also super expensive.
Hrithik Roshan, who played the lead role as Akbar, wore a costume solely costing approximately Rs 12 lakhs.
Neeta Lulla designed the costumes not only for the main cast but also for every cast member involved in the film.
Lulla did extensive research for a year and a half on the type of clothes people wore during the Mughal Empire. She went to Jaipur to learn in detail about Akbar times and the fabrics that were used.
Working with the designers, Ashutosh researched extensively to get everything right for this huge hit film.
Sherlyn Chopra: ‘Dard’ Music Video
Sherlyn Chopra is an Indian actress and model known for her boldness and sexiness. She is the first Indian woman to officially pose nude for Playboy magazine in 2012.
In her ‘Dard’ music video Chopra donned a diamond-studded bikini which was made up of 30 carte diamonds.
The video was pretty bold, outrageous and did generate a lot of sensation at its release in true Sherlyn style!
Bollywood cinema has now expanded a lot and is no longer just a medium of entertainment. It is one of the biggest money-making industries in the world.
With a growing era and emerging technologies, the budget for each movie is increasing to paramount amounts.
With the growth of streaming platforms such as Netflix, Prime and many others, Bollywood film producers are also catering for different kinds of audiences as well.
Filmmakers are now perfecting their game with no money limitations, therefore, we are sure to see more expensive Bollywood costumes on our screens at even a larger scale.