Padmavati Jewellery and Haute Couture in our Hearts: Reincarnating the Legendary Rajput Queen on The Silver Screen

November 4, 2017 2010 0 0

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After a long wait when ticking time seemed to be tricking us by dragging its feet, we can now see the sensuous and charismatic Deepika Padukone as the Rani Padmavathi, a true padma, the lotus, rising into view to enthral and enchant us. And we seem to be captivated not only in the mirror of our imagination but also by the pictures, even if there are two dimensional. Everybody aficionado of jewellery or the art of glyptography is spellbound by the work of Tanishq and also by the splendid work of fashion designers Rimple and HarpreetNarula in costume designing. The uncompromising hard work, the fanatical commitment to precision and perfection based on research and study have produced a magic of splendour and gorgeousness from history’s fading pages into reviving the Rajput Empress back to life in her full splendour. Traditional craftsmanship has been merged with creative alchemy to prepare a trove of jewellery and couture rich in heritage and feminine symbolism.
Let’s find out all about the passion, design methodology, artistry, and techniques invested in making Queen Padmavati’s reel appearance a spectacular ode to tanishq’s Zeal for Story Telling in Gold.

[Image Credits –]

A part of the legendary Tata Group, Tanishq is the exclusive jewellery partner of Padmavati. It has carved a niche for itself as the maestro of crafting elegance into jewellery. Having its inception in 1994, Tanishq has been serving a huge Indian and international clientele by offering timeless stories moulded in gold and diamonds. For Padmavati, this revered jewellery maker has exerted its workforce and experience to realise a collection that includes of heirloom pieces of astounding beauty. From ancient painting styles to historical details, Tanishq has minutely considered every dimension of Rani Padmavati’s lifestyle for portraying her credibly and convincingly. As a result, each of the 1500 royal pieces of jewellery made for the film has a distinctive aura, appeal, and soul of its own. And for those who belong to the aristocracy of fine taste and culture, Tanishq’sPadmavati Collection, prices starting from INR 75,000, is now available in the stores.

Recreating History with Extensive Research

Representing the opulent essence of a bygone era populated by gallant and chivalrous Rajput Maharajas and elegant and proud Maharanis was nothing short of a challenge for Tanishq. Rani Padmavati’s story dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries, making it doubly hard for the jewellery designers at Tanishq to find substantial material for reference. QueetaRawat, a Design Manager at Tanishq, travelled the length and breadth of India with her team in search of information and ideas for developing the jewellery line for Padmavati.  In their quest, they visited palaces and museums in Rajasthan, the seat of the Rajputana dynasty as well as other regions. They also met a number of noted historians to figure out what type of jewellery the regal personalities of Queen Padmavati’s time used to wear. The research was not restricted to costumes and jewelries but encompassed details of Rajput lifestyle, art, and culture too. Dozens of well-researched coffee table books on Rajput jewellery and costumes were consulted and numerous sketches were made before finalizing the designs. The jewellery is a confluence of effort, research, consultation, and a timeless art.

The Components of the Padmavati Collection

Keeping with the tradition of SolahShringar of adornment followed by Hindu married women, Tanishq has created ornaments suitable to Queen Padmavati’s status of a royal consort of Mewar. Inspiration has been drawn from the architecture of Rajput palaces as well as the possible Singhalese origin of Padmavati. Apart from the predominant flower motifs, the designs embody the gracefulness of peacocks, elephants, and horses. In the following is a list of the most remarkable types of jewelries from the collection.

  1. The Resplendent Necklace Sets

    [Image Credits –]                                                                                                                          Every Necklace of the Padmavati collection is a stand out piece exuding originality, vivacity, and strength of the Queen’s persona. Some of the necklaces are made only using gold whereas others bedazzle onlookers with kundan, polki and meenakari work. Gold filigree distinguishes most of the designs made purely of gold. Another eye-widening distinction of some of the necklaces in this collection is the miniature paintings of the Rani in various poses. Beholders can easily recognize a surprising multitude of variations of the lotus included in the necklaces. One of the necklaces from this range has a tranquil yet breathtakingly beautiful blue Meenakari work that symbolizes the seas surrounding Sinhala, Rani Padmavati’s maiden home. Legend has it that during her days as princess of Sinhala, her royal palace was right beside the Ocean which she dearly missed in the desert fort of Chittor
  2. The Gorgeous Aadh
    [Image Credits –]                                                                                                                            Aadh is a traditional piece of jewellery offered to the bride by the groom’s family in Rajput culture. Each of the jewellery worn by a Rajput lady is traditionally associated with one of her duties as the wife. The aadh is symbolic to her duty of humility and reminds her to bow her head to show respect towards others. Tanishq has designed a stunning aadh with a ruby and emerald lotus at its center along with kundan flowers and vivacious red and green Meenakari work. It is a tribute to the mesmerizing beauty of Padmavati. Generous amounts of well-formed pearls have also been used for making it.
  3. The Regal Rani Haars
    [Image Credits ]                                                                                                                             An elongated necklace made of strands of pearls or small balls made of gold, the Rani Haar is also an integral part of the Padmavati collection. Each Rani Haar has a delightfully effulgent pendant that dangles at the end of the chain. Some of the circular pendants have eye catching big polkis or uncut diamonds set using the Jadau technique of jewellery-making, prevalent in North India during the Rajput eras. One of the delicate Rani Haars has a fully bloomed lotus pendant made of rubies and pearls.
  4. The Striking Bajubandh-cum-Chokers
    One of the most exclusively crafted designs from the Padmavati Collection is the Bajubandhs which can take the avatar of awe-inspiring chokers. The main design element of these magnificent Bajubandhs is the Meenakari and Rajasthani enamel work. The chandeliers in Rani Padmavati’s palace have inspired the magisterial designs of these Bajubandhs-cum-Chokers.
  5. The Aristocratic Borlas
    In Rajput culture, the Borlas play an important role in a married woman’s attire. It is symbolic of her honour and open nature. It reminds her to never surrender to adversities or sacrifice her dignity for any reason whatsoever. Tanishq has created majestic Borlas for completing the look of Rani Padmavati, the epitome of Rajput valor and self-respect. The circular part of the Borla that hangs at the end of the wearers’ hair parting is made of intricate Meenakari work, gold, and uncut stones. Interlaced strands of small pearls are attached to the central circular piece of Borla, enabling wearers to easily attach it to their hair. This is indeed a crowning glory of wealth, culture, and the Rajasthani royal way of life.
  6. The Delicate Hathphools
    Once upon a time, Hathphools were worn solely by the celebrated Persian dancers. In the Sultanate period, the Persian art and culture invaded India. Located near the border of India, Rajasthan imbibed their jewellery traditions and renewed them with local heritage artistry. With time, Hathphools became a crucial part of the Rajput bride’s attire on her wedding day. Tanishq has crafted some majestic Hathphools gleaming with Kundan work and uncut diamonds. Some Hathphools have five finger rings, and others have only two for the index- and ring finger.
  7. The Divine Naths
    [Image Credits –]                                                                                                                                       In Rajput culture, the Nath worn by married women holds a place of prime importance as it is the equivalent of her husband’s role and status in the society. The Nath reminds a lady to act according to her husband’s designation and protect his pride and honour. Tanishq has done a marvellous job of making the Naths for Padmavati appropriately ornate following this traditional wisdom. Some of the Naths in this collection have the subtle charm of matte finish gold, enhanced at the edges by pearls. There are also heavier and loftier Naths marked by the effervescent charm of symmetrical uncut diamonds and precious stone flowers. A thin strand of pearl connects the Naths to the hair of the wearer.
  8. The Enticing Finger Rings
    [Image Credits –]                                                                                                        Another essential part of Rani Padmavati’s astonishing appearance in the film is her lovely finger rings that bewitch the beholders. Precious stones give these rings their colourful flamboyance, and pristine polkis symbolize the Queen’s crystal clear character as pure as a lotus. One of the rings has a mirror at its center. It is said that Rani Padmavati used to steal glances at her husband through the mirror in her ring because in those days husbands and wives could not meet each other face to face during the daytime.

Hard Work and Techniques Go Hand in Hand

Around two-hundred skilled craftsmen worked day and night for over six-hundred days to complete the Padmavati collection. A total of 400 kilograms of gold has been used to fashion it. Around five craftsmen worked on each piece of jewellery performing the tasks of moulding, arranging, melting, heating, and shaping as per the guidelines and instructions of the designers. The following section briefly explains the major jewellery making techniques used to immortalize the essence of Rani Padmavati.

  1. Amalgamating Gold and Colours with Meenakari
    Originated in Persia and evolved in Rajasthan, Meenakari is a brilliant technique of infusing colours into traditional jewelries. The Persian word Mina refers to the colour azure which belongs to the heavens above. However, RajasthaniMeena work allows an influx of various colours including red, green, cobalt, and turquoise for making the jewellery unique. After the engraver embeds designs on the gold, the Meenakar or enamelist administers colours. An interesting feature of Meenakarijewellery is their reversible nature.
  2. Adding Sparkle of Gemstones with Kundan
    A traditional jewellery crafting technique perfected in royal courts of Rajputana, Kundan is a complex method of setting uncut gemstones, especially diamonds, rubies and emeralds on a gold base. This procedure involves gold foil and meticulously formed Ghaats in which the gemstones are fitted.
  3. Integrating Incomparable Craftsmanship with Jadau
    A highly favored jewellery making technique of Rajasthan, Jadau demands skillful craftsmanship. It is also referred to as Engraved Jewellery. Generally, Jadau work is done by not one craftsman, but a team of craftsmen that includes a goldsmith, a Meenakar, a Chiteria and a Ghaaria. The main requisite for making Jadaujewellery is pure gold which is used to embed the precious and semi-precious stones.

Rimple and HarpreetNarula’s Zest for Classic Couture Creation

Delhi based designer artists, Rimple and HarpreetNarula, have made their mark in designing sophisticated, chic, and feminine couture that sets them apart from the rest. Their label was created back in 2000. Since then the couple has aesthetically experimented with traditional Indian textile-weaving and embroidery techniques. They have worked as both costume designers and wardrobe heads for the film Padmavati. After getting a call from Sanjay Leela Bhansali to meet for a project, they had guessed shrewdly was bound to be about Padmavati, they went prepared along with some relevant pieces from that era. Amazed by their knowledge, Bhansali entrusted the responsibility of dressing the entire star cast and other artists to them. The clothes worn by Deepika Padukone, playing Padmavati, reflects their in-depth research and resonates with respect for the glorious heritage they had to work with.

Extensive Groundwork for Dreamlike Designs

Creating designs fit for 13th-century royalties was no cakewalk or a walk in the park. These had to be shaped by the tastes and traditions of the time as recreated by the evidence from a multitude of sources—from paintings to writings on palm leaves—epigraphic sources, numismatic nuances, and myriad others. Rimple and Harpreet traveled to Jaipur and visited the Calico museums seeking out the scholars and experts regarding the long past era of Rajput grandeur. They closely studied the vintage textiles, murals, and miniature paintings to capture the details of dressing and styling. The designing team also visited many of the Rajput palaces spread across Rajasthan, especially those in the Mewar region, to look at the frescos and learn more about traditional embroidery techniques. They also read several manuscripts and travelogues on Rajputana to understand the lifestyle of royals of 13th-14th century Rajasthan.

The Incredible Reincarnation of a Forgotten Inheritance

Rimple and Harpreet Narula have done a splendid job of reinterpreting the little-known methods of Rajasthani embroidery in their designs for Padmavati. They have also rejuvenated interest in some of the forgotten textiles of the state that deserve our love and admiration. The printed textiles used for the wardrobe were acquired from fabric developers of Bagru and Sanganer in Rajasthan. The designers contacted traditional block makers clustered in and around Farrukhabad to get special and unique blocks made. Later, embroidery and hand painting were used to enhance the regal glamor of the block prints. They had to strive for sourcing a specific type of metal wire called badla to add an authentic touch to the Gota Patti work on the lehengas. Gokhru, a special type of Gota technique, has been used to give the edges of Padmavati’sodhnas a gleaming appeal. Golden MukkeKaKaam or Raato and Silver MukkeKaKaam or Dhaulo have also been used to capture the authenticity of the costumes. The other methods of ornamentation used for making the costumes include silk floss thread work, Salma and Sitara and Pakko Bharat.

The Picturesque Outcome

The gorgeous red lehenga worn by Padmavati in the very first teaser poster of the movie showcases a magnificent abundance of Zardosi embroidery. It consists of the Tree of Life motif that symbolises a warrior’s resolve that the Queen had and her courageous determination. The jharokhas in Rajput palaces have influenced the plush design on its edges. Along with vivacious bridal reds and golden thread work, Rimple and Harpreet have also created a costume in pastel pink and pistachio green, reflecting the elite tastes of the Queen.

Poetry on Celluloid Made with Love

A princess whose fragrance had drawn at the heartstrings of a Rajput King residing thousands of miles away and a Queen whose courage dodged the lust of the Sultan of Hindusthan, Padmavati is an enigma and has unfailingly captivated, then and now,   every reader’s heart and mind even unto this day. Both Tanishq and designer duo Rimple and Harpreet Narula have done justice to her legend, giving her a presence that none will forget in a long time to come. The connotations of self-respect, dignity and sheer guts subtly manifested in her costume and jewelry on the silver screen connect this Queen with every woman living in a world infested by the lustful Khiljis of the modern times, fighting a battle of honor day in and day out.

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