Aditi Rao Hydari: Fashion is my Playground

Aditi Rao Hydari: Fashion is my Playground

Our exclusive interview with Bollywood's own aristo

ARTICLE BY : Sonia Ullah, Abha Shah


With royal ancestry and a childhood spent mastering classical Indian dance, Aditi Rao Hydari is as elegant and poised as you would imagine. Her ethereal beauty (just look at that skin) make her a muse for brides-to-be everywhere while her acting prowess has won her a loyal international following, not to mention praise from peers and critics alike.

Who would blame her for being a demanding diva? But that couldn’t be further from the truth. When we meet in her sprawling Grand Suite at the Palazzo Versace in Dubai she’s warm and welcoming with impeccable manners.

You grew up with royal heritage. What inspired you to become an actress? 
Maybe some kids are just born drama queens! I didn’t even watch Indian movies growing up. Our house was all about classical music, dance, art, theatre, puppet shows, and things like that. But one day I happened to be at my neighbour’s house and saw my first Hindi movie - I was utterly mesmerised. It was like magic.

Pistachio green three-piece lehenga with plunging neckline blouse, embellished with antique zari work: Soltee by Sulakshana Monga. Jewellery: Amrapali

So that lit the fire for acting? 
I suppose somewhere inside I harboured this great desire to be a heroine, but I never said it out loud. Not because anyone would have stopped me, but because I felt it was... this land that was so distant there was no way I could even dip a toe in.

How did you carve out a Bollywood career?
Mostly by being in the right place at the right time. Don’t look at me like that! I know it’s cliché, but it’s true - especially when you’re not film-industry connected. There are two ways in; chart out your path and relentlessly hit those milestones, or do what I did, which is not know what to do and just dream and if you’re very lucky, an opportunity comes knocking on your door.

What came knocking on your door?
The first part I was ever offered, I turned down. Can you believe that? I was studying, I had exams coming up, I was dancing – it was all very complicated, so I said no. But it was obviously destiny, because that very same opportunity came back to me. The team moved their shoot date, and by chance it was when I had holidays. They needed a South Indian dancer, so I landed the part.

Top left and bottom image: Cold shoulder blouse with antique embroidery and sheer net dupatta lehenga: Soltee by Sulakshana Monga. Jewellery: Amrapali. Top right image: Pistachio green three-piece lehenga with plunging neckline blouse, embellished with antique zari work: Soltee by Sulakshana Monga. Jewellery: Amrapali

What was it like? 
I didn’t know the language, I didn’t know anything. I’ll always be grateful because from that movie, one thing led to another. It won a lot of national awards.

So it’s all a matter of luck? 
Some of these things are luck, but I also work very, very hard. I don’t have support, I don’t have backing.

You must have a strong work ethic
I know what’s in my control, which is how much effort I put in, my dedication and my discipline. I won’t party the day before a shoot – well, I mean, sometimes it happens! But I’m focused. I’ll do it my way, not the ‘regular’ way. It’s been a struggle and it still is. But that’s how it is, to get quality work you have to push yourself that much more and be patient.

Do Tamil movies differ to Bollywood?
I don’t think cinema and art per se has geographical or language boundaries. Cinema is about great directors telling beautiful stories.

So it’s nothing to do with actors? 
Actors tend to think they’re God’s gift, but they’re not. The director creates the atmosphere, they write the part. Otherwise how is it that we’ll shoot in -18 ° and you don’t feel the cold? It’s because you’re so inspired by directors like Mani Ratnam or Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Top image and bottom left: Red and gold A-line flare lehenga: Soltee by Sulakshana Monga. Bottom right: Cream lehenga with a range of embroidery styles with a contrast full all over work dupatta: Soltee by Sulakshana Monga. All jewellery from Amrapali 

You’re in Bhansali’s new blockbuster, Padmavati (now known as Padmaavat)
I can’t say much, but I’m opposite Ranveer Singh. Ranveer and I started out together; we did a Bollywood dance show in Paris when we were both young and unemployed! It’s nice to be together again after all these years. He has this crazy energy, and I’m calmer - we’re classic ying yang. Bhansali is a director I’ve always dreamed of working with. He pushes you to the extreme. You feel like you’re going to fall off a cliff, but in a good way!

Rimple & Harpreet Narula are doing wardrobe for the movie; are the clothes fabulous? 
Bhansali has an incredible aesthetic so people who work with him naturally up their game. It’s like going to film school for everyone involved. It makes you want to challenge yourself and your standards reach new highs. 

What’s your fashion must-have? 
I adore wearing jewellery, but not day-to-day. I like sneakers, and nice bags but not dainty evening bags. I love Valentino Rock Star.

Red and gold A-line flare lehenga: Soltee by Sulakshana Monga. Jewellery: Amrapali

You have amazing skin. What’s your secret? 
Skin is about good health, good food and being a happy human. People spend so much on nails and handbags, but this is your skin! You only get one, so you should take good care of it. You don’t have to buy expensive creams, just raid your kitchen cupboard.

Wait, your kitchen?! 
Yes! For example if your skin is oily, put curd on it. If it’s dry, use milk. Trust me, it really helps. All my friends laugh because after I finish making my morning smoothie, I’ll put whatever’s left on the counter on my face! 

What does fashion mean to you?
Style is inherent and timeless. Fashion is what you do with it. Fashion is your playground and style is something that’s inherently yours.

Who's your style inspiration?
I like timeless, so Audrey Hepburn. Right now I also love Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.

Pale pink A-line flare lehenga, completed with detailed waist belt : Soltee by Sulakshana Monga. Jewellery: Amrapali

Describe your dream wedding 
There’s two sides to me; a boho side that’s about being effortless and whimsical, and a classic side, like a Raja Ravi Varma painting. With a wedding, any choice will stem from these sides.

The classic me wants a celebration in my grandmother’s house or in a gorgeous old Haveli and I would wear Sabyasachi, of course. 

The boho Aditi dreams of a simple cotton lehenga with a big gota border, barefoot on a beach. No heels allowed. 

And jewels?
Sabya uses a lot of temple jewellery, which I absolutely adore since I’m half South Indian. I would wear a traditional Matha Pathi, the jhumkis, the bindis, everything. For my fantasy beach wedding, my look would be all beach hair with flower jewellery and chunky silver jhumkis.

Pale pink A-line flare lehenga, completed with detailed waist belt: Soltee by Sulakshana Monga. Jewellery: Amrapali

What’s next for Aditi? 
Bhoomi is out 22nd September. It’s my first title role, and was intense to shoot, but amazing. The father-daughter narrative of the story continued off-camera, which was lovely - Sanjay [Dutt] is very protective. I call him the Big Friendly Giant, like Roald Dahl’s book. I’d also love to do more movies down south; I receive an amazing response and so much love. I get asked daily: “When are you doing your next Tamil or Telugu film?” So, let’s see!

'Padmavati' the film will now be released under the title ‘Padmaavat’ on 25th January 2018. 
At the time of going to press, it has reportedly been granted clearance from the British Board of Film Classification to release its "uncut" version. Producers of the film have reportedly refused to screen the film in UK before it is cleared in India amid widespread protests in Rajasthan. The British Board of Film Classification has cleared without cuts the costume drama with a 12A rating.


Editor-in-Chief: Sonia Ullah
Creative Director: Manni Sahota
Fashion Editor: Vikas Rattu

Photography: Abhay Singh
Airbrush Makeup & Hair: Ganga
Jewellery: Amrapali
Outfits: Soltee by Sulakshana Monga
Location: Palazzo Versace, Dubai


Buy the issue here


As seen in Khush Wedding Autumn 2017 KW16 

Tags : Aditi Rao Hydari  Bollywood  Actress  Couture  Padmavati  India  Designer 
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