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[FILM] Indian Costume Designer Has Hollywood Sewn Up

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  • chiayuan25
    Indian Costume Designer Has Hollywood Sewn Up Tue May 25,12:46 AM ET By Nyay Bhushan NEW DELHI, India (Hollywood Reporter) - The embroidered robes in Troy,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 25, 2004
      Indian Costume Designer Has Hollywood Sewn Up
      Tue May 25,12:46 AM ET
      By Nyay Bhushan

      NEW DELHI, India (Hollywood Reporter) - The embroidered robes
      in "Troy," the props and flags in Oliver Stone (news)'s "Alexander
      the Great," the intricate embroidery on the 400-meter stage curtain
      in the upcoming "The Phantom of the Opera" -- all came from
      Rangarsons, a family-run business located in New Delhi's central
      business district.

      Paramjit Singh Rana and his son Manjot say they got their start as
      a "peculiar" business, supplying military ceremonial products,
      accouterments and musical instruments to the Indian army. For nearly
      50 years they have supplied products to various overseas buyers, from
      the Tanzanian army to the Canadian police and the Queen of England's
      own guards.

      But their Hollywood break came with Richard Attenborough's 1982
      epic "Gandhi," when one of the film's costume designers, John Mollo,
      walked into Rangarsons while on a scouting mission.

      "John saw the various products on display and realized he could
      source all the costumes and props for the British army in the film,"
      Manjot recalls.

      That break led to more work throughout the decade, when a spate of
      productions with colonial backdrops were filmed in India.

      The Rangarsons have recently graduated into Hollywood's big league,
      thanks to their work for Ridley Scott (news)'s "Gladiator" under the
      supervision of set decorator Crispin Sallis. The ornate embroidery on
      banners, flags and curtains and the valances in the arena fight
      sequences were a major production.

      "We sent a flag design, and Ridley Scott liked it so much he ordered
      500 pieces," Paramjit says.

      For the upcoming Scott production "Kingdom of Heaven," props required
      by set decorator Sonja Klaus include massive banners, 20 feet long by
      four feet wide.

      "This involved intricate embroidery work, something that can only be
      done in India given the variety of craftsmen and the cheap cost of
      labor," says Manjot, who also supplied buttons and cuff links for the
      costumes of 5,000 extras in the film.

      Each morning, artisans and embroiderers come to Rangarsons to pick up
      their assignments, which are farmed out according to job

      "Because we have access to a variety of sources, if you give me a
      design in the morning and want it by the evening, I can deliver,"
      says a confident Paramjit, whose interest in art and history drew him
      into the profession.

      Father and son praise the professionalism of international

      "The attention to detail and the precise schematic drawings are such
      a big help," says Manjot, who rattles off studio names and those of
      costume and set designers much like a Hollywood agent.

      For the upcoming Jackie Chan (news) starrer "Around the World in 80
      Days," the Rangarsons were asked to supply 200 props worth more than
      $100,000 to re-create a street in Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, for a
      set built in Thailand.

      "This required us to source antique doorways, windows, benches, lamps
      and fabrics, which you'll see in (just) a five-minute sequence,"
      Manjot says.

      Even with all the acclaim for their film work, the Rangarsons are
      equally proud of their association with the 45 regiments of the
      Indian army.

      "Every year, during the annual Republic Day parade (on Jan. 26),
      almost 70% of the ceremonial attire and instruments are supplied by
      us," says a proud Paramjit. Perhaps that is equivalent to winning an

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