AR Rahman was dressing up for the 16th Criticsâ€™ Choice Movie Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, he found that the white shirt his stylist had given him to wear with his Paul Smith tuxedo had disappeared. â€œThe hotel, where Mr Rahman was a guest, had lost his shirt and he had to make do with a T-shirt under his tux,â€ says his Mumbai-based personal stylist Vijayeta Kumar, also a filmmaker and scriptwriter. Tux with T-shirt sorted, Rahman smilingly walked the red carpet, bypassing invasive glances of fashion critics to receive the Criticsâ€™ Choice award for Best Original Song for I Rise for Danny Boyleâ€™s 127 Hours .
Unblessed by fashionâ€™s fickleness, Rahman is perceived as an unlikely clothes horse. Designers and stylists disagree. In fact, they woo him assiduously. â€œHe is easy to style, is non-fussy, respects professional advice but refuses all freebies,â€ says Kumar. Unlike most of his peers in Bollywood, he does not accept free products from brands and insists on paying for what he wants to keep. Even if it is a pair of socks. â€œA lot of designers and luxury brands want to send him clothes and accessories but he never accepts any of these,â€ says Kumar.
Rahman, who was superstitious about black as a celebratory colour till three years back, overcame his doubts after being persuaded about blackâ€™s status as fashionâ€™s alter ego. Noir it has been since. A Sabyasachi sherwani for the Oscars last year celebrating Slumdog Millionaireâ€™s victory, black or navy blue Paul Smith tuxedos now and then (he even wore one at the Golden Globe awards which didnâ€™t bring home a trophy) and a Varun Bahl-Karan Johar tux for the forthcoming Oscars this year. â€œFor a forthcoming music video next week, I have styled him in a funky way; he doesnâ€™t look his usual staid self, he will raise eyebrows,â€ promises his stylist. Fabric for another story?