Nalini Sriram is a costume designer based in Chennai whose entry into the professional field of fashion was like destiny’s big game plan. An English literature post-graduate and a freelance writer then, Nalini did not have the slightest idea even by the time when she was in her 30’s that the Tollywood fashion industry was waiting for her to make it big in the field.

Nalini attributes her success in the arena of costume designing to the constant support of her family during her learning years in the job. Even after more than 22 years of work experience in her field of work, Nalini is still struck with a sense of nostalgia when she remembers how she received just Rs.5000 as the salary for her first film, Roja. Nalini started out in the field of costume designing during the time when it was still in its infancy, but since then, she has continuously progressed making both herself and the Tollywood fashion industry bloom.

Throughout her career, Nalini has worked with great film directors like Mani Ratnam, Gautham Menon, Saran, Suriya and several other and she has given the film film industry and its characters some wonderful outfits in movies like Ek Deewana Tha, Asal, Ayan, Bombay, etc. According to Nalini, it was, in fact, the film Bombay that made her realise that costume designing was the career for her.

Talking about the movie industry and its various aspects, Nalini acknowledges that it boasts of a very dynamic environment with a lot of chaos and last minute changes in everything, but the very fact that even in such a place, she has gotten her way through so smoothly speaks a great deal about her skills and talent as a costume designer. According to Nalini, Manisha’s costume in Kannalaney, Aishwarya’s in Kandukonden Kandukonden, Vijay’s clothes for the songs shot at foreign locations in Pokkiri and Rajini’s costume as the Egyptian king in the movie Kuselan have been some of the best works of her career. Talking about her dream, Nalini Sriram wishes to do a period film sometime in the future as a part of her career as a costume designer for the film industry.

Nalini’s story and the way she made her way into the fasion industry is an example of how things that are meant to happen somehow find their way through the most unexpected places. Hopefully, she will continue to give life to the characters with her immense of fashion and costume.

Poornima Ramasamy Tamil Actress

Poornima Ramasamy

Poornima Ramasamy hails from a Tamil family of garment workers. She does not consider herself as a full-fledged fashion designer but admits to having passion toward clothes and weaving since childhood. She understood clothes, especially earthly clothes which give the organic touch. Poornima is married and belongs to the clothing giant Naidu Hall family in Chennai. She used to live a normal life being a mother. All this changed when she came in contact with Tamil filmmaker ‘Bala’. Poornima, who is a part of the retail store Naidu Hall, used to design for her clients and kept it low key. She did not study fashion design in any reputed institutes as she confesses to being not so good in drawing but her connection with fabrics was inseparable. She considers director Bala to be her close family and a brother, and it was him who saw something in Poornima, who got her first big break with ‘Paradesi’ movie. This Tamil flick Paradesi, directed by Bala, was released in the year 2013. The movie has ‘Atharva’, ‘Vedika’, and ‘Dhansika’ in the lead roles. The story is set in the early 1930s when India was still under the rule of the British. The times when Indian workers were treated as slaves and made to suffer in the name of rigid Brittish laws which kept the slaves indebted to the British government. A story of a slave working for a tea plantation and the cruelty of the English toward them and a family drama makes up for this movie’s story. Poornima was sought by Bala to create the look of the era for the movie. It was Poornima’s first big project, and she says she was totally overwhelmed by the offer. She explained in the interviews that she will be ever grateful for the opportunity she got but also confesses her fear of letting down Bala. It was a whole new experience for Poornima as she had to make clothes for as many as 300 people at one stretch. She says it was all possible because of her customer named Selvam and Bala’s cooperation with her. Having to cater to the needs of her family and her commitment to the film, Poornima was indeed doing the balancing act. She recalls that her team and the Paradesi movie team were very supportive to make her job easier. Poornima carried out a lot of research and says she visited libraries and studied the looks herself. She knew the challenges, and she worked innovatively towards the project. She had brought the old and torn look with rugged clothes which are not stitched but woven to give the authenticity of that time. She says she had to look for old saris and buy clothes of dark colors to suit the roles. She knew the importance of the right costumes for the roles since dressing, accessories and hairdos were according to the caste in those days. She worked hard to gain perfection and please the director of the movie. Bala and the cinematographer ‘Chezhiyan’ backed her work and appreciated the talent Poornima had. All the more recognition for Poornima’s hard work came along when she won a National Award for Best Costume Design for her maiden film Paradesi. She became famous overnight and to add to her success, the movie also received accolades including Best Costume in the London International Film Festival. Poornima, who was in jitters for having won such prestigious awards, dedicated it to Bala and her team. From then on, her career took a different turn. Poornima was approached for a French cinema Mon Spouse by the director Michelle Spinosa. She has not stopped working since then. She associated herself with Aishwarya Dhanush (Tamil director and daughter of ‘Rajinikanth’) in her film Vai Raja Vai. She is also said to have worked with ‘Paneerselvam’ in the movie Nan Than Shiva. Even though Paradesi was not a commercial success, it was showered with praise by prestigious and highly respected movie critics. She is one among the few who get to taste success in their very first project itself

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Erum Ali

An Indian Fashion Designer, Erum Ali was born on August 8, 1975. She has worked in Bollywood for more than sixteen years. She began her career with the Chennai's film Industry designing clothes for Abbas Ali in his movies and later married him. The couple has two children. She has emerged a new face in the Chennai Fashion Industry primarily from 2001. She has designed clothes for Abbas for his films with local Cinematic Industries of Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Hindi. Erum has worked as a Chief Designer for the Adventure- fiction film, Aayirathil Oruvan. Erum Ali is described to be a fun-loving woman by nature. She says that their marriage alliance was finalized in youth years. Hence, their bond has become stronger with time. She adds that initially, she faced problems as she couldn’t get along well with Abbas friend zone now she has adjusted well. She adds that being a wife of a film Star can be very trying as it demands one to be active all the time, may it be handling fixed appointments, throwing parties or meeting and tying up with director's, writers and top producers of the Industry. She also states that the profession can introspect one's privacy. Also, dealing with die-hard fans is a very tough matter as they get down to writing their ideas with blood and stuff which seems to be irritating at times, but one has to deal with it without any choice. She adds the fact that shooting sometimes takes a toll, and there's no time left to spend with family. However, Abbas is one person who understands this and takes her along when shoots are abroad allowing the couple to have a great holiday. She says that she is one lucky girl to get such a loving husband. Her husband Abbas compliments her saying that she possesses all qualities required to become a good wife. Their relation is a very compatible one and understandable. Abbas has confessed regarding his previous affairs with other ladies and she feels absolutely no harm but again warns him of not having any in the future. Abbas adds on that he is very proud of all her achievements and wishes to extend support whenever she needs it. Erum figures out in the list of the topmost fashion/ costume designers in the country. She has a storehouse of talents and gives a fine grooming to her children. She knows how to live life happily, and that's what makes the difference. She is a successful independent woman and runs her very own Bridal Lounge and Design Studios.

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Erum Ali Tamil Actress