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 ‘
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 ‘
’ movie. This Tamil flick Paradesi, directed by Bala, was released in the year 2013. The movie has ‘
’, ‘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 ‘
’ 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 ‘
’) 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