Mother's Day special: Mumbai-based designers Neeta Lulla and Nishka Lulla on lessons learnt and valuing time
On a fun and easy con-call with designer Neeta Lulla and her daughter, designer Nishka Lulla, the affection and warmth between the two is palpable. “I really miss her — we have been saying ‘hi’ to each other through car windows and phone screens this past year. We really should not take our time with our family for granted,” says Nishka, as we talk about Mother’s Day and how the pandemic has changed the way we celebrate and connect today.
Neeta, who is busy on the sets of director Gunasekar’s film Shaakuntalam (featuring Samantha Prabhu and Dev Mohan), agrees that it is better to maintain social distance. “I am out shooting and it is safer that I don’t interact closely with them,” says the celebrated costume designer and couturier, who has been involved in nearly 400 films (including the soon to be released Kangana Ranaut starrer Thalaivi) and admits that she too misses spending time with her daughter.
Talking about fashion and design, Nishka says, “The reason I am a designer is because of my mom. However, our design sensibilities are very different.” In fact, she further adds that she and her mother have very different wardrobes. “The one thing that we do have in common is our love for vintage jewellery,” says the mother of an adorable two-year-old toddler, Miraya.
Here, Neeta quips in about how her granddaughter is closer to her own sensibilities. “Nishka was all about pinks and girly frills. Whereas, Miraya is boisterous, eager to learn and loves cars, football, greens and blues! I keep telling her that she is definitely going to take over the Neeta Lulla brand!”
On lessons learnt from her mother, Nishka’s voice brims with pride as she says, “My mom has always told me ‘be sincere to yourself — you are your own competition’. She is so strong and hardworking — and has this fierce passion as a designer! I can only hope to imbibe at least half of that.”
As Nishka continues to talk about parenting and how her parents allowed her to make independent decisions, Neeta cuts in with an affectionate laugh, “Meanwhile, I am just wondering when she grew to be this big!”
With Nishka’s birthday falling on the same day as Mother’s Day, we enquire about gifts in the offing. Working in the glamorous world of Bollywood and dressing up some of the most iconic celebrities of the world, Neeta’s answer is ironic when asked about what would constitute a great gift.
“The best gift that Nishka has given me is this bundle of joy — my granddaughter, Miraya. And I like to believe that the best gift I have given Nishka is her strong sense of individuality, ethics and integrity, in her work and otherwise. In today’s trying times these are the qualities we must value and introspect,” says Neeta as they sign off.