Mumbai: She is Indian cinema's leading costume designers, but it is her harried, drinking mother act in 'Vicky Donor' that made Dolly Ahluwalia a household name. 'Vicky Donor' has been getting rave reviews ever since its release - with a scene where Ahluwalia is shown sharing a drink with her onscreen mother-in-law played by Kamlesh Gill becoming the most talked about act of the film.
Ahluwalia, married to actor Kamal Tiwari, who played Kareena Kapoor's father in 'Omkara' and 'Jab We Met', admits there were apprehensions about whether the saas-bahu's drinking sessions would go down well with the audience.
"But to our good fortune, our bonding, including the drinking, has been appreciated."
About Kamlesh Gill, Ahluwalia fondly said: "We really came to care about one another. We're now bonded beyond just the film. She is like a real mom. We wanted to show how a bickering saas-bahu can actually be like a mother and daughter after a few pegs. I've known Ayushmann Khurrana and Yami Gautam from the time I was in Chandigarh. So, we all felt like a part of the family".
Ahluwalia, who is also an alumnus of the National School of Drama, was in Sri Lanka working on the costumes of filmmaker Deepa Mehta's 'Midnight's Children', when she got a call from director Shoojit Sircar about the role in 'Vicky Donor', a light hearted comedy which deals with the issue of sperm donation.
And the costume designer-turned-actress says she couldn't have got a better opportunity to give her passion of acting a chance.
"He (Sircar) said I was the first actor he was casting for the film. Even the film's writer Juhi Chaturvedi said the same thing. I was elated. When I read the script I was over the moon. What an opportunity for me as an actor! More than myself, I'm so happy for my director Shoojit Sircar. He has waited so long for this to happen to his career," she said.
"Though I'm known more for designing clothes I'm a gold medalist in acting from the National School Of Drama. I've done sporadic roles. But I've stayed away from Bollywood because I couldn't follow their way of working."
"The Hindi film industry has its own clock. Actors wait patiently for hours for a shot. I couldn't do that. I admire those who can," Ahluwala, who also worked in Sircar's 'Yahaan', eight years back, added.
For now, it's back to clothes for Ahluwalia.
"I had to dress up over 3,000 characters in Deepa Mehta's 'Midnight's Children'. I like to recreate another era through my clothes," she said.
"Even when I did Madhuri Dixit's comeback film, I did only the clothes for the Laila-Majnu stage performance. What's the point of doing contemporary clothes? You can buy them off the shelf. Now I'm looking forward to desiging clothes for me and my screen-saas Kamleshji at the awards function next year," she added.
Ahluwalia has done the clothes for Vishal Bhardwaj's 'Omkara', Deepa Mehta's 'Water' and is currently working on Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor's costumes for Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag'.