Mirzya, directed by Rakesh Omprakash Mehra and written by Gulzar, was my second feature film as an assistant to Production Designer Sumit Basu, of Acropolis. We had done extensive research and prep for this film to make it a piece of art and not just a film. The visual treat that Mirzya is wouldn’t be complete without the mention of the Director of Photography, Pawel Dyllus.

Working with a very senior and experienced Production Designer was an amazing learning experience! We had the privilege of detailing and fine-tuning each look of the sets well before the shoot. Designing and creating renderings of the same helped us get a better insight of the final product. Building sets and even special props was another exciting process. Sourcing for property and material in the various locations that we shot in, namely Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur and Mandawa in Rajasthan, also Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake in Ladakh; was a great experience.



The love story that Mirzya is, deals with the principal characters of Adil Mirza and Soochi, their relationship as children and them growing up into the present modern times; interspersed with the folk legend of Mirza and Sahiban, spinning similarities between the two pairs.

To arrive on a basic colour palette for the film we had segmented Mirzya in: Childhood, Folklore, and Present day.

The Childhood of Soochi and Monish (later Adil Mirza) is spent in Jodhpur, hence we picked colours dominant from the area. We also assigned blue and rustic colours to Monish aka Adil Mirza and wove it with Mirza, his counterpart in the folklore. Soochi was assigned happier blue and yellow overtones. Though Sahiban was dominated with deep reds. Another important character was Karan, Soochi’s fiancé, and his folk counterpart Tahir. They were assigned green.



Mood- elements and colour

A mood chart for the characters in their surroundings was built, each using elements and colours from their environment.


  • Childhood of Monish with his mother: Living in Jodhpur with his mother, Monish loves speed, bicycle rides, dart throwing etc. His mother is inclined towards folk art and handicraft and probably makes a living out of it.b1-copy


  • Childhood of Soochi with her father, the S.P.: Living in Jodhpur Soochi’s father is the Superintendent of police. He loves reading Shakespeare and has a thirst for collecting antique guns and other items that have a touch the royalty, as a hobby. Soochi lives with him and he’s not only a father but a mother to her as well.b2-copy


  • Folklore- Mirza Sahiban: Mirza being the dynamic horseback archer wins the ruby and ultimately the heart of Sahiban in the tournament to determine her suitor. Sahiban the princess seeking love stands out in the bold red and gold.a1-copy


  • Folklore- Tahir: Dark and vengeful Tahir the closest competitor to Mirza in the horseback archery tournament, stands out in the dark envious green and rust! Being royal blood he is appalled at Mirza’s audacity to compete with him as suitor to Sahiban.a2-copy


  • Adil Mirza at the stables: Stone, wood, mud, metal, leather, are key elements that define Adil Mirza’s stable home. He takes care of the horses at the stud and retires in his own makeshift home there, where we wanted to have washes of the blue that is carried on from his childhood home in Jodhpur. Rustic and raw is what defines Adil’s character here.c1-copy


  • Adil at Loharon ki gali: The blacksmiths live here hence the space is dominated with the fiery glow of the burning coal and hot metal. The story of Mirzya is sung and narrated in Loharon ki gali, making this a magical space bringing out the spirit of the lovers. Later in a realistic setting Adil frequents this place so we’ve kept a touch of blue as accents.c2-copy


  • Soochi: Even though she has moved out of her childhood home in Jodhpur, we carry forward the blue tones and add accents of yellows and orange for her vibrant character. We see her getting married to Prince Karan and here too we keep the yellows, white and orange in the flowers and other decorations to compliment the blue jewel tones.d2-copy


  • Karan: He being the prince has the opulent environment complete with chandeliers, paintings, and crystal artifacts. The use of clean lines in contemporary elements keeping with the traditional royalty of his ancestral home is cleverly fused. An avid polo player he has his own collector’s items. The colour green is evidently used here.d1-copy


Set design

As soon as the locations were identified and roughly finalised for the film, we sketched and rendered the looks according to our vision – elements and colour palette. Of the many drawings and renderings that were created by our team, sharing a few personal ones.

  • Loharon Ki Gali: Initially a set for the village was planned. Various plans and even models were created by our team; the following is one of the sketches.


Later we found a village Mandawa in Rajasthan where we could set up. This setup was used in the film at different time periods, thus the different looks.


This was the general idea of the blacksmith’s village where the story of Monish/Adil and Soochi’s is narrated in music and dance. In the details of the rendering the bursts of light of the glowing coal and fires for the blacksmith’s work is highlighted..


Another portion of the same village. The idea was that the nomad blacksmiths, Gadia lohar set up their workshops around this area along with their livestock..


The same area was then converted to a modern day setup. With temporary shades converted to small structured roofs and different workshops of iron works.


One of the blacksmiths in this village, Munna lohar’s workshop..


Some stills from the film..


  • Folklore: This is where the epic love story of Mirza and Sahibaan unfolds. We see some different locations of the story for this. Of them these are a few sketches and renderings for the sequence of Sahibaan’s wedding that were made during the planning stages.





Some stills from the film..


  • Childhood: Monish and Soochi’s childhood days in Jodhpur. Their homes were set up in real locations and dressed by us. Some of the designs..






Some stills from the film..


  • Present Day: This is a mix between Adil Mirza’s (Monish) stud farm life, Karan’s palatial spaces and Soochi’s home, where eventually the wedding ceremony happens. Some of the pre-production renderings..









Some stills from the film..



Special Props

Some props were specially designed and created for the Mirza-Sahibaan folklore period. We see a horseback archery tournament at the beginning; the contestants are all in to woo Sahibaan. They were categorized into separate CLANS, created by the costume designer, to design a specific look for each according to their geographical conditions. These clans had their own symbols that were transformed into flag masts.

Their bows and arrows were colour coded according to each clan. Quivers and scabbards were separately designed and made. Even their horses could be distinguished by separate horse dressing and horse masks.

Stills from the film..



Mirzya- in theatres October 2016


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