Having travelled avidly across the globe, I never tire of walking into a McDonald eatery wherever I go. Not because I am trying to cut corners or because I like eating a Big Mac. My quest is to admire the precision with which this global conglomerate has made the burger eating experience such an assembly line production. You will get the same number of napkins, sauce sachets, fries wherever you might be, from Auckland to New York! With a few tweaks in seasoning and add on flavours.
Now what if I say that Indian high fashion and couture as presented at fashion weeks is the newest example of straight-line productions. With all the design zest flattened out.
Couture, as we all know, is a realm that emerges from an aesthetic process. Creating a collection is as intense as pouring your soul into a canvas, singing to your heart’s content or rustling up a gourmet meal. Each collection that walks out on to the ramp links back to an idea, a thought, an emotion and a design bastion that is rooted in history and heritage. What a designer puts on the ramp are not just clothes but also a bit of himself. Besides the stunning work of a battery of artisans, beaders and weavers who together construct a piece of clothing.
It is against this backdrop that I was woken up from my stupor by the genius commentator and content creator Freddy Birdy when he, in one of his well followed posts, signed off the recent alliance of FDCI and LIFW with a simple mathematical equation of 0+0=0! Many must have laughed, many shown anger and disdain. For old fogeys like me however it was a sad moment. For, before our eyes we have seen a dream disintegrate into the mundane. Seen a collection launch get reduced to a source of entertainment. And the ritual of ‘showing’ your collection a twice a year regular affair.
A fact that has made the real aficionados quietly duck out of this world, leaving the arenas free for wannabes to conquer and in the bargain rustle up an inflated image of themselves. Needless to say, PLUs (People Like Us) are totally out of place in one of these circuses. I have possibly not visited one for the past five seasons. Can’t see myself juggling, robot-like, between MSA I and II, or amble for the VIP enclosure where all you see are pronounced dressers, half my size and age.
I began reporting on fashion in 1989, the same year when the brilliant couturier Rohit Khosla got off the flight from London and brought couture to New Delhi. When Tarun Tahiliani, a graduate from Wharton, founded Ensemble, India’s first multi-brand store for couture. And the year when Indians realised that Ritu Kumar was not a boutique but India’s first handmade couture label.
We were one of the few who were sitting in the Director General’s room in NIFT when a visionary like Rathi Vinay Jha proposed institutionalising fashion by creating a week of fashion where the underlying motive would be to not just structure the industry into creating two collections each year, but also have the vision to present them a season ahead so as to allow large groups like Selfridges, Browns and Neiman Marcus to book them in advance for the coming season.
It worked only for a few years after which fragile egos caused in fighting, mediocrity of vision diluted the quality, and the mushrooming of design schools and designers caused a mad rush to the ramp. Every incoming government compelled state-run design institutes to open more and more colleges, often with little to write home about in the name of quality of faculty. And in response fashion weeks grew in all directions to accommodate an army of designers who came out of these schools and used all kinds of territorial tactics to get in. Add to that the tendency to play favourites and what you had was the Waterloo of fashion, the end of well thought out shows that above all reflect the designer’s individual genius.
Yes, the arrival of straight-lined, predictable, fashion weeks have become like assembly-line productions. Run by event conglomerates or self-consumed councils who at the end of the day want to push their own wares, be it the image of the management or the bottom line of the group. In short, it is 0+0=0 moment for fashion and full marks to dear Freddy for daring to say that.
Fashion Weeks have rendered Indian fashion pale and predictable. Gone are the days when each designer got engaged in presenting his collection with as much attention to detail as he could.
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ARJUN MATHUR TO ADARSH GOURAV: HERE’S LOOKING AT THE TOP THREE OTT NEWSMAKERS
MUMBAI: The past few years have been a revelation for Indian cinema with the influx of OTT content. From handling an out-of-box idea to bringing forth a crucial issue in the limelight – our actors are going all out with their digital ventures!
While we saw some of the finest performances on the streaming platforms last year, there are a few names that define the space with their path-breaking performances, unconventional takes, and impeccable cinema sense. So, here’s rounding up the top four OTT newsmakers.
ARJUN MATHUR: You cannot have a list of the ground-breaking stars without Arjun Mathur. The international Emmy Award-nominated actor has pushed the boundaries with his non-conformist choices, like playing a gay wedding planner in Made In Heaven or shooting a show in a lockdown with The Gone Game. Now, he has Made In Heaven S2, Gone Game 2, Lord Curzon Ki Haveli, and Lionsgate Play’s next series.
PRATIK GANDHI: Pratik Gandhi became a household name with his blockbuster series, Scam 1992. The actor earned massive acclaim for his apt and flamboyant performance of Harshad Mehta. Later, he stunned the audience with his brave selections – Bhavai and Shimmy. Coming up next for the actor are Atithi Bhooto Bhava, Woh Ladki Hai Kahaan?, and Six Suspects.
ADARSH GOURAV: With his solid performance in The White Tiger, Adarsh Gourav has made it into everyone’s watchlist. The new-age actor bagged the BAFTA nomination for his performance and is all set to step into Hollywood with his next venture, Extrapolations, starring Meryl Streep.
PANDIT BIRJU MAHARAJ WAS MY GURU BUT ALSO MY FRIEND: MADHURI
NEW DELHI: Behind every successful person, there are unfailing efforts of teachers. Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj played the role of that guru in actor Madhuri Dixit Nene’s life.
After learning about the demise of Pandit Birju Maharaj, Madhuri, on Monday, took to Twitter and opened up about her relationship with him. “He was a legend but had a child like innocence. He was my guru but also my friend. He taught me the intricacies of dance and Abhinay but never failed to make me laugh at his funny anecdotes,” she wrote.
“He has left behind grieving fans and students but also left a legacy we will all carry forward. Thank you Maharajji for everything you taught me in dance along with humility, elegance and grace. Koti koti pranam,” she added.
Alongside the note, Madhuri posted a throwback picture of her doing mukhdas with Pandit Birju Maharaj. For the unversed, Pandit Birju Maharaj, who breathed his last on Monday, had worked with Madhuri in films like ‘Dil Toh Pagal Hai’, ‘Devdas’ and ‘Dedh Ishqiya’.
Bollywood in awe of Pushpa & Allu Arjun
Mumbai: Pushpa star Allu Arjun, the talk of the town, has absolutely impressed
his fans,audiences, actors in the South and also many bigwigs in Bollywood. The
stylish star with his emphatic performance has won the hearts of many in the Hindi
speaking regions. Now, Bollywood is all praise for Pushpa Raj aka Allu Arjun and
the movie, reiterate what the stylish star has said in the film, ‘Pushpa is not flower,
it is fire’. Completely entranced by Allu Arjun’s splendid work in “Pushpa”,
and also as the Hindi version in the North belt alone grossed Rs 100 crore
in box office collections in 25 days of its run, actors and big producers
in Bollywood have taken notice, and are now speaking about the
stylish star’s ability to charm viewers.
At a time when Allu Arjun has amassed a big fan following in
Hindi-speaking regions, there are reports of Bollywood producers lining up to cast him in their next Hindi films. Also, many
Hindi actors are showing interest to act in his upcoming pan-India movies. It is also reportedly said that producers are looking
to get Hindi dubbing or remake rights of the icon star’s upcoming films as they feel he will dominate the cinema space now.
The passion Allu Arjun put into his Pushpa Raj character is
so evident that people are just captivated by him.
LATA MANGESHKAR TO REMAIN UNDER SUPERVISION FOR A FEW MORE DAYS
MUMBAI : Giving a health update regarding legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, her doctor on Sunday shared that the megastar will still remain in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), under the supervision of doctors for a few more days.
The Bharat Ratna recipient was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai last week and her treatment is still going on. The 92-year-old star is suffering from corona as well as pneumonia. Dr Pratit Samdani who is treating the veteran singer said that “Lata ji is still in the ICU, she still that is why she is kept under the supervision of the doctor in the ICU.” “Lata ji will remain under the supervision of the doctor for a few more days, it is difficult to say how many days it will last. No one is allowed to meet.” The doctor also said that there is a need for people to pray for her recovery.
MOUNI ROY TO RETURN TO SMALL SCREEN AS A JUDGE ON REALITY SHOW
MUMBAI : After working in films like ‘Gold’, ‘Made in China’, and the yet-to-be-released ‘Brahmastra’, actor Mouni Roy is back to the small screen — the place where she first made her acting debut. Mouni is all set to appear as a judge on ‘Dance India Dance Li’l Masters Season 5’. Talking about the same, she said, “For me, dance is an expression. It is an amalgamation of various art forms. I am incredibly excited to be a part of Dance India Dance Little Masters as a judge. I can’t wait to watch the young kids showcasing their talent on such a huge platform.”
Mouni started her acting journey with TV shows and rose to fame with supernatural ‘Naagin’.
KURUKKU VAZHI IS A CRIME THRILLER: SHIRA GAARG
CHENNAI: What started as a surprising opportunity for actress Shira Gaarg to explore her passion became her career path once she started getting good reviews from reputed film critics for her role in her debut Tamil film Baby. Hailing from Bengaluru, Shira Gaarg was pursuing her college studies when a photoshoot caught the attention of director Balaji Sakthivel and his production team. They were looking for a fresh face for the movie Baby. She did not have any experience in acting then but after motivation from the director and support from her family she accepted the offer. Later after completion of her MBA she decided to take acting as her full time profession. Actress Shira Gaarg has recently completed the shoot for Tamil film titled Shot Boot Three directed by Arun Vaidyanathan and is currently shooting for her next movie Kurukku Vazhi directed by N.T. Nantha. In a candid conversation the actress avers, “Kurukku Vazhi is a crime thriller. It describes about what happens when people take short cut in life and how it would impact others. It is a very emotional role and the character has to go through mix of emotions. The story is about four people and what choices I make while dealing with them.” The film is produced by K Singh and A. Sharma. Apart from writing and directing the film, N.T. Nantha has also handled cinematography and composed the music. Apart from these projects, Shira Gaarg has also played the lead role in a Tamil web series Chewing Gum for Hotstar Network. She further added, “All my roles are unique and distinct. I am looking at playing meaty kind of roles. Fortunately the roles which I have played are all different and diverse.”
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