The Swadeshi movement, fuelled by a desire to be self-ruled and self-governed, led to a major upswing of the anti-British sentiment. Everything foreign was taboo. Luxury was definitely a strict ‘no’. Khadi became a norm and textiles made in the mills of the British Empire were discarded to be burnt in the streets.
In the princely states, however, the remnants of the Mughal aristocracy continued their extravagances with large palaces, harems, hordes of retainers, miniature armies, ceremonial elephants, tiger hunts, and stables full of Rolls Royces. Luxury became restricted to the aristocrats, yet spread to the new elite, the ‘brown sahib’.
Prior to Independence, the Swadeshi movement inspired Indians to shun everything European and embrace khadi. Post Independence, India adopted a socialism-inspired economic model with elements of capitalism. India adopted the five year plan periods from USSR’s centralized and nationalized approach. These policies further resulted in the decline of the aristocrats and their demand for western luxury in India.
India went through the painful and expensive process of Partition which brought about a phase of destruction and huge economic loss. Post-Independence India experienced a slow growth rate of 3.5% till 1980.
In 1938, the Nizam of Hyderabad was the richest man in the world with his assets being slightly higher than 30% of India’s relative GDP. Our nation witnessed the Hindu rate of growth from 1952 to 1980. In 2008, Mukesh Ambani was the richest man on earth with his assets being little above 20% of India’s GDP. During this period from 1966 to 1987, there was a steady decline in the wealth of the top 0.1% of India’s population. At the same time, the new rich are the new business and entrepreneurial class. The rise in market capitalisation also speaks of people who would be holding wealth in the form of investment in stock markets and can form another segment of the rich who can cater to luxury goods.
Post-Independence, with the demolition of the zamindari, caste and class systems, reforms were a way of the society. The British, having siphoned off most of India’s treasures and upper class income, a change in the pattern of consumption of the so-called elite was inevitable. No longer could the new upper class maintain palaces and harems or wear silks and muslins! The erstwhile kings had been stripped off their special status and were granted ‘privy purses’ by the Government of India. This was to let them maintain their personal style and well-being. This too was discontinued in 1971. However, post-Independence, there came the new classes of industrialists, bureaucrats, lawyers, doctors, teachers and journalists, whose social position was due to education and training rather than heredity. Meritocracy was the norm of the day.
The Rich of Independent India
Growth was relatively slow during the 1950s and 1960s. The process of nationalisation and License Raj affected the growth of the private sector. In the 1970s, anyone who had a car and a telephone was considered to be rich. During this period, a basic home appliance like a refrigerator was so rare that it found space in the living room and serving ‘fridge water’ to guests was a matter of great pride. The opulence of the Maharajas was history after Indira Gandhi sensibly scrapped the Privy Purse in 1971. As a result, Indians started looking at the West for swanky lifestyle models. A few who went abroad returned with designer labels. There was also the rise of a class of rich which depended on smugglers to satisfy their quest for luxury, of which, luxury spirits were the most prominent.
There was a notable change in the import of luxury cars during this period too. An embryonic car manufacturing industry was developed in the 1940s. Hindustan Motor was launched in 1942, followed by Premier in 1944 and Mahindra and Mahindra in 1945. Post Independence, there was a law restricting the import of fully built up cars. The Government of India, along with the private sector, tried to develop automotive parts manufacturing units as well.
Hindustan Motors’ cars in the 1940s
Fashion became the symbol of luxury for most Indians where the upper crust still used the Victorian and Mughal styling. The 1960s saw body hugging suits, sleeveless tops, bell-bottom trousers and more which were all inspired by Bollywood and gained mass popularity during this period. This was followed by the most colourful decade of 1970s, with vibrant colours, bold designs and a sense of desperation to be liberated in the form of the hippie culture. Post Independence, there was also the revival of traditional textiles. A large part of the revival movement in Indian fashion was brought about by Ritu Kumar who worked on the traditional hand-block printing techniques of Bengal. She also worked on zardozi embroidery in her garments, which had its origin in the royal costumes dating back to the Mughal era, leading to the rediscovery of Indian heritage.
The influence of Bollywood
The single biggest contributing factor to the development of luxury has been fashion and the influence of the film industry. Bollywood was an early trendsetter where, in 1960, costume designers like Bhanu Athaiya started experimenting with film fashion. Over the years, popular Bollywood trends were the differentiator between ordinary or fashionably luxurious attire. Gradually, situations and themes out of Indian cinema became Westernised, paving the way to diverse global fashion exposure.
Abhay Gupta is a luxury thought leader, retail expert, philanthropist, author, speaker and an MGSCC-certified leadership coach. During his long career, he has headed brands like Versace, Corneliani, Versace Home, Trussardi Jeans, and Cerutti.
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I HAVE A SMALL BUT IMPACTFUL ROLE IN ‘BELL BOTTOM’: VAANI KAPOOR
Mumbai : Vaani Kapoor, who was last seen in the 2019 hit film ‘War’, is thrilled that she got the opportunity to work opposite Akshay Kumar in ‘Bell Bottom’, a movie in which she has a small but impactful role. Vaani, who made her Bollywood debut with the 2013 romantic-comedy ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’, said the decision to do ‘Bell Bottom’ was instant because she got a chance to share the screen with her matinee idol. Vaani said, “I’m fortunate to have got the opportunity to work with one of the icons of Hindi cinema today, Akshay Kumar sir. I’m deeply thankful for his trust and faith. I have a small but impactful role in BellBottom which I’m hoping will be loved by audiences and critics alike.” She added, “I’m just thrilled that my journey in cinema so far has enabled me to be a part of the film and fact that I could share screen space with Akshay sir, who is larger than life and such a great person, the decision was a no-brainer.”
SONU SOOD JOINS SPECIAL OLYMPICS BHARAT AS BRAND AMBASSADOR
MUMBAI : Indian actor and philanthropist Sonu Sood has always been a step forward to aid those in need, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ‘Dabangg’ star has added another feather to his cap by becoming the brand ambassador of India at the Special Olympics to be held in Russia.
Sonu announced the news on his Instagram account with a picture of him wearing the jersey and posing with the Special Olympics Red Ball. He wrote, “Feeling proud today as I’m chosen to be the Brand Ambassador for India at the #SpecialOlympics to be held in Russia! I’m sure our champions will make us proud and I wish them all the best! Jai Hind.”
The virtual event of the inaugural session was viewed by over 500 athletes, coaches, families, officials and volunteers.
VICKY KAUSHAL GIVES A GLIMPSE OF HIS INTENSE WORKOUT ROUTINE
MUMBAI: Struggling to motivate yourself to workout? Don’t worry. Actor Vicky Kaushal’s latest Instagram post will definitely inspire you to burn some calories.
On Monday, Vicky took to the photo-sharing application and posted a picture of him lifting weights. His facial expressions while working out clearly indicates that he is giving it his all to achieve a perfect body.
“Wip (Work in progress),” he captioned the post. Vicky’s picture left netizens stunned. “Beast. Beast. Beast,” a user commented. “Oh my god…real transformation in making,” another user wrote.
Reportedly, Vicky is undergoing intense fitness training for his role in ‘The Immortal Ashwatthama’, which is being helmed by Aditya Dhar. Vicky will also be seen in ‘Sardar Uddham Singh’, ‘Takht’, and ‘Sam Bahadur’.
ANUSHKA SHARMA ACES STREET STYLE FASHION IN UK
LONDON : Anushka Sharma is known for acing her sartorial looks be it a red carpet gown or a simple airport look and on Sunday the actor gave more proof of it during a casual stroll in the streets of Nottingham in the UK.
Anushka is currently in the UK with her husband Virat Kohli and their 6-month-old daughter Vamika as India tours England for a cricket series. The actor took to her Instagram handle and shared a series of solo pictures that sees her strolling the streets of Nottingham.
The first snap catches her million-dollar smile as breeze runs through her hair; the second and third picture shows her taking a stroll as she enjoys the English weather. While the pictures are proof that the ‘Patal Lok producer is spending a Happy Sunday in England, what not to miss is the street style fashion that she has totally graced. Anushka is seen sporting a casual black tee with wide-leg ripped jeans, paired with white sneakers. Keeping her luscious locks open in air, the actor looks classy and street-style chic.
SAAHIL BHARGAVA’S KOHIMA NOMINATED AT LA SHORTS FILM FEST
CHENNAI: Los Angeles based Mumbai boy Saahil Bhargava’s music video Kohima has been nominated at the prestigious LA Shorts International Film Festival in two key categories- animation and music video. An elated Saahil Bhargava talks about his song Kohima.
What is the thought behind Kohima? Kohima is about a soldier’s experience at war. It is inspired by the Battle of Kohima, a WW2 conflict that took place in Northeastern Indian in 1944. Rather than focus on the entire war, it focuses on one individual soldier’s emotions. His panic, his desperation and sheer desire to survive and go home. I chose this concept because I wanted to explore the experience of an individual soldier, and I found that the Battle of Kohima was this horrific brutal battle that is not talked about enough even though it is a crucial battle both in Indian history and WW2 history.
When did you start your journey as a musician ? I started singing as a little kid, and eventually started to play classical/jazz piano, rock/metal guitar, bass guitar and the alto sax. I kept studying music and eventually found myself studying musical theater after college. That is what made it all click for me, as my music being stories allows me to combine all my skills as a singer, songwriter, composer, writer and actor.
You have directed and sung Kohima. How did you manage both roles ? I worked on the music first. Starting with lyrics and then eventually doing the music. The trickiest part in the music process was getting the vocals right, as I really had to get into the head of the character, in this case the soldier, and convey his emotions through that lens. Once the song was recorded, I worked with Keshav Dhar (of Skyharbor) on the mixing/mastering elements. After the entire song was completed, I then was able to work with Harmeet Rahal with support from Big Bang Music. Harmeet and I worked together on getting the right visual style for the song, with him driving the design and visuals, while I focused more on the character/story elements. Given my background working in Animation with Rainshine Entertainment, it’s not my first time doing an animation project, but Kohima was special because it was a music video with a very clear focus. We wanted to get the main character’s emotions across, and as a result the video does highlight his face and the dread he is feeling.
SRK SENDS BEST WISHES TO INDIAN WOMEN’S HOCKEY TEAM
MUMBAI : After the Indian women’s hockey team made history by defeating Australia to book their place in the semi-final for the first time in the Olympics, superstar Shah Rukh Khan took to his Twitter to congratulate the girls in his unique way.
SRK played an important role in popularising hockey in the country years ago when he played the iconic role of a hockey coach, Kabir Khan in the hit movie ‘Chak De! India’.
Shah Rukh addressed himself as Kabir Khan while giving his best wishes to the Indian women’s hockey team. “… Just bring some Gold on your way back….for a billion family members. This time Dhanteras is also on 2nd Nov. From: Ex-coach Kabir Khan,” SRK wrote.
Responding to SRK’s post on Twitter, Marjine thanked the former for his support. “Thank you for all the support and love. We will give everything again. From: The Real Coach,” Marjine tweeted. Actors who played the role of hockey players in ‘Chak De! India’ also congratulated the real-life Indian women’s hockey team on their win. Actor Vidya Malavade, who essayed the role of the team captain, took to Instagram and shared a picture of the reel vs real team. “My phone hasn’t stopped ringing since morning and I was just a part of the reel ..This .. These women are the real deal ..such pride .. such grit .. so much power.. Team INDIA Onwards and Upwards ladies ..#JAIHIND Here’s wishing Rani and her team all the very very best .. Go conquer girls.” she wrote.
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