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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‘Delhi crime’ is born out of Sadness, anger: Richie Mehta
Indo-Canadian filmmaker Richie Mehta is humbled by the International Emmy win for ‘Delhi Crime’, and says it is the culmination of years of work by hundreds of people. Mehta, director and screenwriter of the series, said: “I never anticipated getting here, it’s the culmination of years of work by hundreds of people, sometimes in total isolation and defiance.” ‘Delhi Crime’ is a complete labour of love, born out of sadness, anger, frustration, and compassion. The entire team from start to finish should take a bow for giving their all to this vision,” he added. The web series has won the Best Drama Series award at the 48th International Emmy Awards. The Netflix series is fictionalised version based on the horrific December 2012 Delhi bus gangrape case and follows the investigation by the Delhi Police. Over six years of research went into the making of the series, which was shot on location in New Delhi. It stars Shefali Shah, Rajesh Tailang, Rasika Dugal and Adil Hussain.
INDIAN IDOL 12 TO USHER IN AWESOME CHANGE OF ‘MAUSAM’
From the enormous pool of talent that auditioned for ‘Indian Idol 12’, this year’s judging panel, Vishal Dadlani, Neha Kakkar and Himesh Reshammiya, have narrowed down the voices for theatre rounds.
The competition among the top 15 will intensify as the audience and judges root and vote for their favourite contestants’ week after week, till the nation finds its next Indian Idol! Suave and sureela Aditya Narayan will be seen as the show’s host. Himesh says, “I am happy and proud to be again judging the new season of ‘Indian Idol’, which is not just India’s longest-running singing reality show but also has a wonderful legacy of finding and nurturing some of the best vocal talents. I’m confident that each of the chosen contestants is out to do something original and big in India’s flourishing music scenario.”
Vishal states, “As a platform that addresses the aspirations of young India, ‘Indian Idol’ is a show that is hugely anticipated by aspirants and viewers alike. Season after season, it serves to showcase the diversity and limitless talent that exists in our beautiful country. As judges, we have the incredibly tough job of choosing the best. I’m hoping ‘Indian Idol 12’ brings an “awesome change of mausam” and mood for one and all. ” Neha who is not only judging the ‘Indian Idol’ seasons but had also been a part of the show as a participant shares,“To me, the emotional connect with brand Indian Idol is very strong, given that it showcases the talent that cuts across all geographical and demographic boundaries. My own journey from contestant to judge on this show is one that represents the possibilities that exist in the world, and the opportunity that it gives the common man. As a judge, being honest and forthright with my feedback to the contestants is of paramount importance to me, to guide them right.”
KATIE HOLMES SPILLS THE BEANS ABOUT ‘THE SECRET: DARE TO DREAM’
Katie Holmes has spoken of what attracted her to the script of her upcoming romantic drama, ‘The Secret: Dare To Dream’. Directed by veteran Andy Tennant, the film revolves around the story of a hardworking young widow (played by Holmes), who is struggling to raise three children on her own, and how her life changes when she meets Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas). The film based on Rhonda Byrne’s 2006 self-help book, ‘The Secret’. “This project felt like such a great opportunity because the book means so much to so many people. I think that Tennant crafted a beautiful story that fulfils the themes of the book, but the characters are also very much alive on their own,” said Holmes. The cast also features Celia Weston and Jerry O’Connell. Connell shared how he reacted when he got the offer to be a part of the project. “When I first heard that they were doing a ‘Secret’ movie, I was like, I read that book! I practice those principles! And so then I actually secreted getting the role in this movie… and Boom, here I am. It works,” he said. The film will release in India on 27 November.
HERE’S WHY SUMEET WAS SCEPTICAL ABOUT HIS ‘DARK7WHITE’ LOOK
With his amazing acting skills and path-breaking roles, Sumeet Vyas has owned the digital space in the true sense, and he is now once again ready to rule the web world with his portrayal of Yudhveer Singh in ALTBalaji and ZEE5’s ‘Dark7White’. Seen in a never-seen-before avatar in the series, Sumeet was a little skeptical about his look when he took up the project. After all, this is the very first time where he will be seen with a full-grown beard and long hair. But he has nothing to worry about, as fans are already in awe of his look.
Speaking about his look in the series, Sumeet quipped, “I was running away from the look as I’ve never kept long hair or a full-grown beard till date. Our director Satwik Mohanty was very keen that I should have this look. I was trying to convince him that please don’t do this as it will be very difficult for me to maintain it. He told me that I can put on a wig along with a fake moustache and beard, it might not look convincing. I told him that I will go in with his conviction, and I am glad that I did that as it’s a very interesting look and had to come out naturally.” Streaming on ALTBalaji and ZEE5 from 24 November, ‘Dark 7 White’ is a youth-oriented political murder mystery that’s narrated in a quirky storytelling style laced with dark humour.
FEW FILMMAKERS ENVISION WOMEN CHARACTERS WITH EQUAL FOOTING: MRUNAL
Mrunal Thakur feels that very few filmmakers give equal footing to women characters in their movies. According to her, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is one of those filmmakers who treats female characters in fheir films well. “There are very few filmmakers who envision a story that gives its women characters an equal footing. In the best of Rakeysh’s works, one can see how beautifully he layers his women. Be it Soha Ali Khan’s Sonia in ‘Rang De Basanti’ or the female characters in ‘Delhi 6’ or ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, his women are memorable,” said Mrunal.
She will be seen in Mehra’s next film ‘Toofan’ alongside Farhan Akhtar. “In ‘Toofan’ my character is an anchor to the narrative despite not being the driving force of the plot. It was a beautiful experience working with Farhan and Rakeysh. They subconsciously help you push yourself to explore things you haven’t tried. The little nuances they bring to their work teaches you so much,” she said. “I have learnt so much from ‘Toofan’, most importantly (the fact) that women in new-age narratives aren’t ornamental. They have a solid ground to stand on and the male actors like Farhan facilitate that,” said Mrunal.
SPORTS TAUGHT ME HOW TO BOUNCE BACK AFTER A FALL: ABHISHEK BACHCHAN
Amazon Prime Video presented the official trailer of ‘Sons Of The Soil’ recently. It is a gripping documentary web series that goes behind the scenes to follow one of India’s most celebrated Pro Kabaddi league team the Jaipur Pink Panthers. The series talks about the struggles, pain, and the ultimate journey towards success. It also shows, the journey of the players, their motivations, and how a team collectively builds a plan towards achieving success.
The trailer showcases the journey of the team Jaipur Pink Panthers in the Pro Kabaddi League. The video of the trailer begins with a visual of Abhishek Bachchan, who owns the Kabaddi team, motivating the players. He establishes his motto in a sentence – “I like to celebrate a victory and I really don’t like losing.” There’s also a glimpse of Abhishek’s father and Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan in the video. Jaipur Pink Panthers’ official page shared the video on social media and wrote: “The Panthers are all set to leave their mark beyond the mat.”
Abhishek, who seems very excited for the sports documentary, says, “It is a historical moment for me to launch the web series ‘Sons Of The Soil’. It is a journey of what happens in the back of the team. The series showcases a microscopic view of success and failure of a team and people associated with the team.”
Captain of Jaipur Pink Panther Deepak Hooda, who shares a brotherly bond with Abhishek, says, “Abhishek is like a big brother and a friend who always motivates the team. It never felt like he is the owner of the team.”
Abhishek concluded by saying “I have never been this excited in my life. Sports has taught me character building, the never say die attitude, how to bounce back after a fall. Failure has a nasty way of dealing with you.”
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