We often wonder: Who is a stylist? The dictionary describes us as: A designer of fashionable styles of clothing. Ask us, and we will tell you it is like putting a bit of yourself out there each day for people to love, hate or judge!
In the past four years—which were highly illustrious, we admit—we as ‘partners in crime’ put our heart and soul out there. We styled divas, stars, celebrated souls and our own selves with equal effort, research and attention to detail. Personally, we see ourselves as two ends of a spectrum, kinda yin and yang, one a Yohji Yamamoto (Shounak), and the other, Raw Mango (Pranay Jaitly). But together, I think we try to create magic around our subject—who, in this case, are the women we identify with, power houses who are happy in their skin and want to look like themselves always. Yes, we are blessed to be able to style Vidya Balan, Radhika Apte, Konkona Sen, Kalki Koechlin, Maria Goretti—all women who have a mind of their own and, with them, we, under our styling umbrella, ‘Who Wore What When’, have been privy to a ride that can best be called a roller coaster!
It was in 2015 that we returned to India, clueless like many our age. A prestigious degree in hand from Milan, yet lost. ‘Italy-sick’ and yearning for that life when, like a prophet of the future, appeared in our lives the celebrated weave protagonist Gaurang Shah, telling us in his customary swag style: ‘Here are a few saris, style them…’ They were the most stunning Jamdhanis that took our breath away. And before we knew it, we were on our way to Neemrana, styling a poetic, Indian miniature art inspired shoot. The shoot met with critical acclaim and, lo and behold, Pranay and Shounak, the stylists, were born. India was adopted and Milan thrown out of all thoughts.
In the same ‘twist of destiny’ style, we were asked, once again by Gaurang, to style Vidya Balan for an inaugural. We hit it off and, within a week, got an SOS call from her team to dress her overnight for the premiere of Kahaani. We ran around, got designer stores opened, and curated a look. And at the end, when she said, “Welcome to the team,” life finally fell into place.
Shaunak and I learn from people with knowledge and the humility to share it with young professionals like us. For us, knowledge is to share, and the more we see, the more we learn, and we are eternally grateful for our support system.
There have been iconic moments, like the time Radhika asked us to style her for the Emmy Awards. We had been stumped when we got a reply from the global brand Iris Van Herpen in seven minutes flat. Or when we created 35 looks for Vidya for the release of Shakuntala Devi, all sourced locally from artisans and sustainable brands.
Styling in India is still a new profession. People often wonder about the utility of this role. For us, it is like filling colour on a rich canvas, adding that little detail which makes the defining difference. In the past four years, we have done many amazing campaigns with Vidya, who shares our passion for promoting what is local. Yes, indeed, it has become a universal mantra now, but both of us and all our clients have followed this track since forever. Give us an Amrapali, a Shanti Banaras, an Ekaya or a Kishandas or even a new sustainable brand over global luxury (which we enjoy too) any day, and our adrenaline feels the rush. I think stylists today are going more and more for the rooted route and that, I feel, is the real stroke of mastery that we have humbly contributed to the canvas of India Inc.
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DIANA SHOOTING IN ABU DHABI FOR HER UNTITLED-NEXT
MUMBAI: With the teaser of ‘Adbhut’ and the release of her first Malayalam film, Salute, on the horizon, Diana Penty has all our attention right now. After treating us with some scenic, Instagram-worthy content from Shimla recently, the actress has now jetted off to Abu Dhabi for her next project. Taking to her Instagram handle, Diana posted a stunning image of the city of Abu Dhabi. The caption wrote, “Woke up to this beautiful view of Abu Dhabi.” While there hasn’t been any official announcement yet, our sources have revealed that she is shooting her soon-to-be-announced film in Abu Dhabi.
A source revealed, “Diana Penty has a packed calendar with back-to-back shooting slates this year. Currently, the actress is working on an untitled project in which she plays an interesting character and audiences can expect a surprise in a never-seen-before avatar.” From the looks of it, cine lovers and Diana’s fans are in for a treat as she has a number of interesting, diverse projects in the pipeline. The actor makes her Malayalam debut in “Salute” starring alongside Dulquer Salmaan, but what has most people intrigued is the supernatural thriller, “Adbhut”.
TAAPSEE’S ‘SHABAASH MITHU’ TO HIT THEATRES IN FEBRUARY 2022
MUMBAI: Marking legendary India’s Test and ODI skipper Mithali Raj’s birthday, Viacom18 Studios on Friday announced the release date for ‘Shabaash Mithu’, a biopic on the star, featuring Taapsee Pannu in the lead role. The movie is all set to hit the screens worldwide on 4 February 2022. ‘Shabaash Mithu’ is the coming-of-age tale of women’s cricket in India as witnessed by the most successful woman cricketer the country has ever seen. The film chronicles the highs and lows, setbacks and moments of euphoria of Mithali’s life with Taapsee essaying the titular role. Also seen in the film will be the talented actor Vijay Raaz in a key role.
‘Shabaash Mithu’ has been shot across domestic and international locations to aptly bring alive Mithali’s iconic journey and her meteoric rise to the world stage. Directed by Srijit Mukherji with the script written by Priya Aven, the movie is produced by Viacom18 Studios.
ALI FAZAL BAGS NEW HOLLYWOOD FILM ‘KANDAHAR’
MUMBAI: After ‘Death on the Nile’, actor Ali Fazal has bagged a pivotal role in a new Hollywood film titled ‘Kandahar’.
The film is being directed by Ric Roman Waugh, who has previously helmed films including ‘Angel Has Fallen’, and ‘Felon’. Popular Scottish actor Gerard Butler leads the cast as an undercover CIA agent called Tom Harris.
‘Kandahar’ is based on the screenplay developed by Ric Roman Waugh with former military intelligence officer Mitchell LaFortune. The story is based on Mitchell’s experiences at the Defense Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan.
KARTIK EXPRESSES HAPPINESS AFTER ‘DHAMAKA’ SUCCESS
MUMBAI: Actor Kartik Aaryan is on a roll. His latest release ‘Dhamaka’ has been making waves.
Since its release, ‘Dhamaka’ has been trending in the Top 5 Non-English Films worldwide on Netflix. It is also trending in the top 10 in films in 10 countries on the streaming platform. Talking about the same, Kartik said, “I am extremely happy to see the response to my performance in Dhamaka. I was looking for a role that was something different from what I had done before and this was exactly that! Dhamaka is a unique story of ambitions and how far one will go to change their life. It will compel you to always think while making decisions that ‘aap ne apni zindagi mein kya khoya, aur kya paaya’. To see the international level where this story travelled – with it trending in the top 10 films in more than 10 countries including UAE, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and many more along with it trending in the Top 5 NonEnglish Films worldwide on Netflix is simply mindblowing.”
‘BOB BISWAS’ REVIEW: ABHISHEK BACHCHAN’S CASTING AS BOB LEAVES A LOT TO BE DESIRED
We first got introduced to the character of Bob Biswas in Sujoy Ghosh’s 2012 film ‘Kahaani’. An insurance sales agent who moonlights as a contract killer, Bob came across as a rather uncanny yet believable character. Brilliantly portrayed by Saswata Chatterjee while combining an equal dose of eeriness and dark humor, the character became an instant favorite. And, after years of anticipation, Sujoy Ghosh in collaboration with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment has finally come out with a full-fledged film for ZEE5 based on Bob and with Abhishek Bachchan essaying the part instead of Chatterjee. The film, directed by Diya Annapurna Ghosh, also stars Chitrangada Singh, Paran Bandopadhyay, Ditipriya Roy, Purab Kohli and Samara Tijori in the pivotal roles.
Almost all origin stories are weighed down by expectations and comparisons. The fans of the original of course are keen to watch it and yet at the same time they are usually a little wary. Sometimes the high expectations and the emotional attachment to the original can also make them overly critical in their scrutiny of the new offering. The best origin stories are always mindful of two things, above everything else. First, there has to be enough on offer for the fans of the original as one certainly doesn’t want to antagonise or alienate them. Second, it should also be able to stand on its own for the benefit of new viewers as one obviously wants to grow your viewership. Often the worst origin stories fail on both these counts.
Now, Bob Biswas is neither a great origin story nor a particularly bad one. The film has its moments but it is also flawed in so many ways. Speaking of the film’s strengths, Sujoy Ghosh’s screenplay stands out for its great attention to detail. Although, the storyline is nowhere near as fascinating as ‘Kahaani’ or ‘Badla,’ there are enough twists and turns to keep the viewer hooked until the end. Paran Bandopadhyay’s performance as Kali Da is a major highlight of the film. Here’s is a fascinating character that deserves a spinoff of its own. Purab Kohli also delivers a memorable performance. Ditipriya Roy and Samara Tijori are also solid in their respective roles.
The Bob Biswas from ‘Kahaani’ is a cold-blooded killer who doesn’t hesitate before pulling the trigger regardless of who the victim is. He has no remorse in even pushing a pregnant woman onto the rail tracks. His only credo is to fulfill the mission that he is assigned. And Saswata captured the character’s mannerisms so well in ‘Kahaani’. Now, there is no denying that Abhishek Bachchan is an earnest actor. Regardless of what his detractors say, he takes his work very seriously. And the same is true of his portrayal of Bob. In fact, this really is the farthest he seems to have pushed himself till date in a bid to make his Bob as identical to Saswata’s as possible. But, the trouble is that a well-known actor like Abhishek Bachchan may never play an out-and-out bad character. And it’s not just the case with Bollywood. In Hollywood also we have actors like Tom Hanks who wouldn’t play out and out bad characters. During the golden age, there were James Stewart and Cary Grant who wouldn’t play killers.
Now, even when Abhishek plays a killer in say ‘Breathe: Into the Shadows,’ the character’s outrageous villainy has to be balanced using an alter ego. Similarly, his Bob has to have a redeeming quality. In the film, we meet Bob who is a family man. He dearly loves his wife and children. Yes, he is an assassin but he refuses to kill a woman who is trying to fight the drug mafia. Therein lies the rub. For, the moment you associate those redeeming qualities, he ceases to be what he is supposed to be—a remorseless killer. Bob Biswas is Bob Biswas because he is a killing machine. He isn’t supposed to think or feel before carrying out his missions. And, so, Abhishek Bachchan’s casting as Bob leaves a lot to be desired.
Interestingly, in his defense, Sujoy said that he wanted to steer clear of ‘Kahaani’. And yet the manner in which he ends the film, deliberately connects Bob to Vidya Balan’s thread from ‘Kahaani’. Another problematic aspect of ‘Bob Biswas’ is the weak chemistry between Bachchan and Chitrangda Singh who essays the part of Biswas’ wife. Also, the film is not really a proper origin story in that it doesn’t take us to the very beginning of Biswas’ journey; we only meet him mid-way. It certainly would be an interesting exercise to explore Biswas’ true origins, starting with his childhood. Perhaps, Sujoy has a few more films for the ‘Kahaani’ franchise in his mind.
‘I WAS DEEPLY MOVED’: AKSHAY LAUDS TEAM ‘CHHORII’
MUMBAI: Superstar Akshay Kumar on Friday gave a shout-out to the whole team of recently released Amazon Prime Video film ‘Chhorii’ for bringing out the social issue of female feticide in a subtle way through powerful storytelling and strong narrative.
While the audiences are catching up with ‘Chhorii’, it most certainly caught the eye of Akshay, an actor who has been a frontrunner towards highlighting social issues predominate in society through his films. Akshay took to his social media, to share a video that rightly so, highlights what women have been doing and achieving. Akshay wrote in his post, “As father to a girl who is my lifeline, I was deeply moved, and equally concerned, about this. Kudos for taking up this sensitive topic, @vikramix @Nushrratt @Abundantia_Ent . Power to you.”
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