Discovering a new path is tough, but redefining an existing idiom of design without losing its classical essence is tougher. Yet, Raghavendra Rathore, a heritage aficionado, design maverick and a protagonist of classic forms, chose the latter, making his name synonymous with the legendary bandhgala. Historically worn by Indian royals like himself, it is now essential for every stylish man to own one in his eclectic wardrobe.
In fact, Rathore will easily find a name in the contemporary fashion history of India for being instrumental in rediscovering the bandhgala as a style statement for the 21st century man and flagging off the journey of Jodhpurs from the polo field to an ornate wedding. He is a Parsons graduate, a city slicker, a Maharaja, an educationist, an interior designer, a hotelier, and also the one to understand the gracious coexistence of the lyrical past with an edgy present. But Raghavendra Rathore is first and foremost India’s leading menswear heritage brand that bridges the two worlds with great élan.
No wedding, be it for the Ambanis, the Birlas or the Bhartias, is possible unless the groom wears a Raghavendra Rathore bandhgala or achkan. It was this unique brand positioning in fashion and his fetish for finish that caught the attention of the global brand, Zegna, which invested in his fashion business, along with the Reliance Industries in 2018, with the vision to grow it to fresher pastures: Cities, countries and clientele.
Grandson of Maharaj Sir Ajit Singh, the younger brother of Jodhpur ruler Maharaja Umaid Singh — Raghavendra, along with his brother, has converted his home, the Ajit Bhavan Palace, into a luxurious heritage hotel, infusing each nook and cranny with his understated design.
Amongst the many feathers in his sumptuous hat, the one he actually invests his soul in today, is the Gurukul School of Design, a haven of education that he and his statuesque wife, Kavita Rathore, have created in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Himself a graduate from Parsons, he takes design education to the realm of real freedom. The sprawling campus, tastefully designed, is infused with the angelic guidance of experts and has enough technology to allow students to move freely from lab to lab, subject to subject, till they find their heart’s voice resonate in one.
In a chat with The Daily Guardian, the couturier speaks on the journey of the bandhgala and how it is linked to his career.
Q. Can you trace the origins of the heritage of the bandhgala?
A. The bandhgala originated in the Jodhpur state and dates back to the mid-19th-20th century. It is commonly known as the “Jodhpur suit”. The purpose and utility of it was purely for formal occasions, worn by military or aristocratic men in the bygone days. The synonymous bandhgala is the quintessential product that spans over 1,200 years of family history. The classiness of the bandhgala is embedded in the RR design philosophy, enthused by the rich past, but with a slick contemporary edge making it an authentic product offering by the brand.
Q. The silhouette is also used by global couturiers. Do you think their interpretation takes away from the classic form?
A. The bandhgala has been reinvented by many brands globally and the many interpretations have broken away from the classic form. However, the silhouette appeal is such that it has a recall value and can still be distinctly identified in spite of the many re-adaptations of it. Be it runway shows, movie costumes or uniforms, the bandhgala has been a universal inspiration for many and has a certain aesthetic about it that makes it a versatile product that is not restricted to a particular ethnicity.
Q. How was it dressing stars in a dress form patronised by the Rajputs?
A. It has been an exciting and innovative journey to be able to dress various personalities in the bandhgala. While the silhouette is the common thread, the detailing and textures have been played with. A range of woven fabrics and wool blends have been used and styled impeccably to emulate a fresh appeal.
Q. Are you open to evolving the format?
A. It has been a constant endeavour since our inception, to evolve, re-imagine, reinvent and redefine this signature product offering, thereby, making it a quintessential product by the brand.
Q. From going to Parsons to living in the distant Jodhpur and playing the role of an India royal, how did you blend the two?
A. The skill set and knowledge I gathered from Parsons was readapted back at home in Jodhpur to create a brand that had global sensibilities while the intrinsic values of my Indian roots blended beautifully to create a unique combination that epitomises what the RR brand stands for today.
Q. Educated at an acclaimed school and now a founder of GSD, how relevant would you say is design education for designers?
A. Design education is the stepping stone of all learning and unlearning before one decides to take the plunge into the professional industry or if they choose to become design entrepreneurs. It is crucial to educate yourself and take a 360-degree approach towards design education
Q. The current design education scenario versus GSD – what is the difference?
A. In a world where change is the only constant, I strongly believe that the designers of tomorrow need the opportunity to absorb an all-inclusive education. While other design schools propel the idea of focusing on one discipline, the GSD curriculum is truly multidimensional, combining Fashion, Textiles, Visual Communication and Lifestyle Product Design with management and the business of design, while staying close to the self through a series of courses on well-being and self-management, all under one program.
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SUNNY, AMEESHA EXPRESS GRATITUDE TO FANS AS ‘GADAR’ CLOCKS 20 YEARS
Sunny Deol’s ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’ clocked 20 years on Tuesday and the star thanked the audience for making his film ‘an event’.
The 2001 film, that also starred Ameesha Patel in the lead, became an instant hit. The Anil Sharma directorial did not just impress viewers but also registered huge numbers at the box office. The actor-politician took to Twitter to express gratitude to all his fans who made the film a ‘historic’ affair. Sunny tweeted a video song from Gadar, ‘Musafir Jaane Wale’, featuring him and Ameesha.
Sharing the video, he thanked viewers for showering the action love story with so much love. Sunny wrote, “We made a film, you made it an event! #20yearsofGadar, I express my gratitude to everyone who made our film historic.”
Taking to Instagram, Ameesha uploaded a series of posts recalling her acting stint on the project. In one of the posts, she shared a few unseen moments from the set and captioned: “Gadar…behind the scenes of the most iconic film that Bollywood has seen till date…thank you all for the love..20 years of Gadar.”
Released on 15 June, 2001, ‘Gadar’ was a romantic drama set against the background of India’s partition. The film also featured late Amrish Puri and Lillete Dubey.
On the occasion, Lillete too took to social media to remember her work in ‘Gadar’.
“15 June 2001…. 20 years since ‘Gadar’ opened on this day. And what a storm it created.Remembering the making of the film and especially my wonderful co-star who also came from theatre — the man with the deepest baritone Amrish Puri,” she wrote.
DECIDED TO PRODUCE ‘LAGAAN’ AS NO ONE WAS READY TO DO IT, REVEALS AAMIR
Superstar Aamir Khan is celebrating 20 years since the release of his iconic film ‘Lagaan’. The movie, helmed by Ashutosh Gowariker, was nominated for the Oscars and appreciated by critics and audiences alike. Reminiscing about the journey of making the film, Aamir recalled that no one was ready to back it. Ashutosh narrated him the film’s script a few times and he enjoyed it but was not ready to produce it initially as he did not want to dive into film production. Every time Aamir would meet Ashutosh he would bring up the film but was told that no one was ready to produce it. He finally took the plunge to produce it and act in it after listening to the script again in the company of his parents and ex-wife Reena who enjoyed the story.
A DOCUMENTARY ON SALIM, JAVED IN WORKS
NEW DELHI: A documentary titled ‘Angry Young Men’ based on the lives of legendary screenwriters Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar is in the works with superstar Salman Khan’s production banner SKF (Salman Khan Films) teaming up with Farhan Akhtar’s Excel Entertainment and Zoya Akhtar’s Tiger Baby Films. Indian film critic and trade analyst Taran Adarsh shared the news on his Twitter handle. “Salman Khan – Excel – Tiger Baby join hands… Salim-Javed Documentary… #SalmanKhan, Excel Entertainment (#FarhanAkhtar, #RiteshSidhwani) and Tiger Baby Films (#ZoyaAkhtar, #ReemaKagti) to make documentary on #SalimKhan and #JavedAkhtar… Titled #AngryYoungMen,” he tweeted. The collaborative project that will capture the magic of the era that Salim-Javed created together will be helmed by Namrata Rao. Famously called as Salim-Javed, the duo has scripted many commercially and critically accepted films ‘Patthar’, ‘Dostana’, ‘Seeta Aur Geeta’, ‘Sholay, Mr India’, ‘Don’, and many more.
AKSHAY’S ‘BELL BOTTOM’ GETS A RELEASE DATE
MUMBAI : As lockdown restrictions are gradually easing in several parts of India amid the decline in Covid-19 cases, the ‘Bell Bottom’ team has decided to release the film in cinemas. Taking to Instagram, Akshay Kumar on Tuesday shared that ‘Bell Bottom’ is scheduled to release on 27 July theatrically. “I know you have patiently waited for the release of ‘Bell Bottom’. Could not be happier to finally announce the release of our film. Arriving on the big screens worldwide. ‘Bellbottom’ on 27 July,” he wrote. The movie was earlier slated to release on 2 April 2021. However, it got delayed due to the second wave of Coronavirus.
Directed by Ranjit M. Tewari, ‘Bell Bottom’ has been touted as a spy thriller. Vashu Bhagnani, Jackky Bhagnani, Deepshikha Deshmukh, Monisha Advani, Madhu Bhojwani, and Nikkhil Advani have produced the project, that also features actors Vaani Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, and Lara Dutta Bhupathi.
‘Bell Bottom’ has always managed to lead the change from the beginning. Even last year, it hit the headlines for being the first Hindi film to be shot and completed during the pandemic with exemplary on-set Covid management. Akshay has several projects in his kitty including ‘Atrangi Re’, ‘Raksha Bandhan’, ‘Bachchan Pandey’, ‘Sooryavanshi’, ‘Prithviraj’, and ‘Mission Lion’.
ADITI GETS NOSTALGIC ABOUT HER TELUGU DEBUT FILM
NEW DELHI: Three years ago on Tuesday Aditi Rao Hydari made her big Telugu debut with ‘Sammohanam’ and left everyone amazed with her performance. An Indian Telugu-language romantic drama, ‘Sammohanam’ once again established Aditi has one of the most bankable and versatile Pan Indian actresses in the country. Hailed as a strong debut in Telugu cinema, Aditi was heartwarming in the film. Aditi exclaimed, “Firsts are always special. I heard this story over a phone call with (director) Mohan Krishna Indraganti. I loved the story and said yes immediately. There were lots of well-meaning people who told me to do a more typical big-ticket film as my first Telugu film. I loved ‘Sammohanam’ and I went with my gut and I’m so happy that I did.”
I WAS REJECTED FROM 250 AUDITIONS BEFORE ‘MARDAANI’: TAHIR
MUMBAI: Tahir Raj Bhasin recently revealed that he was rejected 250 times before he was signed on by Aditya Chopra for ‘Mardaani’.
Tahir said, “Anything that’s worthwhile takes time and this is something I understood when I first came to Mumbai. I was rejected from some 250 auditions over 3 years before Mardaani but I used this as positive fuel and feedback. It meant I needed to grow and growth came from workshops and hours of practice.” He added, “The improvements that came as a result of obstacles prepared me to be propelled when the time was right. Strength lay in getting hit and in the will to keep moving forward. Today’s world is all about that simple message. We have all been affected directly or indirectly by an unforeseen time and courage is to make ourselves better, fitter and stronger for the test of time to come.”
Despite the overwhelming number of rejections, Tahir never lost hope and believed he was destined to shine in Bollywood. He said, “To be honest, I never saw my initial time in Mumbai as a struggling phase. It was an aspiring phase. I was visualising a dream and aspiring to make it real and it’s the hardship and journey that make the successes worth celebrating.”
Tahir’s upcoming projects include ‘Looop Lapeta’, ‘Bulbul Tarang’, ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein’, and ‘83’.
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