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Valaya’s crafted couture now within arm’s reach

At a time when designers and artists are struggling to stay afloat, J.J. Valaya is swimming to newer seas. The ace designer speaks about his brand new online store and what inspires his collections.

Anshu Khanna

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He is an instinctive couturier, a spontaneous artist, a visual master and a craft juggler. His design eye turns gleefully towards what he creates and like a child lost in a candy store, he allows his heart to prevail as he gets going on a design. Off he goes mixing textures with prints, cutting his textiles into scrumptious silhouettes, adding delectable details and finishing a masterpiece with regal embellishments.

J.J. Valaya.
J.J. Valaya.

JJ Valaya is an artist who exists in the past perfect. A royal nomad, who in the same breath can think both as a royal and a nomad. He is a visionnaire and a design professional who ‘lives life king-size’, with dollops of guts and perseverance thrown in. He possesses a sense of adventure, which has prompted him to launch the Valaya world online with www.valaya.com. He is working away, pat in the midst of a pandemic, even when many of his contemporaries are in total denial. He laughs, “Just as I returned refreshed from a self-imposed two-year sabbatical, the world went indoors in what is being seen as a global lockdown, or as I like to call it, the forced holiday.” And so, JJ, refreshed and raring to go, did not put a spanner to his thoughts. Instead, he galloped ahead to launch the store online. “It was a simple reversal. We were gearing up to launch our flagship brick and mortar store, which we have predictably put on hold. Instead, we launched an online store.”

He calls it his “doorway to the world, a stepping stone to reach out to heritage seekers across India who can now shop a Valaya, sitting in the comfort of their homes.” It is only after he has reached out to the four corners of India that he will talk to the rest of the world, sharing his India story with heritage seekers, “may they be living in any physical zone of this universe.” Valaya shares, “I like to see myself as a geek, a tech child. We took our first step online as early as the 90s when we launched our website. It was, at that time, a brand piece and not for e-commerce.” Taking it to the commerce side then was just about shifting gears for him. He says, “I have signed off 2020. Let’s face it, most in the industry have. In fact, if you look deeply, half of those who, like us, started 30 years ago have fallen off the grid. The other half is trying to remain afloat this historic year.” Valaya instead is using this time to re-launch, introspect, take the world’s eye towards the many little stories he created this year.

With the launch of his ecommerce site, he brings alive a host of well-conjured design entities that go from uber luxe to bridge lines, seamlessly so. To begin with is a bespoke story that carries forward his muse series. It is a realm where only the most reverent of craftsmanship is allowed entry. These are pieces of indulgence, created for women who are collectors at heart, restless souls who cannot think of wearing anything that is not ‘one of’. He calls this line “Tabriz 19 — 2020” and interprets the magical world of Persia through his three loved design bastions: that of the regal and royal, the vibrant nomad and the glamorous Art Deco era. He says, “For me, everything is instinctive, a visual creation. I don’t want to pretend to be a craft protagonist or a textile exponent. For me creating something is a visual process.”

He also takes his version of the chevron, mixing with its architectural influences of his birth state, Rajasthan. He calls it the “Shifting Leaves Chevron” and explains that his designs are influenced by the Art Deco palaces of Rajasthan as he turns the leaves inwards to create his own version of this classic. Also from Rajasthan comes his menswear line that he calls Jhalamand. Named after the Jhalamand House where he was born to Brigadier J. S. Ahluwalia, who was serving the Indian army and was allotted a sprawling home which must have belonged to the erstwhile noble family of Jhalamand. “It stands demolished today. But it still remains as a collective memory to me as my place of birth.” He shares an interesting anecdote: “Raghavendra Rathore and I were born in the same hospital five hours apart.” And as they say, you can take someone out of Rajasthan but you can’t take Rajasthan out of them. Hence, Jhalamand is a simple monochrome collection of shirts in black or white that are either classic or Mandarin-collared or a range of short kurtas.

Using the versatility of the online realm he will soon also launch his Ika Jackets, which he calls “the younger sibling of the very successful Alika Jacket.” These are DIY and patrons can go online and click away to bring alive their personal version of the jacket. “They can choose the colour, piping, print and embroidery and see their Ika come alive on their screen!” Call him the designer with a vision, a photographer who is a visual genius or someone who creates visual classics, one thing is for sure: anything Valaya does becomes a visual treat.

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Falguni Pathak remarks ‘Wish I could take action’ over Neha Kakkar’s ‘Maine Payal Hai’ remake

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The renowned singer Falguni Pathak is not happy with Neha Kakkar’s recreation of her iconic song ‘Maine Payal Hai Chhankai’. She said in a recent interview that neither the producers nor Neha made an effort to get in touch with her prior to or following the release of the new song, ‘O Sajna’. The veteran singer also said that she wished to take action against the Neha Kakkar song but was unable to do so since she did not have the song rights.

Neha has come under fire from several fans for ‘ruining’ the original. The original singer of the 1990s hit song, Falguni, reshared fan posts on Instagram Story, subtly criticising Neha’s rendition of the song titled “O Sajna.”

“How long you can go Neha Kakkar? Stop ruining our old classics for us. Falguni Pathak is the OG. Stop with it already,” one of the posts on Falguni’s Instagram Story read.

The actors Vivan Bhatena and Nikhila Palat were featured in the original song, which was launched in 1999. At a college festival, the song was performed as a puppet show. The song was a resounding hit. Recently, the updated version was unveiled.

The music video for “O Sajna” features Dhanashree Verma and Priyank Sharma. “O Sajna” was written by Tanishk Bagchi, who is renowned for reinventing classic Hindi melodies.

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Ayan Mukerji says that Sharukh Khan’s cameo looks like Iron man

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Brahmastra has been a great hit on the box office and people have loved the movie. Ayan Mukerji recently spoke about Shahrukh Khan’s cameo in the movie which has been the highlights of the fantasy-drama. The actor is seen as Mohan Bhargav, a scientist who wields Vanarastra. While discussing Shah Rukh’s cameo, Ayan compared his scenes in the film to Iron Man.Ayan Mukerji was quoted as saying in a recent report, “If you actually look closely, you will see the tonality of that scene is a little bit Iron Man-like. We always thought Vanarastra will always exist in the world of science, which is why we have shown him to be a scientist.”The filmmaker added, “The tonality of that scene, because it is a bit of an item sequence at the beginning of part one, is different from the tonality of the rest of the film. Brahmastra has a romance between Shiva and Isha, it has some sincerity in its tonality. But Shah Rukh Khan is kind of a hero, cracking jokes. So, I knew that that tonality is different, even when we were shooting it, we were like this is very exciting. We were also having fun while shooting that part as it was very playful.”Recently, Ayan had shared that not only Shah Rukh’s fans, but the makers have also been thinking about a spin-off for his character in Brahmastra. Ayan teased that the spin-off might tell the origin story of the scientist. Ayan had told in an interview, “Before the fans were saying it, we were also saying that ourselves. When we were shooting the sequence in 2019, we were also saying on sets. As we discovered the personality of the scientist, we said, ‘Yaar, we have to do stuff. We have to do the origin story of the scientist!'”The sci-fi drama was launched on 9 September in the cinemas and has been performing well.

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Amitabh Bachchan reveals about his bonding with Aaradhya Bachchan

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Amitabh Bachchan

After a contestant from Amitabh Bachchan’s famous show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, asked a question from the host, he revealed that he is not able to spend much time with his granddaughter Aaradhya Bachchan, but he often gifts her pink-coloured hair bands and clips whenever she’s upset.When Amitabh informed the audience on KBC 14 that Vaishnavi is a reporter, she told him that it was her desire to interview him. She asked how he manages to spend time with granddaughter Aaradhya, since he is busy with work on so many films and shows. Amitabh said, “Yes, I am not able to spend much time with her. I leave around 7-7:30am, she leaves for school around 8am. She returns after 3-4pm and then she has homework and all to complete. Her mother (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) helps her with those. I return home around 10-11pm. She is already asleep by then.””Thanks to technology, we stay connected through facetime. It is only Sundays when she is free, and if I get the time, I play with her for some time. When she gets angry or upset with me, I gift her chocolates. And, what is it that women wear in their hair? Bands. Pink is her favourite colour so I gift her pink hair bands and clips when she gets upset. She becomes happy then.”The contestant also asked Amitabh to share his weirdest fan encounter and Amitabh told her, “It is weird when I say it but every fan is curious. We were once shooting in near a lake near Botanical Garden in Kolkata. We had to cross a lake and found 20-30 people standing on the other end. We were in a boat and I saw a man waving a paper and he kept screamed ‘one autograph please’. I called him. He carried the paper and pen in his mouth and swam over to our side. I hugged him and I also got wet. He was very happy when I gave him my autograph. But then he jumped back into the water to swim and the paper as well as the autograph washed away.”

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Entire Bollywood mourns on the legend Raju Shrivastava’s death

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Raju Srivastava

The legend of stand-up comedy, Raju Shrivastava, who won many hearts as a stand-up comedian and an actor, passed away at the age of 58 on Wednesday.He took his last breath in Delhi’s AIIMS hospital.He was admitted after suffering a heart attack on August 10 while working out at a Delhi hotel gym. Several Bollywood celebrities grieved his death on social media platforms and paid tribute. Taking to his Instagram Stories, Anil Kapoor posted a photo from their film together and wrote, “Om Shanti.”Film director Vivek Agnihotri shared a video message on Twitter. He credited Raju for solely shouldering the trend of stand-up comedy. He wrote in Hindi, “There is no such friend or stranger whom Raju Srivastava did not make laugh. Raju brother, gone too soon. You were a true legend of stand-up comedy. Om Shanti #RajuShrivastava.” Actor Ajay Devgn posted a black and white photo of Raju on Twitter. He said, “In your lifetime you gifted us laughs & more laughs, on & off the screen. Your untimely demise makes me very sad. RIP Raju. Om Shanti. May the Almighty give your family strength in this hour of bereavement.”Sudhir Mishra tweeted, “Raju Srivastava has gone! Hopefully, the lesson that he leaves behind is that irreverence should be our default state. To laugh in the face of authority is a fundamental right. Alvida (Goodbye)!” Rajpal Yadav shared a photo of Raju on Instagram and wrote, “I have no words to describe this loss. You have left us all too soon. You will be missed my brother. I just can’t believe this.#RajuSrivastav #RIP.” “Raju Srivastava Om Shanti RIP,” wrote filmmaker Rakesh Roshan on Instagram. Sanjay Gupta said, “Rest In Peace Raju. Thank you for all these years of fun and laughter.”Mika Singh tweeted a photo of Raju and wrote, “The great comedian, the most humble and respected @iRajuSrivastava bhai has sadly left us with his memories. May God bless his soul, rest in eternal peace. Om Shanti.” Shekhar Suman said on Twitter, “Wat I was dreading for the past one month has happened.Raju Srivastava has left all of us for his heavenly abode.Devastated to hear the news.May God grant him eternal peace. #OmShanti.”Nimrat Kaur tweeted, “Deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Late Raju Srivastava ji. May God bless his journey into the light #RIPRajuSrivastava.” Divya Dutta wrote on Twitter, “Heartbreaking to hear about the sad demise of #rajusrivastava. My first film had him in an integral part. Thank you for all the smiles. laughs and warmth. RIP. May God give your family strength.”Raju Shrivastava’s brother, Dipoo Shrivastava told that he got call from the hospital at morning and he was told that Raju is no more. The legend is succeeded by his wife and two children. He was declared dead at 10:20 a.m.

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MP minister wants a ban on the film “Thank God”

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Vishvas Sarang, the education minister of Madhya Pradesh, has urged Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur to prohibit the upcoming film ‘Thank God’ starring Ajay Devgn and Sidharth Malhotra. In a letter to Thakur, Sarang claimed that the film depicts Chitragupta, a Hindu deity who, according to mythology, accompanies Yama, the god of death, in an inappropriate manner.

Sarang said that “for the past many years, many filmmakers and actors in Bollywood are making objectionable comments on the deities of Hindu society and including obscene scenes.”

According to the minister, Chitragupta is shown in the recently released trailer surrounded by “half naked” women, and objectionable remarks are made on his behalf by Devgn.

“Due to the objectionable remarks made by the hero of the film, Ajay Devgan, there is a lot of anger in the entire Hindu society along with the Kayastha society,” he wrote.

“It is requested to kindly prevent the sentiments of the entire Kayastha/Hindu society from being hurt by giving directions to immediately stop the telecast of the said film,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, the ministry of information and broadcasting has yet to issue an official statement. Chitragupta is said to have been assigned the task of punishing or rewarding humans based on their actions in Hindu mythology.

‘Thank God’ is a forthcoming family entertainer film starring Ajay Devgn, Sidharth Malhotra, and Rakul Preet Singh.

The film tells the story of a common man (Sidharth Malhotra) who, after an accident, finds himself in a world between life and death and meets Chirtagupta (played by Ajay Devgn). Chitragupta and Sidharth Malhotra play a game he calls the “Game of Life.”

The trailer and first song, ‘Manike,’ were recently released, and the audience responded positively.

While Sidharth and Rakul will appear as a new on-screen couple, this is Rakul’s third collaboration with Ajay Devgn, following ‘De De Pyaar De’ and ‘Runway 34.’ The film will be released in theatres on October 25th of this year.

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First time in 3 decades, J&K LG inaugurates a multiplex in Srinagar

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New dawn in Kashmir: First multiplex opened three decades after cinemas were shut

For the first time in three decades, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, inaugurated a multiplex in Srinagar on Tuesday.

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