Mexican motifs to Mughal havelis, Japanese cocktails to zardosi fabrics, peaches to orchids — designer-décor bashes are the order of the day. And amidst all the innovation, the traditional continues to spring eternal — from the lanterns of Ferozabad to the marbles of Agra, from the images of Kumartuli to the pottery of Khurja.
It’s no longer just ornate floral patterns. It’s all about props, hanging lanterns, candlelight arrangements, metal halogens, matching fabric and music to suit the mood.
Theme dos are big in town these days, in weddings and star hotels, clubs and social gatherings. And a 29-year-old self-taught artist is working hard to harness the various elements under one roof and ensure that the party never stops.
The dim perception of Calcutta harboured by party-happy Delhi and Mumbai is “completely misplaced”, feels Rohita Bhaskaran, who now has her hands full, designing the launch bash of ITC’s Sonar Bangla and the Oberoi Grand’s Christmas party, besides numerous high-profile wedding receptions.
“As an artist, it gives me an edge in planning and executing theme parties, since I can conceptualise everything on paper and know what elements to look for,” says Rohita, who did Ravi Art-of-Living Shankar’s white-flowers-and-scallops stage at the Netaji Indoor Stadium earlier this year. She will also be dressing up the three-night, big-bang wedding party of Hero Honda’s Munjals in Gurgaon this winter. Closer home, there’s Grain of Salt’s first Christmas gala.
Once the client chooses a theme and the initial sketches are okayed, she sets about outsourcing the materials. “It entails a lot of travelling, as I believe in networking personally with the artisans at the point of origin,” says Rohita. She started her Calcutta sojourn with a gold-and-silver theme at the Millennium New Year’s bash at Oberoi Grand, and has since been “overwhelmed” by the city’s response to her concept dos.
Rohita is planning to set up a one-stop shop in January to offer “complete thematic solutions”, like a South Indian mandap, Thai pagodas, Kumartuli icons, designer diyas or simply a backdrop for a church wedding, “without overwhelming the purity of the place”. The young artist is keen to take her theme for a dream do beyond the upper crust. “We need not always get into the orchids or lilies. Local flowers and regional elements can be fused to create an exotic feel, without pinching the pocket,” she smiles.