|(From top) A fashion show in progress at Prince of Cal; the lonesome threesome bare their backs at the Backless Night at Cloud 9; Alicia Raut moves to the beat in BED; VJ Nikhil and DJ Whosane churn out some underground stuff at Tantra. Pictures by Rashbehari Das
Nightlife made more vibrant with a style splash and a fashion show to spice things up. That's the trend Prince of Cal, the lounge bar on the fourth floor of Sourav's: The Food Pavilion, has caught on to.
Having started off as any other night spot with typical trappings to attract the party animal, the place has over the past two weekends become the place for the budding fashion brigade of the city.
At least half-a-dozen young fashion designers are being given a chance to showcase their clothes here.
Titled Lifestyle Calcutta, the meet is an 'effort to launch about 500 designers over the next six months', claims Kanishka Mazumder of the celebrity-endorsed eatery.
While the fashion fiesta is likely to continue on Friday nights for another week at least, March 11 was special as it saw the launch of a magazine called Images of India, an extension of the platform being provided to the young designers.
'The fashion magazine will have write-ups and photographs of the lines showcased by these designers and will be circulated among a select group of people,' said Kaushik Banerjee, one of the two people behind the publication.
Actresses Koneenica Banerjee and Deboleena Dutt, actor Arindam Sil with his wife, and film-director Anindita Sarbadhicari dropped by for the launch.
Strutting the ramp in creations by Bandana Gupta, Medhavini Khaitan (the only designer to showcase a men's wear line in the series so far), Sunanda Garodia, Anindita Ray and Shantanu Guhathakurta, city models showed off saris woven in traditional fabrics.
Embellished with zardosi and kantha, the drapes did justice to the concept of eveningwear. Blouses in western designs to go with Shantanu's evening wear saris and Medhavini's subtle lounge wear collection for men deserve special mention.
Watch out for much more action at Sourav's this week as teams India and Pakistan camp in town for the second Test of the series. If the buzz in the food-and-fun circuit is to be believed, the cricketing heroes will be dividing their off-pitch time between Taj Bengal and Sourav's.
Dare not bare
Next time you get invited to a theme party, don't sweat if you don't have the appropriate gear. While the Page 3 party hosted by the newly-opened resto-bar Virgose last week was not only given a miss by local celebrities but even by regular party people, the Backless Night at Cloud 9 this weekend saw disc hoppers drop by in casual tees, kurtas and trousers.
'Blame it on the city's conservative attitude,' shrugged a young event manager, who, along with her friends, offered the only 'backless' backs that one witnessed at Astor's night haunt.
Frown on the evening drizzle, but even the presence of Alicia Raut of Meri beri ke ber mat todo fame failed to draw a sizeable crowd at BED on Friday night.
The item bomb from Mumbai, however, was beaming with enthusiasm before the start of her performance at the new Ballygunge Circular Road address. 'Calcutta is such a chilled-out city. I am sure people will appreciate my performance,' said Raut.
Born to a Russian mother and an Indian father, Raut has been romping on ramps for the past seven years. But it is her passion for dancing which ultimately brought her to the Indipop scene. 'I had so much latent energy inside me which I wasn't being able to channelise properly. But I think I have found my calling now,' said the lithe lass.
Raut has also been a physical instructor for the past 10 years. 'Dancing keeps me fit, physically and mentally. I am sometimes even told to tone down my movements and concentrate more on facial expressions,' she admitted.
Raut grooved to the likes of Dekh le, Dhoom machale, It's the time to disco and Meri beri ke ber... for the benefit of a curiously thin Calcutta audience, that seemed to be more interested in Shabana Azmi (!), who made a brief appearance after midnight.
The only underground thing Calcutta loves is probably the Metro. Underground sound is a strict no no for the night raiders who love their Turn me ons and Superstars on Friday and Saturday nights. Submerge ' The Underground Sound might be a breakthrough concept to revolutionise the music and clubbing scene in India, but Calcutta did not exactly drool to the beats on Friday night at Tantra.
VJ Nikhil Chinappa, whose wacky sense of humour, toned biceps, tattoos on bulging forearms and junk jewellery give him a cool dude look, played some tribal, tech house and progressive house along with DJ Whosane. All for a motley gathering.
While Nikhil, also the brand ambassador of Submerge, drew some cheers for his attitude, he could not exactly set the dance floor on fire. 'Submerge, which is a rage in the west right now, is still a new concept in India. It will take time to catch up with people fed on Bollywood tracks at the moment,' said the flamboyant VJ.
On his bohemian attitude as a video jockey he said, 'I belong to the first breed of VJs who wore their couldn't-care-less attitude on their sleeves (though most of the time I wear sleeveless tees) and gave the blabbermouths of the world an alternative career option. Whatever you see now is more of the same, which everybody copied from us.'