Count on Ritu Kumar to spring a surprise or two. One of Indias earliest fashionistas, Kumars shows are known for their innovation and lavishness. The latest was yet another breathtaking affair. In a show titled Paanch Vastra, she displayed her collection through theatrical sequences created around five women characters from the Mahabharata — Kunti, Draupadi, Gandhari, Amba and Ganga. And she chose five colours for the clothes representing the five women. The concept was the brainchild of Kumars son Amrish, and the show was directed by theatre veteran Neelam Man Singh. As for the outfits, they were by, who else, the indefatigable Ritu Kumar!
He is often called the best-kept secret of the Indian art world. V. Ramesh, who is from Visakhapatnam, usually prefers to keep a low profile and is happiest when he is amidst the quietude of his studio. So when he got a proposal for a book that would catalogue his works along with a selection of writings on him by his friends, he wasnt terribly excited. I am quite happy the way I am, letting my works speak for me. But when this proposal came, I very reluctantly said, OK, says the artist, whose paintings adorn the walls of many of Indias rich and famous. Simply titled V. Ramesh, the book-cum-catalogue was released in Delhi recently. In a way, this book records everything that I have done over the years, he says. Its a nice introduction to the artist if you havent come across him before.
Fashion designer Wendell Rodricks has turned historian! Well, at least a raconteur of the history of Goa as seen through its clothes. His coffee-table book, Moda Goa: History and Style, traces the history of the region by dwelling on its costumes — right from the time of the pre-historic settlers, through the Portuguese regime, and down to the current Indian trends in more recent times. Apparently, Goan costume went through changes in the Buddhist and Jain periods as well, and even the Khiljis and the Tughlaqs of the Delhi Sultanate in medieval times left their mark on local fashion. Does Rodricks talk about how his own designs have influenced contemporary Goan couture? Youll have to read the book to find that out.
If youve been wondering where Rani Mukerji is these days, heres a bit of news. The Bong beauty, who seemed to have gone into hibernation, suddenly surfaced in Abu Dhabi last week to launch an Indian FM channel there. In her interviews to the local media, Mukerji gushed about the royal treatment she had received from her hosts. She was also mightily impressed with the Emirates Palace — one of the most luxurious hotels in the world — where she was put up. And she pointed out that it was only right that a Rani should wake up in a palace! She wouldnt say much about her forthcoming film, though. Thats okay, Rani, as long as youre back where you belong — in the limelight!
Onir, who has made such offbeat films as My Brother Nikhil and I am, is looking to the West to fight off the competition in the East. Fed up with the mega production houses of Bollywood, the director is collaborating with foreign production companies to make his films. So while hes tied up with a German production house for his film Chauranga, another film called Shab — the love story of a call girl — has attracted French funding. I have worked it out, this is one way of making movies in India. I cannot compete with the likes of a Rs 150 crore film like Don, says Onir, who had earlier rustled up funds from fans on social networking sites to make his films. Clearly, foreigners are more in sympathy with Onirs movie-making style than our homegrown producers.