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The Telegraph She Awards 2018 saluted seven wow women from bengal. t2 cheered them on

The Telegraph She Awards 2018, presented by IIHM in association with Senco Gold & Diamonds and StarOm Realty, with co-sponsor Kutchina, television partner ABP Ananda, radio partner 91.9 Friends FM, event partner Cherry Tree, invitation partner The Entertainment Design Company, celebrations partner Ballantine’s Stay True, and hospitality partner JW Marriott Kolkata

TT Bureau   |     |   Published 03.04.18, 12:00 AM

WHAT: The Telegraph She Awards 2018, presented by IIHM in association with Senco Gold & Diamonds and StarOm Realty, with co-sponsor Kutchina, television partner ABP Ananda, radio partner 91.9 Friends FM, event partner Cherry Tree, invitation partner The Entertainment Design Company, celebrations partner Ballantine’s Stay True, and hospitality partner JW Marriott Kolkata

WHEN: March 29

WHERE: JW Marriott Kolkata

THE CEREMONY: The Telegraph She Awards was instituted in 2016 to recognise women achievers from Bengal or with a Bengal connect. The second edition celebrated seven extraordinary women, who were chosen by a panel of jury. The awardees were felicitated with 

The Telegraph She Awards trophy designed by Narayan Sinha, and gift hampers from Senco Gold & Diamonds. “They are women who have excelled in their fields, and their stories inspire us to believe in ourselves and follow our dreams,” said actress Swastika Mukherjee, the emcee for the evening. 


ALOKA MITRA receives her trophy from US consul-general Craig L. Hall and actress June
Her story: She founded Women’s Interlink Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works on integrating women, child and community development projects. For the past 48 years, Mitra has been helping women from the less privileged sections of society claim their rights. 

Q: In the five decades that you’ve been working in this sector, what has been the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

A: One of the challenges is how the hundreds of women who have been trafficked can be empowered and given a good life... giving them the opportunity. This work is very challenging but the beauty of it is that if you persevere, stay focused and work hard, and if you win, you don’t win personally. That’s where all of us come in. 


MADHU NEOTIA receives her award from actor DEV, SUVANKAR SEN, executive director, Senco Gold & Diamonds, and Joita Sen, director, Senco Gold & Diamonds 

Her story: She has played a pivotal role in providing women and child healthcare in Bengal, with a slew of centres of which The Bhagirathi Neotia Woman and Child Care Centre on Rawdon Street remains the star. She’s also the lady behind The India Story, a much-awaited lifestyle event on the city’s annual calendar. 

Q: What is your biggest takeaway from the initiatives you are pursuing in women and child healthcare?

A: It has to be the constant care that we must keep giving because that’s the only thing that can make a difference, whether it’s nursing, administration, or behind the scenes. It’s our job to make people feel comfortable. 


ARUNDHATI BHATTACHARYA is inducted into The Telegraph She Awards Hall of Fame by fashion designer and last edition’s She Award recipient ANAMIKA KHANNA and filmmaker ANIRUDDHA ROY CHOWDHURY
Her story: The former chairperson of State Bank of India is the first woman ever to head India’s largest public sector bank, where she had started out as a probationary officer in the 1970s. 

Q: You were a student of literature who entered the world of finance and rose to the top. Was not having a background in economics ever a hurdle for you?

A: Not really, because I think if you really want to do something and find it interesting, you will always find a way of learning what you need to learn. One needs to be learning throughout. And if you continue to do that, learn from whoever comes your way, then I think it is not such a difficult job. 


RITUPARNA SENGUPTA receives her trophy from actor Prosenjit and SANJUKTA BOSE, director, IIHM
Her story: She’s the leading lady of Tollywood, having done 200 films in her 25-year career and having ruled the box office for over a decade, often with Prosenjit as her co-star. Her work in art-house cinema has been significant too. 

Q: We all want to know what’s the secret behind your energy and your indomitable spirit...

A: I don’t know how it comes, how it begins, how it ends. I hope it never ends for me. I still feel like a little girl who wants to do so much in life. I love my craft, I love my work. I have such a beautiful fraternity who love me, who give me so much of inspiration, energy. I am here to do a lot more. 


USHA GANGULI receives her trophy from actress KOEL MALLICK and filmmaker ANJAN DUTT
Her story: Through the Hindi theatre group Rangakarmee, which she formed in 1976, Ganguli tells soul-stirring, thought-provoking stories of the unsung and the 

Q: What inspires you to keep pushing the envelope in theatre even after so many years?

A: Every day I get around 10 calls from people and all of them want to do theatre! The younger section of the society is interested in theatre. They know the power of theatre because this power can change society, create social awareness and make them fighters. 


SUDHA KAUL receives her award from danseuse Tanusree Shankar, actor Abir Chatterjee and Namit Bajoria, managing director, Kutchina

Her story: She founded the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy (Taratala) to provide support and care for people with cerebral palsy after her son Arjun was diagnosed with the condition, and since 1974 has been teaching and mentoring children with cerebral palsy to lead a fuller life. 

Q: Every time there was a setback in your journey, how did you motivate yourself to carry on? 

A: Since I work with children, I think a smile on a child’s face is enough motivation. I have a lot of faith in children and that’s how we moved forward.


NAMRATA DUBASHI receives her award from fashion designer Kiran uttam ghosh and vishal jhajharia, managing director, StarOm Realty

Her story: She is one of the 10 per cent of women who make it to partners in top management and strategy firms. The IIM Bangalore alumnus heads eastern region operations for McKinsey and Company.

Q: What is your message for women who are balancing home and work and aspire to play a greater role in leadership?

A: I think the next decade is going to be about the war for talent and war for talent cannot be won without women leading the charge. My one message for women is to define what’s non-negotiable and fight every step of the way to protect it. 

Meeryung Hall, a trained soprano singer from the US, and Rabindrasangeet singer Sasha Ghoshal (far left) set the tone for the ceremony with a powerful rendition that comprised Tagore songs like Tumi robe nirobe and Tumi shondharo meghomala and also popular English numbers like Stand By Me and What a Wonderful World. They were accompanied on the piano by Soumitra Sengupta (above).


Dev with Madhu Neotia
Dev congratulates Rituparna
Meeryung Hall congratulates Usha Ganguli (left), while Craig L. Hall looks on 
Namrata Dubashi with Arundhati Bhattacharya
Shamlu Dudeja (left), one of the winners of the first edition of The Telegraph She Awards, with Sudha Kaul 
Usha Ganguli with Nandita Raja of Kanishka’s
Madhu Neotia introduces her “Bari Ma” Bimla Devi Poddar to Craig L. Hall
The two She Awards achievers clicking a selfie have another common link — both Rituparna Sengupta and Arundhati Bhattacharya are Lady Brabourne College girls!
Fashion designer Kiran Uttam Ghosh with Madhu Neotia
Swastika Mukherjee, the anchor for the evening 

“IIHM has always been a great supporter of women empowerment and it’s our honour and privilege to be associated with this awesome initiative by The Telegraph. I thank The Telegraph for organising this huge event, which was absolutely fascinating. We saw the power of ‘she’ as each of the super champs came up on stage to receive what’s become a very prestigious award for women leaders,” said Suborno Bose, CEO and chief mentor, IIHM.

“This is the second time we have associated with The Telegraph She Awards. The concept of the awards merges well with the thought of our brand. We shouldn’t forget that it is women who are actually making all the difference in the world today and Senco Gold & Diamonds, for the past 80 years, has been in the role of adorning women in beautiful jewellery,” said Suvankar Sen, executive director, Senco Gold & Diamonds.

“The Telegraph She Awards really inspires as it recognises women who have achieved so much and gone above and beyond despite the difficulties they have faced. It showcases super achievers from different fields,” said Vishal Jhajharia, managing director, StarOm Realty.

“Kutchina is a brand for women and the Kutchina Foundation deals with women empowerment, so associating with The Telegraph She Awards was a direct connect. I liked the classiness of this event. It was so crisp and to the point,” said Namit Bajoria, managing director, Kutchina.


Tollywood’s first couple Prosenjit and Arpita in a rare evening out together. “The ceremony was very inspiring… so great that women achievers from various walks of life were felicitated. I got to know so much about the work of a lot of people, their achievements and how they are making a difference,” said Prosenjit. “Cheers to womanhood. It felt great to be a part of #SheAwards 2018 organised by @t2telegraph, where they celebrated womanhood by encouraging some powerful women for their activities,” tweeted Arpita.
Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury with June
He looked dapper, she looked gorgeous, and Dev and Rukmini Maitra turned heads as they walked in together. “The Telegraph She Awards is a fantastic initiative. The stories of the women achievers are so inspiring and motivating. They deserve a standing ovation,” said Dev.
Rituparna Sengupta with her Anuranan director, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Nilanjanaa with  Esha Dutta
Srijit Mukherji, Abir Chatterjee, Anwesha Mukherjee (Swastika’s daughter) and Mainak Bhaumik. “It’s a very important and heart-warming awards function, impeccably managed, anchored and organised,” said Srijit.  
Jisshu Sengupta and wife Nilanjanaa made for a cute picture. “The Telegraph She Awards is a nice initiative. I had a lovely time and it was great meeting up with friends,” said Jisshu. 
Prosenjit, Arindam Sil, Tonushree, Indrani Mukerjee and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Prosenjit greets Anjan Dutt as Abir looks on  
Abir and Srijit
The three hotties — Abir Chatterjee, Jisshu Sengupta and Dev — made for a #Droolworthy snap. “The Telegraph has always honoured women achievers... and these women have set an example for all of us on how to dream big and most importantly make that dream happen in real life,” said Abir.
Dev and Swastika
Tonushree and Arindam Sil
Koel Mallick
Gargee Roychowdhury and Arpita
Dev with Anjan Dutt
(L-R) Italian consul-general Damiano Francovigh with wife Barbara and Chinese consul-general Ma Zhanwu
Jisshu Sengupta turned cameraman for this group of ladies — (from left) Burnt Garlic lady Esha Dutta, Jennifer Datta of Orange Saco, Nilanjanaa Senguptaa and Manmeet Bassi


Anoyara Khatun, who had received it in the Social Work category, with Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and his wife, producer Indrani Mukerjee
Lovey, one of the winners in the Entrepreneur category, with sister Puja Kapur 
US consul-general Craig Hall with wife Meeryung 


“It’s a beautiful evening with some incredible ladies. The Indian food was delicious and I absolutely loved the rasmalai,” said consultant chef Shaun Kenworthy, with wife Pinky. 
MasterChef India Season 5 winner Kirti Bhoutika with a bowl of soup. “I particularly loved the sushi counter. There were some great vegetarian sushi and interesting Japanese salads,” said Kirti. 
(L-R) Mukta Nain, director, Birla High Schools, with Seema Sapru, principal, The Heritage School. “The food was wow! I had two helpings of the Awadhi Chicken Korma and not to forget the Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani that I loved. The desserts were to die for, especially the Strawberry Rasmalai, which was delicious,” said Sapru.
Starters, a live salad bar, a soup counter along with a khow suey station, Japanese salad and sushi bar, a live yakitori grill and teppanyaki station, live pan-Asian and Italian counters, veg and non-veg Indian mains and an extensive dessert station — the dinner spread for The Telegraph She Awards 2018 was a special affair, curated by JW Marriott Kolkata executive chef Alok Anand.
Beauty expert Bridgette Jones with Rituparna Sengupta
Swastika Mukherjee and daughter Anwesha catch up with scenographer Swarup Dutta and model Megha Roy. “From the bar, I loved the wine. And from the food menu, the Dal Makhani and Mutton Hyderabadi Biryani were my favourites,” said Swastika. “I liked the stir-fries with mushroom, tofu, bean sprouts and asparagus,” said Swarup. 
Debanjan Chakrabarti, director of British Council India, East and Northeast, with wife Debnita and The Creative Arts director (centre) Ramanjit Kaur
(L-R) Mainak Bhaumik with Abir Chatterjee. “I loved the refreshing rose drink that was served in the beginning. The Fish Maryland Cake with olive tartar sauce was my other favourite from the menu,” said Abir. 


Asparagus Cheese Roll, Cucumber-and-Sesame Seeds Kappa Maki, Tempura Vegetable Uramaki Roll, Spicy Vegetables Maki Roll... the veg sushi bar was a hit with the guests
Mutton Hyderabadi Biryani was the top pick from the mains spread that included Awadhi Chicken Korma and Fish Tikka Masala
Rose Sangria, the welcome drink
Prawn Cocktail Crostini
Tulsi Murgh Tikka
Palm Heart, Feta and Micro Greens on Lavash Square


The stage: They create. They lead. They inspire. 
These three lines captured the essence of The Telegraph She Awards 2018 and the decor at JW Marriott Kolkata Banquets lived up to the theme. The highlight of the decor? The 40ft x 28ft stage done in red, gold and black. “The trophy has an image of a euphoric and emancipated woman, the one who is liberated, and I took a cue from it for the decor. This red installation hanging from top is like the swirl that is formed when you toss a ribbon... like a free-spirited woman. This structure was wrapped with red wool by 12 artisans for two days,” said scenographer Swarup Dutta, who conceptualised the decor along with Rishabh Bapna, director of Cherry Tree, the event partner. “We wanted to raise the bar this year and create an experience,” added Rishabh. 

The centre of the stage had a round LED screen that was framed by panels of 200 rods, looking like a wind chime. “The circle symbolises womanhood and we hung various mild steel rods cut into different sizes all around the screen,” said Swarup.

THE BAR: The 32ft-long bar was literally “lit” up with lights and mirrors. Rose petals scattered below the lamps added a warm tone.

THE ENTRANCE: An 8ft-tall rotating statue — a replica of the golden She Awards trophy (above) — stood at the entrance to the banquets, and became the most clicked backdrop of the evening. Above it hung a stunning tiered chandelier made of red roses. “We used red roses everywhere because red was one of the theme colours. The rose globes (below) on the dinner tables made everything look so classy,” said Rishabh.

The 2ft bronze-cast trophies each weighing 3kg, designed  by Narayan Sinha.
The emcee for the evening, Swastika Mukherjee looked smashing in a sequinned grey wrap number by Nupur Kanoi, accessorised with studded earrings by Gauri Himatsingka. The look styled by Neha Gandhi was amped up by smokey eyes and glowing make-up by Abhijit Chanda that had Swastika’s “fave sparkles.” “I loved the whole look. The colour was unusual and it went well with the backdrop of the stage. Nupur Kanoi’s outfit is something I was planning to wear and the wrap dress was stunning... the detailing on the outfit added to the glamour quotient. Rohan Arora’s shoes added a hint of colour and I loved how Abhijit played with my hairstyle and those sparkly eyes made the whole look complement the attire,” said the actress. 
The dinner room wore a dreamy vibe with a massive installation of red hanging lamps.
(L-R) Swarup Dutta and Rishabh Bapna — the two men who made The Telegraph She Awards 2018 a memorable evening. 

Pictures: Rashbehari Das, Pabitra Das, B. Halder and Arnab Mondal


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