Doll up for d-day

M y Diwali celebrations have already begun with this shoot! — Rukmini Maitra glams up for t2 in Raj Mahtani jewels & Anamika Khanna clothes

  • Published 19.10.17

The emerald draped sari-gown, dressed up with a heavy polki Mughal choker and matching polki earrings, makes for a glam look if you are attending a Diwali cocktail party or planning a night-out. A bracelet on one wrist and matching ring, the look is smart, fuss-free yet super effective. Blow-dried tousled hair, nude eyes and lips and a dash of peach on the cheeks, glam with a capital G. “I wanted to show with this look that you can actually wear heavy polki jewellery with Western clothes,” Raj explains the idea behind the look.

The pale pink and silver lehnga-choli with on-trend tassels makes a subtle statement. The assortment of jewellery here is well thought out — a coral choker and a table-cut diamond shackle chain around the neck, a gold mesh on the wrist and the fingers draped in multiple rings. The high point of the look is the gold headband and the hair accessories. There’s a touch of bohemian in the look, with brown eyes and lips, pink cheeks and scrunched-up hair. “This sort of makes Rukmini look ethereal… very fragile, vulnerable. It’s almost an Elizabethan look… it’s very international even though she’s wearing a lehnga. The gold band is an offshoot of the hippie look but in a refined sort of way,” says Raj. 

The red lehnga spells tradition with a capital T. She’s tanked up with jewellery — a maangtika, hair ornaments, a small nath, classic pasha jhumkas, polki choker, a sitahaar with coloured stones, stacked-up bangles and multiple rings. Yet the look is kept neat with gelled, pulled-back hair, a touch of gold on the eyes and dark red lips. “This is one of my most favourite looks that I have ever done. It’s difficult to put red and red and red together — red outfit, red jewellery and red flowers in the hair. The trick lies in how you balance it to make it look refined. In this case more is less,” smiles Raj.

It’s an absolute pleasure to be shooting for Raj Mahtani finally, we’ve known each other for quite some time now. When he called me for the shoot, and for t2, which is like my home ground, I was very excited and then I got to know I would be wearing Anamika Khanna clothes! So it’s an amalgamation of a designer whose clothes are so celebrated and a designer whose jewels are so celebrated. I think my Diwali celebrations have already begun with this shoot! And I am doing this after so long, it feels so different after coming from a movie set to be a model… it’s so liberating! So it’s such a rush of emotions I am feeling, you know there’s something about being a model… it’s my first love… so (when I am modelling) there’s a different aura about me, it’s like a bottle of champagne waiting to burst… 

All the looks have come out so well and so different from each other, all the textures are so different…. With the jewellery, Raj can absolutely transform anybody… the amalgamation of clothing and jewellery is so important. The best thing about Raj’s jewellery is it’s not always for any particular occasion, today I am wearing this for Diwali, tomorrow I can wear this for Christmas, maybe with a ball gown, a jumpsuit or a suit. And the way he styles them is amazing… I have so much on, yet I am not looking like a disco ball! It’s a lot of jewellery, a lot of clothing, yet it looks like one complete whole. And the biggest part is that this entire shoot just reflects the talent from Calcutta.

I am a very family person and I am very close to my niece Amaira and she is turning three on 20th (October)… she lives in Delhi, so I am going to Delhi to spend her birthday with her. It’s Diwali and Amaira’s birthday, so it’s a bigger celebration for the family. I would like to wish all t2 readers a happy Diwali, but one small thing is that I would like to tell them to make it a sound-free Diwali. Because a part of our family is our pets, for them it’s not a celebration. Also for a lot of elderly people or people in hospitals. Celebration is not supposed to be selfish, you have to be selfless. So celebrate, have fun, but be a bit aware  

— Rukmini

“Rukmini exudes this old-world Bengali look- meets-young modern girl of today… she can be truly international and belong anywhere in the world. She changes her look like a chameleon… how easily she was transformed in each of these looks. She was the perfect muse and the perfect canvas for me to showcase our work. And Anamika’s clothes are like a dream. I would tell all women to take a page out of this lookbook and try it. Please pull out all your old jewellery, mix them up in a balanced, refined way and be adventurous… have fun with your jewellery

— Raj Mahtani  

Text: Smita Roy Chowdhury
Pictures: Pabitra Das
Make-up and hair: Prasenjit Biswas