Agnik Kolkata + Parama
Gourab Kumar Mullick, an alumnus of St. Augustine’s Day School, Barrackpore,
St. Xavier’s College in the department of multimedia and animation and currently studying at FTII, Pune, travelled with his first feature film, Starfruits, produced by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni and co-produced by Samir Sarkar, who also produced Jonaki. “It is an independent Hindi film. Cannes invited me for this programme La Fabrique Cinéma Du Monde. It is a tailor-made programme to support the film-makers who are making their first and second films. They select 10 entries from around the world which are in the pre-production stage.... Our mentor was Midi Z (director of films like The Road to Mandalay and Nina Wu),” Gourab, 27, told The Telegraph, on Thursday, on his way to Paris from Cannes.
The story is set in the village on the Konkan coast of India in the ’90s, “in the period post the demolition of the Babri Masjid and prior to the Bombay blast”. “It is a unique love triangle between two young boys and a woman and is a coming-of-age film,” added Gourab.
Parama Ghosh, Agnik Ghosh, Pushpak Sen
The kurta by Agnik Kolkata: Calcutta boy Agnik Ghosh, who started his label around 2019, had only seven days to make the elaborate panjabi. “I got a call from Pushpak (Sen; the stylist for the project) around 10 days before Gourabda was leaving. He called me asking if I would like to dress up someone for Cannes. I didn’t know it would be so laborious! (Laughs) Gourabda had this idea of doing foliage patterns in ornamental form. So, this idea about the shikargah was in my mind. Pushpak was clear that he wanted a silhouette that looks like a quintessential Bangali panjabi, in jama style, with tie-ups on the side. I suggested we do a full scene, top to bottom, of a hunting sequence,” said Agnik.
He called it the “Mrigaya Kurta” and fused miniature painting and Bangla pat elements. “If you see the kurta, there is a mountain at first and then the forest, which gets dense as we progress. I saw a lot of Persian and Rajasthani miniature paintings, war sequences in the terracotta temples of Bishnupur and Kalna. Gourabda suggested we do the important characters, women (inspired by Kate and Anthony’s exchange on women and hunting from Bridgerton’s season 2). He wanted her on a horse, with a crown and her hair flying,” explained Agnik. A history buff, Agnik conceptualised the women on ‘Rajendra-nandini’ Chitrangada going on a hunt and one Queen Bhava Sundari Devi.
The dhoti by Parama: Parama Ghosh and her design team were working on a “series of dhotis on textiles and motifs which are not from India” when Pushpak approached her for the assignment. And, this dhoti fit right in. “We have looked at Peru, Moroccan carpets and African motifs. We have interpreted them in Bengal’s Shantipuri. The motifs are global and the weave is from Bengal. So, it is a beautiful merge of cultures. We haven’t launched it yet. Agnik has done a brilliant job with the kurta. I wanted the dhoti to complement it,” she said.
Stylist speak: South Calcutta boy Pushpak Sen, famous as @thebongmunda on Instagram, who champions saris, was very sure that Gourab would be wearing a dhoti-panjabi for the red carpet. “This is my first official styling assignment. If you see my personal journey, I always stand for holding up Indian textiles and heritage in whichever part of the world I am in. The first brand that came to my mind was Paramadi’s. Then I got busy in my work. I work for a Hollywood agency in the field of celebrity styling PR and working from home doesn’t make it easy. The search for top wear started happening when we had three weeks left.
Gourabda wanted to go for white-on-white aesthetic and something vintage. A jamdani panjabi was our first choice, but we were short on time. Then Agnik came to my mind. He is phenomenal. We irritated the hell out of him!” laughed Pushpak.
He curated 10 other “coordinated sets with prints inspired by our Indian culture and heritage, like ikat, block prints, ajrakh and kalamkari”, which were stitched by a tailor in Pune.
The takeaways: Random strangers stopped Gourab to click his pictures. “That was the funniest part! The costume was unique for them. They took pictures and sent back home. They were curious. I explained what a dhoti was,” said Gourab. His first time in Cannes was made even more memorable by a ‘luck by chance’ moment which had Oscar winner Tilda Swinton and him watch the former’s Three Thousand Years Of Longing in the same theatre. Goosebumps. “Cannes is an experience. Tilda Swinton was 10metres away from me. It was a surreal moment...,” he smiled.
Bobo Calcutta X Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wore the art-inspired label spearheaded by the talented Ayushman Mitra for a press meet and then a dinner date. “Her team has been in touch with me for a while now, for various reasons… the looks did not work out (earlier). I got a call about a month-and-half back and this time around I was not letting go. I am one of those kids who knew what Cannes was because of her. Ash has been extremely kind towards my work and had always shown interest in making Cannes happen one day,” Ayushman told The Telegraph.
He gave her a “completely hand-embroidered blazer”. “She loves boxy blazers and having fun, and, of course all the colour and chaos that surrounds it. The blazer is so hyper, I can’t even explain. It is an amalgamation of memories, inspirations and of course a homage, to what she has been and is to millions across the globe. The bouquet of bloom (blazer) is not only a homage to her but every single artist who has inspired me, so I could get here,” said Ayushman.