Chances are you will laugh aloud innumerable times while in a conversation with Maheep Kapoor. The glamorous jewellery designer married to actor Sanjay Kapoor, was in town on Saturday for Art Meets Couture, presented by Styleograph and curated by Chikky Goenka, that showcased Shantnu & Nikhil, Tyaani by Karan Johar and Rimzim Dadu. Tyaani by Karan Johar brought their festive collection designed by Maheep Kapoor, called Inaayt. We caught up with the “traditionally classic” Maheep who loves rosogolla and mishti doi, at Kolkata Centre for Creativity, on her jewellery faves and The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, the Netflix show featuring her along with Seema Kiran Sajdeh, Neelam Kothari Soni and Bhavana Pandey, whose second season dropped on Friday.
Do you keep coming to Kolkata?
Yeah, I keep coming for the KKR matches... definitely before the pandemic. So, I love Kolkata. It’s a fab city, electric and I am glad that I am back again.
You are here with your collection for the first time though...
Yeah and let me tell you, the women know their jewellery in Kolkata. And, they seem to be quite fond of it also. So, I am very happy. (Laughs)
What do you think is the Kolkata taste?
I think all Indian women want to know the quality of the jewellery, the stones, the gold. They are very knowledgeable. I think the women in Kolkata seem to prefer the more traditional jewellery, which is what my forte is, have little twist... so, it’s been a great response.
You have come with Inaayt...
It’s a festive line, a bridal line. Now since the pandemic bogged us down, it’s a more elaborate (line) because I feel people want to get back out there, but keeping in mind the price points and that times have been tough and people need to save money. I am and I know how it feels, but they want to enjoy themselves. I am wearing earrings from my collection...
And, it’s so versatile...
Yeah, anything. I am wearing pants and a shirt and it’s looking so nice. You can go for dinner or parties and it’s good to go.
How has it been to collaborate with Tyaani?
Outstanding. I think I have been with them for 10 years and they have given me liberty to be creative and do what I want. I don’t take risks because I am conservative and my jewellery is traditional.
What is the creative high that you get?
When I am making jewellery? We love jewellery and then to have that hand of making your own jewellery, that’s another thing. The problem is when I am making it, I want to keep it and of course I have, but then my husband (actor Sanjay Kapoor) is only firing me, so I have controlled it.
What emotions do jewellery evoke in you?
I have always said it... in India, we have such a big history when it comes to jewellery, which probably no country has... the Mughals, the maharajas and maharanis. It’s ingrained in our culture, heritage and tradition. You will never see a woman in India walk around without a piece of jewellery. A baby comes and kadas are put on. Designing jewellery has been a passion of mine. I like designing jewellery that I like to wear. So, it’s fun explaining, drawing and then it comes out and it’s on the showcase... It’s another excitement altogether.
Every piece goes past me and we have a set of young designers also. We have also kept in mind changing times. In the past 10 years, it’s been a big change in the way women shop. Now online is massive. I never thought I’d be able to sell jewellery online because women like to touch, feel, wear it and look at it, but the culture has changed. They have gotten used to shopping online during the pandemic. We are also adapting to changes.
How has your designing process changed?
For me, it’s traditional jewellery because it’s timeless. I have worn my grandmother’s jewellery and have got pieces which cannot be made again because the workmanship doesn’t exist. There is a history behind it... my grandmother wore it, my mom wore and I am wearing it. Then there is an emotional attachment to things. More or less, since I had my daughter, there’s always a thought that she should wear it eventually. I think all women do that, na? They always buy a piece thinking about keeping something for her (daughter’s) marriage, the daughter-in-law... will they like this? Indian women are thinking of other people first....
Is your casket extensive?
Like you have your jeans, gowns and cocktail dresses, likewise, my jewellery is extensive. I have got very old pieces from my grandmother, wearable pieces that I can wear every day, those pieces that lie in the locker. I like to have a range. I love jewellery and wherever I go, I’ll find something. I have gone to Goa and picked up these lovely little fish earrings with shells. In India, people are creative and our karigars are creative and our workmanship is phenomenal. I feel, why limit yourself? I want it all.
What are your absolute treasures?
My maangtika. It’s huge. My grandmother wore it for her wedding, my mum wore it, and I wore it. So, that’s special. I am very possessive. I am always thinking that I should make it into a necklace, but then I am no, it has to stay that way and make sure my Shanaya (Kapoor, daughter) wears it. She has no choice.
Where have you seen the best jewellery?
The best jewellery is in India, baba! I don’t care what anyone says. We can carry off all the coloured stones. We are so much more flamboyant than our Western counterparts. I am biased.
Who are the jewels of your life?
My kids and my parents, my friends... I have my little circle and they are precious to me.
Is Karan Johar into jewellery?
He loves jewellery and has a fine eye. And, even Hiroo aunty... she loves jewellery and knows her pieces and is big on comfortable pieces. I think Karan has learnt a lot from Hiroo aunty also. And, that’s why he has come onboard with Tyaani and has had a big say on what kind of pieces are designed and he has used the jewellery in his movies. The last movie was Jugjugg Jeeyo. All the pieces, whether it was Neetu Singh or Kiara (Advani) for her shaadi, were all by us. That’s also exciting, making jewellery for films.
How is life?
Life is good. It is what you make of it. Good, bad, ugly, you have to see the glass as always full.
You have always been in the public eye, but putting your life on screen is a different ball game. Have you made peace with that?
There was really no choice. When we said yes to it, I had decided, at least, I am either going to be myself or I am not going to do it. Otherwise I am wasting time. I cannot be fake. So, even in Season 1, I decided I am taking the plunge. Fortunately, the show did well. In Season 2, we have upped our game and pushed the envelope... it’s more of our friendship, celebrating it that comes through.
So, live life king size?
Who doesn’t want everything in life, but in your mind, you should think king size. Live within your means also as my husband would tell me. All I can say is life is short, enjoy it. Don’t let things bog you down.
There was really no choice. When we said yes to it, I had decided, at least, I am either going to be myself or I am not going to do it. Otherwise I am wasting time. I cannot be fake. So, even in Season 1, I decided I am taking the plunge. Fortunately, the show did well. In Season 2, we have upped our game and pushed the envelope... it’s more of our friendship, celebrating it that comes through” — Maheep on being a part of The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives
Maheep’s tips to sport jewellery….
Experiment. Put it out there. Enjoy yourself. Don’t be apologetic about it and own it. The more confident you are, the more it shows.
Maheep’s fashion go-to….
My jeans. I try to put an edge to my fashion, but I am classic.