On a hurricane trip to Calcutta to showcase at Dapper, the menswear store at 10A&B Woodburn Park, Arjan Dugal was sport enough to style a special Durga Puja shoot for The Telegraph. Brothers Gaurav and Arjun Chakrabarty were our equally sporting ‘models’ for the day. On a rainy day, the brothers reached on time, despite Gaurav having a prior commitment, and happily got into the clothes Arjan had selected for them and even climbed up the bartop and posed smilingly. While Arjan connected with Arjun on Manchester United, he felt there was a “jhalak of mischief and fun in Gaurav”, a first one for Gaurav! “This is the first time someone has told me this because I am told I am this good boy!” he laughed out loud. Special mention for Shilpa Sethi, founder and curator, Dapper, for helping us put this together. Here’s an album from the photo shoot.
They have a lot in common, yet distinct personalities. Gaurav and Arjun Chakrabarty are always a delight to chat with. Excerpts...
How have the Pujas changed in the pandemic? What is the mood?
Arjun: It is definitely festive, but I have never been one to go pandal-hopping. I am lazy and don’t like crowds anyway and now more so. We (Gaurav and him) stay in the same residential complex and we attend that Puja every day. We take short drives. Roads at 2am have traffic like 7pm! Last year was scarier, but this year, with vaccinations, (things might be better).
Gaurav: Pujas haven’t changed much for me because I like spending it indoors with friends and family. I’ll do that this year as well. I have done my share of pandal-hopping when I was in school and college. That’s the one time you know that everyone is free and you can catch up.
What was the Golf Gardens childhood Puja like?
Gaurav: The whole neighbourhood used to come together and there used to be plays and performances...
Arjun: We were not active participants in organising the Puja...
Gaurav: I was quite active. I went to collect chanda and directed a play for our para puja too. All our friends have moved out of the para now.
What about Puja shopping?
Arjun: Mostly online.
Gaurav: Aami kori! (Laughs) I have already started Puja shopping. It’s just an excuse to buy more clothes. I am buying mostly blacks, greys and blues. Arjun: Definitely new kurtas and shirts. T-shirts would be my old self. I have come to love ethnicwear and find it most comfortable even more than jeans and tees.
A wash of freshness. That was the mood of this picture. While Gaurav (left) was in an all-white ensemble paired with a Bagh hand-embroidered Nehru jacket, Arjun was in an orchid achkan kurta.Picture: Rashbehari Das Hair & make-up: Bony Chakraborty; Location courtesy: The Salt House
And, what about eating?
Arjun: I am not strict anyway, but I Iet go during the four days, but I work out.
Gaurav: I have never had a hold on it, so I have always let go (laughs). I eat everything and I try to work out, but I am not as regular as him.
Arjun: We have small appetites. So even when we are indulging, it’s not like we’ll have two family-size pizzas and four brownies... not the Dwayne Johnson cheats meals.
Gaurav: Maybe we’ll buy those ice cream tubs and feast, but that’s about it.
Arjun: I love ice creams.
Any plans to go to the theatres?
Arjun: Definitely planning to watch both Golondaaj and Baazi. I watched Conjuring 3 and it’s totally safe. If restaurants and gyms can be safe, theatres can be too. Please carry your mask and sanitiser and support Bangla cinema and big screen in general because nothing can replace that.Gaurav: Cinema was made for the big screen and it has always been a community-viewing experience. When someone goes ceeti-taali at a Shah Rukh Khan or a Salman Khan film, that’s what completes the experience. I understand it is not a hundred per cent safe right now, but all kinds of measures are being taken. I have been going for a while now.
The lively prints lend a youthful look. “Clothing is an extension of your personality and someone who wants to express himself, should be able to do so in a comfortable and well-finished tailored way. I saw Arjun in the red Man U T-shirt and gave him the red and complemented it with Gaurav’s mustard,” said Arjan.Picture: Rashbehari Das Hair & make-up: Bony Chakraborty; Location courtesy: The Salt House
Talking of OTT, what did you watch last? And, do you binge watch?
Arjun: I don’t binge watch and I have never been addicted to any show. I watched The Kominsky Method last.
Gaurav: I watched Money Heist last. Ridhima (Ghosh; wife) is not much of a binge watcher. I can’t (stop) and it leads to huge fights. Now for some reason I am back to F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
This was the first time I met Gaurav and Arjun and it was an absolute pleasure interacting with them and the icebreaker was Manchester United! Their contrasting skintones and personalities despite being brothers was interesting because you get the best of both and you get to adapt colours to each one differently. For Gaurav, I feel a sharper colour would definitely come through, it would definitely lift the outfit and his complexion and complement his skintone. There is a jhalak of mischief and fun in Gaurav... it helps... you dress a personality. Arjun is the more astute and contained and that’s why the darker colours (for him). The way everything fit on him was super — Arjan Dugal
I loved the fact that it’s classic. I am that kind of a person and classic doesn’t change with the times. I also don’t wear whites often, because I am clumsy and drop food! This was a rare opportunity but I have started wearing prints now, thanks to Ridhima. The prints we wore were not what in Bengali you call chokra bokra (garish). The dark blue was most my kind (laughs). All the clothes were so comfortable that I could sleep in them — Gaurav
The clothes looked tailor-made for me. Dressing up for me is T-shirt and joggers or jeans. During Pujas, we only think of Bangali shaaj but we can always try Indo-westerns too. I don’t wear a lot of whites, so this was a welcome break. Prints are unlike both of us and yes we prefer darker colours — Arjun
Wardrobe staples navies and blacks had to make an appearance. “Black is very easy to put on anyone. The achkan we did for Arjun, the way it pointed down, the texture and the colour suited him... the hair, the fit... it suited him. For Gaurav we did the blue because we wanted to keep it a little bit more fun, with a short kurta and a Nehru jacket. Both were wearing simple pair of trousers in silk,” said Arjan. What do you think they are talking about? Tell firstname.lastname@example.org
The ever charming Arjan donned the twin caps of a designer and a ‘model’ at the t2 shoot. “Only t2... I go back and google my first article.... This is my fourth time and it gets better every time,” he smiled. Team t2 says thank you, Arjan!Picture: Rashbehari Das Hair & make-up: Bony Chakraborty; Location courtesy: The Salt House
Arjan’s top tips...
l Don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit. Get out there and see what you feel and try something that you haven’t tried before.
l You might find that something looks really good on you which you never thought would. Always take the lady’s opinion. That’s my footnote.
l For the festive season, don’t be afraid to go with prints and fun colours, but if the occasion demands a bit of seriousness always go for muted colours. You can go with a grey, blue or black... where you don’t have to stand out necessarily. Find something that is comfortable to you... something that you will wear again and again and makes you feel good.