A red-gold rhythm

Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee's show Peeli Kothi shown at Delhi a few months back was one of the most definitive statements Indian fashion ever made.

Written by Nupur Chaudhuri | Published: February 10, 2012 1:06 am

The finale of Baajaa Gaajaa 2012 has an elaborate khadi and brocade set designed by Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s show Peeli Kothi shown at Delhi a few months back was one of the most definitive statements Indian fashion ever made. Not only because of the furious and fascinating assimiliation of textiles and crafts but also because this was the first time musician Shubha Mudgal had agreed to perform while the clothes walked the ramp. After that show,Mudgal had a conversation with Sabyasachi telling him that she’d like to explore their collaboration in different ways and asked if he would direct the look and sets of a music festival,preferably Baajaa Gaajaa 2012. Sabyasachi did happily agree to direct one aspect of the festival. As a result,Dhamaal,the finale of the festival that begins in the city today,curated by musician Aneesh Pradhan,has an elaborate set designed by Sabyasachi. “Shubha Mudgal provides the sound,while I provide the look and feel to bring into play the totality of different senses,” says Sabyasachi.

The designer has worked with a specific theme for stage design,keeping in mind the all-percussion event,the costumes of the musicians and the vibration of the beats. “The sound of the percussion is very medieval and primitive,almost sexually charged,that’s why I chose red khadi,” says the designer explaining that to him,the texture of red khadi with its handwoven coarseness too denotes a raw,primitive energy . “Offset by red gold Benarasi brocade with the set lit up by hundreds of diyas and the ambience of frankinscence to give it a spiritual energy is how I visualised the pairing with the percussion,” he adds. The set,says the designer,will also remind onlookers of Durga pujo in Kolkata.

This kind of creative confluence is a first for the music festival now in its fourth year. As the list of the performing artists has grown,so have its other features. The finale will have over 50 percussionists from India and abroad on one stage.

For the set,a production person from Sabyasachi’s office first visited the venue – Ishanya Mall – to understand the layout before the design was put on to paper. On Sunday,when the set will be erected,the designer will personally oversee the details. “Of course I am coming to Pune – to supervise the stage set-up and to watch the show,” he says. Pradhan and Mudgal hope to take this association to the next level. “We want to work with Sabyasachi again,if not necessarily for Baajaa Gaajaa then for other projects,” Pradhan says.

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