Sun, 07 Jun, 2020

Exploring the journey from films to design studio

13th October 2019, 03:06 Hrs


Amidst the colourful arrangement of a wide range of Chanderis, Maheshwari, Banarasi, Paithani, Pochampalli, Ekatpuri, Bandhani and Dharwadi silk, raw silk, linen and cotton sarees, celebrity actor and designer Nivedita Saraf stands out distinctly with her neatly draped bottle green silk designer saree and a welcoming smile. Her down-to-earth nature allows even a stranger to start an instant conversation that has all the chances to develop into a good rapport.   

A busy actor who’s currently playing the lead role in Marathi serial Agabai Sasubai on Zee Marathi is in Goa with her exclusive exhibition of designer sarees, jewellery, dresses and sweets at Hotel Delmon. The exhibition displays Nivedita’s own designer brand of sarees ‘Hansagamini’, handcrafted jewellery from the Design Studio of artist Gunjan Cowlagi and healthy sweets with sugar and no preservatives from Suparna Shyam of Sattvik Foods. Suparna also has embroidered semi-stitched dress material in cotton and silk for sale.   

Asked how and when she turned a designer, Nivedita shares, “Personally, I love sarees and prefer wearing them, than any other attire and it was my dress sense and interest in dressing well myself that led to creating my own brand ‘Hansagamini’ some 15 years ago. The brand has grown over the years with constant support from clients all over India. And I love to visit Goa with my collection, as I meet very enthusiastic buyers here. At least once in a year, I make it a point to come to Goa with my collection of around 250 sarees of which at least 100 surely get sold. In Goa, I partner with Nutan Khawtey who has a wide friend circle and I don’t have to advertise as word of mouth publicity fetches visitors me more than.”   

Hansagamini collection comprises of cotton and silk sarees that have been designed and created by Nivedita herself. “I have a group of artists in Yeola who weave Paithani silk sarees of my choice. I provide them colour combinations and they create marvels out of the silk thread,” she discloses. And purchasing cotton material from Dharwad and stitching matching borders to it, she creates designer sarees that one can wear for parties or occasions. Nivedita has an eye for creativity and a sense of perfect combination which allows her to create beautiful designs.   

She recalls getting her sarees printed with her own designs from places like Vardha, Nagpur and Madhya Pradesh. Though her base is in Mumbai, the printing is not possible in this metro, she agrees, as the process requires a lot of water, which the city doesn’t have. This popular actress from Marathi and Hindi film industry of the late 1980s and early 1990s travels extensively to different parts of India to select the material herself, and then creates motifs and designs on it to make it extraordinary. “I enjoy my creations,” she claims as she takes her exhibitions across different states in India where people appreciate her work. “I accept orders, but not for a single piece but in bulk. I have a regular customer base in Goa and Mumbai and as most of the times, we hold our exhibitions jointly, Gunjan Gowlagi’s art jewellery goes well with my sarees and makes our customers happy,” she observes.  

An artist herself who paints and creates designs herself, Gunjan Cowlagi has been putting up jewellery shows for the past seven years. The pearls, crystal stones and meenakari all go hand in hand at Cowlagi’s Design Studio. The jewellery begins at Rs 1800 and can go up to Rs 15,000 for a single piece of necklace with a pair of earing. Having a set of in-house artisans in Mumbai, Gunjan gets the pieces done in her supervision. “The artists are all well-versed with the art and leave no scope for complain,” quips Gunjan who imports some of her raw material like crystal stones or pearls. Gunjan has her exhibits in Goa for the second time and expresses happiness with the response from the locals.  

Suparna who is participating in the exhibition for the first time with her Sattvik Foods, has three types of laddoos of khajoor, almonds and dry fruits. She also has semi-stitched embroidered dress materials in cotton and silk which are designed by her and created by a group of artisans. The three-day exhibition in the heart of the capital city is expected to attract footfalls on weekend.  

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