Category Archives: Talent Speak

Women’s Day Special: In conversation with Ekta Bhattacharjee

She is only 24 and at this age she has received it all that any youngster would dream about. Be it success, fame, love, appreciation: she has achieved all these. Thus, on this special occasion of International Women’s Day, we celebrate the inspiring journey of Ekta Bhattacharjee, a professional designer who has given a new dimension to artwork.

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Q1. You are an artist, designer, art director and now an entrepreneur. Please tell us about your journey.

Ekta: The journey has been an extremely beautiful one, with mostly ups and a very few downs. It has been a dream run for me… getting to work in almost 110-115 projects, with so many legendary artists from the country as well as abroad, that too within the age of 24 is obviously a matter of pride for me and more than that it gives me a sense of happiness and satisfaction. As an art director, I am assisting a lot of people, studying loads of books about this department. I guess I need to learn a lot more .

And as far as the entrepreneurship is concerned, I have just started. I have always wanted to have my own designing house, where I would get the opportunity to work with other talented designers from the city. I generally don’t work for free, so I try to make sure that people who are working for my agency get their respective remuneration/salary on time. Because ART IS NOT FOR FREE.

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Q2. You have designed a poster for “Kaalmrigaya” and “Phera” starring Soumitra Chattopadhyay. Share your experience with us.

Ekta: Oh yes, I got the opportunity to work with him in Kaalmrigaya and Phera. But that happened only because of his daughter Poulami Chattopadhyay (actor and director herself), who gave me the opportunity to work with him. It is absolutely an enriching experience to work with this legend. He is an institute himself, there is so much to learn from him everyday. He is the most energetic and enthusiastic person I have come across and beside that he is extremely kind and caring towards the people he is working with.

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Q3. Walk us through your recent artwork for a plays like “Abishkar” by Dulal Lahiri and “Ghasiram Kotwal” by Sujan Mukherjee.

Ekta: Working on these two big projects at the same time was very challenging for me. I was aware that both the projects would need a lot of commitment, time, energy and much more and I am pretty happy with the end results of both. People have appreciated both the art works and at the end of the day that’s what mostly matters to me. I feel extremely happy to have worked in plays like Ghasiram Kotwal and Abishkar

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Q4. How was your feeling working with Mr. Mahesh Bhatt for the Hindi play titled, Hamari Adhuri Kahani?

Ekta: Working in a Mahesh Bhatt project is definitely one of the highest points of my career. And he himself is a very generous man. He takes keen interest in all the department of his play and films. One of his team members noticed my “Felicity” poster and referred my name to him and I was on board the very next day. When the play was premiered in Kolkata, I was very emotional to see my art work placed all over the city.

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Q5. Tell us something about your other notable works.

Ekta: Well, there are many like:

  1. Attiyoshojon by Dolly Basu
  2. E- project by Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee
  3. Felicity by Tathagata Ghosh
  4. Ghasiram Kotwal by Sujan Mukherjee
  5. Book covers like Rahul er scrap book, Ramayanika, Shalo Songslesh for Saptarsh Prokashon
  1. Dont Send me to School by Humar Amed

 

Q6. Among all your works, which one is your favourite?

Ekta: Very very difficult to choose. All are extremely close to my heart. I had spent days and nights creating them. Each and every artwork is extremely special to me, so I can’t chose any particular from the lot.

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Q7. Nowadays Photoshop and other digital softwares/means are used for creating some great posters and logos, be it for a film, play, book or a company. What made you take up this art of hand-made posters?

Ekta: I was pretty much convinced with the fact that if I will revive this old  medium again. People will at least take a keen interest to look at it once, but the way people around me have accepted this medium all over again is just overwhelming. I don’t have anything against the digital medium. Rather I myself use the digital medium for the post processing purpose. And I always love Satyajit Ray’s artwork, which has been the biggest influence in my life.

Q8. What do you love most about your work?

Ekta: I love everything about my work, I mean the entire process and the reactions that follow. Script reading sessions, discussions, sleepless nights for executing the ideas, attending rehearsals, curtain calls, all the love, appreciations, criticisms. I enjoy each and everything thoroughly.

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Q9.   Are you comfortable being told what to design?

Ekta: I generally read the synopsis first and I am always keen to listen to the director’s or producer’s idea or what they are exactly looking for. I try to match that with my ideas and finally execute it. But I won’t deny the fact that I don’t like to be ordered thoroughly or just do what the director commands me. If the director is a designer or painter himself, then it’s fine but otherwise designers should be given full liberty to execute their thoughts. I believe in words like teamwork or discussions, rather than command or order.

Q10. Share a priceless moment in your life which is related to designing?

Ekta: Mr. Anupam Kher called me up to see all my art works and he was immensely happy after going through each and every work of mine. He praised a lot about me on Twitter and told that he would also love to work with me soon. That’s of course a priceless moment for me.

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Q11. Moving on to your personal life, in this age of crumbling relationships, how do you people manage to held on to each other or stay strong since last 8 years and maintain a balance between both your personal and professional life?

Ekta: Patience, perseverance, forgiveness, dependency are few things which made this relationship so strong. Even we have our share of indifferences and I believe no true relationships are perfectly crafted. I know Arnesh since class I and we started dating since class XI. I think what works mostly for our relationship is that we are more like best friends than lovebirds. He was the one who motivated me to follow my dreams. I consider him to be my biggest support and critic, of course.

Q12. Tell us about your future plans and your upcoming artworks or projects.

Ekta: Expanding my designing house is surely on the priority list. And currently I am working for 3 upcoming plays, 3 short films and in the pipeline there are 4 bengali feature films, 3 events, and designs for North American Bengali Conference.

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Q13. Considering the struggles artists face nowadays, what suggestions/ideas/experiences would you like to share with others?

Ekta: The demand of Graphic designing is increasing everyday. It’s a known fact that advertising agencies in Kolkata do not pay you much but it’s okay, one has to struggle to exist with his/her passion. See, young guns have to believe in themselves and take the final call .Freelancing is obviously a good option to earn your bread and butter, but at the end of the day quality, creativity, uniqueness matters. If you have these qualities you are bound to do well in life. Graphic designing is such an innovative field, you just need to have a rock solid guts to turn your passion into profession.

Q14. Any advice you would like to give to the young artists who aim to take up designing professionally?  

Ekta: I always believe there is no substitute for hardwork. So, you just need to Believe in yourself and start experimenting. Keep your designs simple and unique. Patience and innovation are two most important factors one has to keep in mind if you are in this profession. 🙂
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Exploring the world of Design and Fashion with Shilpis – Fashion Boutique

” I always wanted to start my own Boutique” said Mala Bhattacharjya, the owner of Shilpis – Fashion Boutique. But she didn’t know how to make her dream come true. She waited for a long time to fulfil this wish. And finally one day, she succeeded in establishing her “own Boutique”. It is said that if you want something from your heart, then that thing is bound to happen. Let’s hear the success story from the owner herself.

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1. When and how did you start this Boutique?

Answer: I always wanted to start my own Boutique and make my own collection. But, this dream got fulfilled in the year 2013 when I finally decided to start designing and preparing sarees. My husband and my daughter also supported me a lot and that became my motivation to do it in a bigger scale. And slowly people started liking my collection and they asked for new collection and that is how Shilpis Fashion Boutique was created.

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2. Have you done any designing course?

Answer: No, I have not done any course in designing. I love to draw and design since childhood. But, I have not been into any drawing school for that.

3. Can you tell us something about your collection?

Answer: Sure, why not. See I have a wide variety of sarees, dress materials and tops. In sarees, I have a huge collection of Kantha Stitch, Reverse Kantha, Nakshi Kantha, Kashmiri Stitch, Gujrati Stitch, Madhubani Designs, Gichcha sarees, Matka (both hand print and block print), Katan Silk, Bangalore Silk, Handloom Saress, Chiffon, Georgette, Kalamkari Silk as well as Cotton, Tissue Material, Khesh Sarees and many more. I have also designed Party wear Fancy Sarees with new styles. Other than sarees, I also have dress materials in Cotton, South Cotton, Tissue, Chiffon,  Bangalore Silk and Butter Silk. Coming to the collection of Tops, I have designed these tops in an unique way. You won’t see those designs in any other Boutique.

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4. Have you designed something special for this year’s Durga Puja collection?

Answer: Yes, I have designed a whole new collection for the upcoming Durga Puja and I think people would surely love my collection. But apart from the Pujas, I have also designed for this year’s Diwali.

5. What is the price range of your collection?

Answer: The price depends on different products and their designs. But my collection range starts from Rs. 500 upto Rs. 10,000. On special occasions, we provide special gifts to our customers.

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6. Have you faced any difficulty while setting up your own Boutique?

Answer: My husband and my daughter are very supportive and almost everything is taken care of by them. I won’t say that I have faced any difficulty but yes getting a proper outlet has been very difficult for me. And the search is still on. At present I am working from my home only.

7. There are so many boutiques in Kolkata. What makes your Boutique stand out from the rest of them?

Answer: I agree, that there are many boutiques in Kolkata. But I don’t think that you would get to see these designs anywhere else because my collection of Kantha Stitch and Nakshi Kantha is really rare to find. I myself have designed these and that makes my Boutique different from the others.

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8. Do you participate in different exhibitions and events?

Answer: Yes, I do. I have participated in many exhibitions and the response was really overwhelming. I have another upcoming exhibition in September, 2015. That will be in Ice Skating Rink, Kolkata from 5th September to 7th September.

9. What is your future plan?

Answer: I want to increase my collection and reach out to a wider scale of  people who would appreciate my designs and collection.

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10. Any message for our readers?

Answer: I would request all of you to come and visit my upcoming exhibition. I am sure you guys would love it. I would love to get your valuable feedback and add on to my collection. 🙂

You can get in touch with Shilpi’s Fashion Boutique through their Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/shilpisfashionboutique  and order from there. You can also contact them through their website.

Nimbu Mirchi and More…

Aishani is a fun-loving teen with something much more interesting than skeletons in her cupboard, hand-made funky accessories for you and your room! If quirky is your style, then Nimbu Mirchi is what you need.  Like she likes to put it as an idea that changed her life. In conversation with Aishani Hazare, she tells us how she got around to doing it and how making dream catchers turned out to be her dream.

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1) How did Nimbu Mirch happen?

It’s quite an interesting story, in my fifth semester of my course (BMM) we had a subject called direct marketing. We got a project to make indigenous articles and set up a stall in college and market it in a way that resulted in maximum sales. I had recently made a dream-catcher for my room, so I pitched in the idea with my group. One thing lead to the other we started up a stall and introduced earrings too. And that’s how it all began!

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2) Why the name Nimbu Mirchi?

It doesn’t have any symbolism as such, we were just brain storming for a name as quirky as our products. Nimbu mirchi captures the zest and vibrancy that we were meaning to portray. Also, back then we were only selling dream-catchers which puts away negativity and so does nimbu mirch!

3) So what does your range include? How to buy it?

Well, it’s still in a very nascent stage, so for now we have earrings, tealights, dreamcatchers, scarves, tealights, wall-frames, chandelier and some neck-pieces. I’m still looking for a small place to open in Andheri or Bandra, until then it’s online. (For Mumbai customers only).

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4) What are you future ventures?

Apart from a small store, I’m looking into making belts, fancy diaries, bookmarks, bracelets and last but not the least homemade lip balm.

5) Is all this still going to be a one woman show?

Ha-ha, no not really. I have a few friends helping me with design and the handicrafts. Once we have the store up and running I might look in for employees as such.

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6) You were given a stall at the Kala Ghoda Art festival, Mumbai, how did that go?

That was an amazing experience with people around the world and Mumbai flocking to my stall and appreciating my work. It was after that I realised that I should pursue my creativity and take this venture forward. The feedback was very motivating and well the money too!

7) Your advice for all the young and talented entrepreneurs?

I’m still in no position to advice those of my age, below and above. But I would like to say that it’s never too late to follow your dream. Always do what makes you happy and strive for excellence.

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You can follow her on Facebook and make sure you check out her Facebook page Nimbu Mirchi . And till then well, carpe Diem! Seize the Day! 🙂

An Interview with Silvia Vona, an Odissi Dancer

Classical Dance has always been the best form of art in Indian culture. Be it Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Manipuri, or Odissi all these dance forms have their own language of devotion and love. But it is amazing to know how Silvia, a resident of Rome, Italy has fallen in love with our culture and trained herself to be an Odissi Dancer.

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1. How long have you been dancing?

Silvia: I have been learning dance and been involved with performing arts since my childhood. I decided to learn dance when I saw my two cousins dancing at the “Scuola di danza Filomarino” programme in Rome. From that time I felt that I must dance.

2. What got you into classical dancing?

Silvia: The reason why I approached the Indian classical dance was the curiosity and the desire to discover a dance from another culture. In the 2007 while I was studying contemporary dance, collaborating with the company “Teatro Instabile di Aosta” experimenting theatre, contemporary dance and gestural theatre I enrolled at “La Sapienza” University of Rome in the Department of Oriental Languages and Cultures (specialization in Indian culture, history and languages) and also I started to study a little bit of Bharatnatyam and Dasi Attam with the scholar Tiziana Leucci. I wanted to do something completely different from what I had done before in order to discover new paths for both artistic and personal growth. The Indian classical dance was a real revelation: the rhythm, the use of the eyes, the use of the hand gesture, the emotional involvement thanks to the awesome repertoire’s pieces, but also from a totally different technique, so connected with the nature, history, sculpture, society.  In 2008 I won a scholarship with “La Sapienza” University of Rome for studying six months in Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

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3. How did you get started?

Silvia: After I got the scholarship I began my quest to find an Odissi Guru. Thanks to the scholar Tiziana Leucci who suggested me to start learning Odissi. This time I was not only looking for a dance to practise and a personal enrichment, but mostly I was looking for a teacher (a Guru). I wanted to experience the relation between Guru and shishya, that does not only consist of “dance classes” but in a life condition linked to all its various aspects like eat and sleep together, discuss, etc. Since December 2008 till now I’m under  the guidance of Smt. Rina Jana, one of the senior disciplines of Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra. Finally for the academic year 2014/2015 I have been awarded the prestigious ICCR scholarship for studying under her.

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When I started to learn Odissi, it was because I wanted to learn movements, a new way to express and understand myself, the others and involve it in my contemporary dance and theatre work. I did not know India would become my second home. Nevertheless, since the beginning I have fully entrusted my guru with dedication, discipline and humility, growing together like in a relation between a mother and her daughter.

4. Which classical dancer(s) inspire you?

Silvia: So many Indian classical dancers inspire me from the field of Odissi and as well as from the other Indian classical fields. For Odissi Guru Kelucharan, Mahapatra, Sanjukta Panigrahi, Kumkum Mohanti, Minati Misra, Sharon Lowen, Devi Basu. And of course my Guru. Other Dancers who inspires me are Birju Maharaj, Raja and Radha Reddy, Sitara Devi, Vyjayanthi Kashi, Shantala Shivalingappa, Alarmel Valli, Leela Samson and so on. 🙂

5. What do you like about classical dance specially Odissi?

Silvia: I just fell in love with Odissi. As I have said before, for me the Indian classical dance specially Odissi was a real revelation. The use of eyes, body movements, hand gesture for narrating a story, describing a God or a mythological event, a sentiment in such an accurate and refine way, the relation between the music and dance that is so important.  The link to the rhythm, allow me to be more focused, conscious and to shape and direct my perception and also the audience one. This is a complete art form where history, art, music, theatre, dance, sculpture, philosophy, literature are united together. I like to study and perform above all the Abhinayas because in this moment I can deeply feel and interiorise the different aspects of different feelings.

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6. How is Odissi different from other classical dance forms and why did you choose Odissi?

Silvia: One interesting thing about this art form is the uses of the feet as a percussion emphasizing the rhythm and music, while the upper part of the body moves on a circular plan with fluid movements of the arms, head , neck and eyes, which is also in close relation with the music. For me Odissi is a wonderful gift.

7. How does dancing inspire you?

Silvia: I practise every day, so dance is like breathing to me. Dance is my life. As the daily life and nature inspires me, dance also inspires me. It’s my medium of expression, the interpretation of life, pathos. Dancing is life, and life is a dance.

8. What is most challenging about what you do?

Silvia: Every day and everything is a challenge for me. From the very  beginning Odissi dance was a challenge for me: a different use of the body, an accurate technique, the interiorization of rhythm and music, the understanding of Indian daily life, society, food habit, Indian mythology and philosophy  because Odissi is deeply rooted and connected with the Oriya and Indian culture.

9. What is most rewarding to you?

Silvia: For me one of the most rewarding things is to study this art form in-depth. When I perform I am able to convey my emotions and feelings to the audience which is the best thing that can happen.

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10. Any special moment or memorable experience in your dancing career till date that you would like to share with us?

Silvia: I would like to share two memorable incidents. The first one is of course my first solo performance. My Guru dressed me up because I didn’t know how to do it. I felt so much weight all over the body in full dress, it was a strange sensation but also very gratifying. It was a powerful and unforgettable experience.  Another special moment was in Mahagami Festival when a girl after my performance came to me and said: “I really appreciate your dance, your abhinaya. On the stage in full dress and make up you look like an Indian except for your skin colour”. I always remember where I came from, my tradition, my mother land but I’m also happy that I could pick up this art form, because dance is without borders and limitations. In Mahagami festival I had a wonderful experience in all the aspects.

11. Do you learn any other styles of classical dance or not? If not, would you like to try any other style?

Silvia: For now I’m only practising Odissi and sometimes I also practise contemporary dance. I’m not practising other indian classical dance form but in another life maybe I would like to study Kuchipudi and Sattriya. I love these two styles 🙂

12. What are your goals or dreams for the future?

Silvia: My dream is to continue the study of Odissi dance, to dance and research about dance. I would like to try to spread Odissi dance especially in Italy, where it is not so well-known. I would like also to organise events, workshops, festivals on Indian classical dance, especially on Odissi with my Guru Rina Jana and other eminent dancers. In my dream, there is also a contemporary dance production about Indian and Greek mythology with live music.

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13. What advice would you offer someone considering this career i.e. classical dance?

Silvia: Be open-minded, curious as a child and greedy for knowledge. Be humble and honest to yourself and others. Listen, follow and trust the Guru. Work hard every day and when you become a skilled and professional dancer try to search for good programme with the right remuneration. But most important, love what you do.

14. Anything that you want to share or tell our readers?

Silvia: I wish the readers to have the opportunity to witness the magic of this art form through classes, workshops or a tour in Orissa. Try to get involved with its rhythm and statuesque movements, philosophy and devotion.

In conversation with the Humsufi Boys

Dressed in Sufi style, the six member Humsufi team of Krsna Dwaipayan Mukherjee, Sagar Paul, Dev, Victor Mitra, Pinaki Ranjan Dawn and Sayantan Dutta started off with their dream venture of Music with a new thought. Music have different genres but fusing classical with western was something interesting which has opened a new path for these boys. Here we have the Humsufi band with us, sharing their story of success with our readers.

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1. When and how did you guys start this band?

Humsufi: We started off in January 2012, just as a fusion band. Actually, we all met at a college fest and pretty much connected with each other from then only.

2. Do you guys create your own song?

Humsufi: Yes, we do. Although that thought came after some time, when we started to find our originality as we experimented with the cover songs that we use to do. Our percussionist, Pinaki is our lyricist. He is a brilliant writer. All the songs in our album are written by him which are coming out soon.

3. Which genre do you perform?

Humsufi: We would like to call it Sufusion. It’s a culmination of many genres with sufi which gives it a flavour of world music.

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4. Which was the first song you made and performed?

Humsufi: Out of our originals, that would be “Rona Chhorde”.

5. Any particular band or group whom you admire and why?

Humsufi: We are inspired by many musicians as each of us have different musical influences, but in India all of us are inspired by Indian Ocean and Raghu Dixit a lot. I won’t say that we are musically influenced but their simple yet energetic songs always attracted us.

6. How often and for how long do you practice?

Humsufi: There is no fixed timing. We have practiced everyday for months and we have not done it for months also. It totally depends on many things or what kind of targets are we facing.

7. What image do you think your music conveys?

Humsufi: I think simplicity in language with a lot of ornamentation in music and richness in compositions, so it’s a pretty interesting image and thought provoking, each individual have their own images drawn in their minds when they listen to our music.

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8. Do you perform in public? Would you like to share the experience of your first stage show (as a group)?

Humsufi: Yes we have performed in over 265 gigs. One of the notable ones would be at Murshidabad with 30,000 people. The first experience was awesome because it was like opening a surprise gift for us. Everything was fresh and new but we still feel the same about all the gigs because we are always improvising on stage.

9. Have you made any mistake during any of your performances? How do you handle it?

Humsufi: We are always making mistakes. But they are so minute that we really don’t need to handle it. It just goes by. Sometimes mistakes have led to new parts in our songs. 🙂

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10. What are your long-term goals?

Humsufi: Just keep on doing music, together.

11. How do you all balance your music and other obligations like job and personal life?

Humsufi: We are not working or doing anything else than music. This is our job and we are very serious about it. Sometimes our personal lives take a hit due to this because it’s hard to give time to your family if you have a show on special occasions. But when people wait for us to perform and wants a show, everything else becomes less important to that feeling.

12. Do you want to say anything to our readers?

Humsufi: I would say that follow your dreams and have a strong urge to make them true. Keep life exciting. And yes, like our Facebook page. 🙂

You guys can keep in touch with Humsufi boys through their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/humsufi.

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Some creative chit-chat with Abheri Sen, the creator of MYRA

If you have the passion to do something, then you need not have a professional training in order to that. Yes, of course all these trainings are an added advantage but if you don’t have that, don’t be upset; just follow your heart. And that’s what Abheri Sen, a young and enthusiastic jewellery designer has done. She has created her own identity, Myra.

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1. When and how did you start designing jewellery?
Abheri: Making little accessories like wristlets and anklets made me happy since my schooldays. I made them for my friends and I loved wearing them myself as well. MYRA was born after a long series of thoughts, yet pretty quickly, towards the end of 2014.

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2. Did you take any training or did any professional course for this?
Abheri: No, not yet.

3. Are your designs inspired by something or someone?
Abheri: Nothing specific.

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4. Do you follow the recent trends or do you make your own?
Abheri: I am pretty old school when it comes to fashion, usually not knowing what is trending or what is ‘in.’ You will not find the very conventional jewellery pieces in MYRA. And if they are conventional, I make sure I add a twist to make it different from the rest!

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5. What drives you the most?
Abheri: When I see people wearing jewellery from MYRA and that making them stand out in a crowd.

6. Among your designs, is there any particular design that is very special to you? If yes, then why?
Abheri: It may sound very clichéd, but every MYRA creation is very special to me. Each and every handmade piece is crafted with utmost care. Every ceramic and metallic piece is carefully created by trained artisans.

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7. How do you balance time with your academics?

Abheri: Extensive time management.

8. What is your greatest fear about this work?
Abheri: My greatest fear is my personal limitations.

9. Which person do you consider your idol and inspiration?

Abheri: My parents. They are the major source of inspiration in different ways.

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10. What are your future plans?

Abheri: I want to make MYRA an inseparable part of people’s lives.

11. Any advice you would like to give to our readers?

Abheri: Think BIG! 🙂

If you wish to check out the collection at MYRA, you can visit the official Facebook Page, “MYRA”.

In conversation with Ritobrato Kundu, the photographer

Photography is the new trend of the young generation, but it needs passion to become a successful photographer. Very few people have the courage to follow their passion. Ritobrato Kundu is one of the extremely talented photographers who creates magic with his talent and creativity. So, here is what he tells us about his photography.

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1. What does photography mean to you?

Ritobrato: Standing at this juncture and having clicked over thousands of photographs, I can solemnly proclaim that photography to me is equivalent to what breathing is (I still require oxygen though). It’s probably what keeps me going on every single day, be it after a long day at the office or to kick-start a real long afternoon. To me, it is the last thing that I have in my mind at night and the first thing which pops up in the morning as well, (I dream about women, money and cars as well but that’s a different story altogether). Photography is that whip of air after a tiring monotonous and exhausting day. Photography to me is like water to the thirsty traveller on a long scorching desert. The list of comparison never ends and this pace is not enough to describe what it means to me. It is that attribute or USP that defines me and makes me the person I am today and I clearly state that it shall continue to do so always.

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2. When did you start clicking photographs and when did you decide to start it in a bigger scale/professionally?

Ritobrato: I cannot remember the exact day when I started clicking keeping photography in mind, but in every trip or get together, it was me who always took up the camera and started clicking scenery, moments and people (mind you this happened when the concept of digital cameras became pocket friendly and my dad decided to invest in one). But then if actual photography is taken into consideration, then the 1st of January, 2013 was when my father took ear to me pleads and handed me a DSLR, a canon 1000D. My joy knew no bounds as I pressed shutter to whatever that appealed me, and as an early amateur, went out to every place that the city had to offer. I never intended to take it to a bigger scale, as I thought that I did not have the material and lacked belief and faith on myself to make the cut to the bigger stage. Learning the various aspects and mixing it with my own ideas, confidence started to grow in. I particularly owe credit to a few friends and seniors who stood by me and instilled the much-needed courage and encouragement. I stepped up my gears, and that is when my photographs started to plead my eyes a little, and I decided to take the plunge, 2014 was a nice year for me and the plunge did not let me down till date as I have been treated well.

3. What kind of pictures do you click?

Ritobrato: As a photographer, I believe that one should not limit one’s eyes to a particular genre and should click whatever that pleases the eye. But then again, you have specialists who have excelled and gained success on a particular line of thought and action. Same goes for me as well, I take out my camera and point it on anything that fascinates my eyes, but in the last few months or so, I have concentrated myself to a definite line. I like to associate myself to clicking people, notably portraits in their best of attires, bringing out the emotions within them on a few favourite hand-picked locations. A few people name it as fashion photography, but then to associate myself with a huge, tried and tested genre as fashion photography is quite challenging and I believe I don’t have the qualifications or experience to tag myself to it. On a shorter note, I click people, I click them in their best with an attempt to make them even better, I click their emotions, what they express out whenever they see a camera towards them along with a touch of my own signatures.

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4. Which one was your first picture?

Ritobrato: The first photograph happened in a rather weird way. I came back home real late after buying my new camera and was totally irritated seeing that there was a power cut all around our neighborhood. Even our inverter had given in and there was complete darkness with a lone candle shining on the table and my mother clapping around randomly attempting to kill a mosquito. I missed capturing the priceless emotions of my family immediately as they would have upon seeing the new camera but I noticed there were guests at our place, and they had just left because their tea cups were still in the table. The candle produced a certain unnatural aura and shape of light and in a flash, a certain pattern grabbed my attention, like a man possessed my hand, ripped open the packing of the camera box, took it out and clipped the shutter button crazily. And till date, I have never reproduced a shot which can pass over this first shot of mine.

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5. Whose work has influenced you most?

Ritobrato: My father once told me, that there are no definite sources for knowledge. It can emanate even from the smallest of origins, and sometimes the average piece of junk can turn out to be the most extraordinary. We all at some point of time copied one photographer or the other and there are certain people who kind of fascinate us. I have had my share of influences over the couple of years as well since I have donned the camera. My list of influences ranges from the senior who showed me how to hold a camera for the first time to the fellow photographers I have worked with. All of them gave me something to learn and I tried to gain from whatever they posted or showed me.With the advent of Facebook and a few other social media, it is not tough to see a lot of photos. I won’t name a few fancy names via google, as I don’t look underneath for the names as I go through photographs, because that would in a way make me partial to that person and limit myself. I believe in sharing knowledge through any medium with any person available out there, because at the end of the day, the unique creativity of every person is what I aim to catch for.For me influence should never have a name, certainly in this field,for you never know what might please your eye out of nowhere.

6. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

Ritobrato: Nothing precisely, I would say because if I had known that one thing, it would not have given me the urge or zeal to know it again from scratch and work on it. Complacency is one negative aspect which I try to fight always. At times not having knowledge over anything helps, because then you learn it from the basics and learn it in context, get instant practical access, and also modify it for your own creativity. But deep inside, before I started to take photographs, I wish I in some way or the other knew that it would shape up this big and would be such an integral part of my life. Then in that case I would have pursued myself into this field, taken proper courses and education, and pursued as a career and living unlike now as it prospers as hobby and freelancing.

7. Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?

Ritobrato: Light a candle and then tell me which side of the candle glows the most. And then only I would tell you what my favorite works are. (Laughs)

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Well, a few of my shoots turned out pretty well because of the things being in my favor, from nature to the people to the location to weather and the entire crew. A particular studio work and two or three outdoor works remain close to me, because they pushed me to the limit of creativity and improvisations and at the same time, the entire crew tried to overdo each one of us for bringing out the best. The entire crew sat in a mini competition as who would perform the best and on such conditions the outcome is definitely the best. I have a particular favorite though, but it’s completely different from the genre I work in these days. and that is the photo which bagged me a certificate from Times Photo Journal, and so it continues to have a special mention and special name all around.

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8. How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

Ritobrato: I follow a certain motive which goes as, “Take a photograph in such a way, thinking that it to be your last”. In this way, I strive myself to make sure every photograph turns out to be what I am aiming for, and I keep on repeating it unless the photo matches what I had visualized. Simultaneously, I try to keep myself updated with the latest works and trends all around the globe. Looking at hundreds of photographs in my specific line of thought has become a part of my daily activity. As long as google and YouTube are under net neutrality, the thirst for knowledge can never be quenched.So with these two around, my mantra of education stands in three points. Firstly, I try to learn any new technique and process to steadily improve my skills and creativity. Secondly look at photographs of what people click and try to relate them. And finally, incorporate your photographs and old techniques with the new ones to create something personal and unique.

9. How important is it for a photographer to “connect” with his subjects to bring out their true self?

Ritobrato: How would a food taste, just boiled or baked, without any spices or salt and sugar? Tasteless right? The same applies to the concept of connecting with your subjects. The connection brings life to the photographs, especially in case of portraits.If you are not aware of what the other person thinks of you and if you cannot express your desires and requirements and your outcome from that person, the resulting photograph would be equal to clicking something lifeless. With every photograph one should aim to attach a part of oneself into it, latch onto it and then only it would be worthy enough to be called a photograph.

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10. Locations and weather conditions seem to be a crucial aspect to a successful picture. How do you handle these unpredictable factors?

Ritobrato: Improvisation is the word always and if it clubs with another word called backup, then 90 percent of the unpredictable aspects can be avoided. Generally I love playing with light and shades and that to the natural way, so my locations and weather conditions are ideally the afternoon sun and in a place where there is enough light and shade all around. Old parks, cemetery, old buildings make it up primarily, and the sun after 2 pm produces brilliant color hue and effect for my mood and photographic ideas (The early morning sun is beautiful as well, but my mornings generally start from post 9pm).

Now if natural calamities of weather or man-made ones (read political) come in my way, I keep an indoor space available, be it a studio or an empty place of ours for shooting peacefully so that it doesn’t alter or hamper the schedule. I am such a person that I commit myself totally to a shoot on that particular day and it irks me to the core if I don’t get it done on that day itself. It becomes an obsession to finish it off that day itself. Other unpredictable issues range from a sudden emergency work or health issues or weird people barging in during the shoot. It is then, when I look at the calendar for alternative options. And for people issues, I always ask 2 to 3 persons simultaneously, and keep a few as backup, so that if one cancels suddenly, I would have someone else to click as well.

11. What makes a good picture stand out from the average?

Ritobrato: Like my father said, sometimes the average piece of junk can be as meaningful. There are no standout photographs, because I believe people put in their soul while clicking them and you cannot exactly differentiate a certain thought to be average or good. But since all my answers are becoming diplomatic, I would say it takes little things to make a photograph stand out from the rest. A certain geometric pattern needs to be followed, with uniform or calculated spacing. The horizon line should be perfectly straight. The composition should be kept in mind, and placing the thing exactly where it should be and not tampering it. And finally the most important part, the post processing must never be overdone, because the post processing is as equally important as clicking the photograph on the first place, but then again it unique to personal to one self as to which photograph falls under the good category and which does not.

12. How does black and white vs. colour play into your work?

Ritobrato: One of the frequent quotations you would see in many a people putting underneath their Facebook profile pictures in black and white, “When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!” I slightly differ from this phrase. Yes, without any doubt black and white adds that charm and an extra classy look to a photograph that colors can never reproduce and the earliest and the greatest of photographs still exist in monochrome colors. I happen to have a colorful approach to my dreams. I believe in putting on colors to the dreams people see through me, so in my work colors play a much more predominant part. Of my photographs and putting it out on percentage more than 80% of the photographs are vividly colorful, and well if u have amazing resolutions in phone and monitors, you just cannot resist playing with them in high-definition.

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13. What are your future plans?

Ritobrato: Very quickly I realized that photography is an expensive dream and hobby to pursue. Yes, great people would say that gears don’t matter, the person behind it does, but then again, one who has got valid and vivid experience and with technology so rapidly advancing, and competition getting fierce all around, the need for upgrading yourself is very necessary, and the up-gradation comes quite hefty. Right now, post engineering I have landed myself a job and happen to work there, and a major part of the savings goes to a piggy bank called photography. It’s like a business, once you have taken it up professionally, and without it I believe you won’t be able to prosper or advance. Money talks as always. Photography is such a field, where being second means you are first in the long list of losers. You always have to be the best and keep on doing that if you want to move ahead. So my plans remain crystal clear. Earn money, save-up, click small assignments on weekends, save-up again, and invest efficiently and after a good few years with enough of experience, start off your own services along with the aim of imparting knowledge to others. The idea of self learnt sells good in autobiographies and interviews and not on real lives. One trusts the certificates, most of the times rather than the actual work.

14. What advice would you like to give to the future photographers?

Ritobrato: I have a fellow junior photographer working with me. I generally work alone, but I found this guy having the same passion and zeal as mine. I would like to pass on the message that make sure every photograph you click treat it as the last one you are clicking, and that would bring out that extra bit of zeal in you. The competition is very tough out there and talent is in abundance. Use the right resources at the right places and make efficient use of what you have in hand. I too am majorly a Facebook photographer with a few uploads here and there, but then make sure once you have reached your best, then only startup. Facebook at some point of time is a great market to advertise and nothing lives without marketing. Above all, be humble, learn and share, because only through sharing, you would gain much more when others would share back to you. Keep clicking ! 🙂

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You can check out his photographs on his Facebook Page, Rito-Graphy.