Asha Kamal Modi comes to Kolkata with a two-day pop-up of Art Karat's latest Mastani collection
Art Karat, one of the biggest fashion jewellery brands in India, recently organised a pop-up exhibition at the Oberoi Grand, Kolkata to showcase their latest Mastani collection. The exhibition was the last leg of a multi-city tour in India, which included cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad, with Asha Kamal Modi, the founder, and designer of the brand, in attendance.
“When I started out, people understood jewellery as something which is only made of gold and diamonds or precious stones. But I never thought that it will become such a big revolution and bring about a total change in the mindsets of women,” says Asha Kamal Modi, with a smile. “But this kind of jewellery is a substitute to gold not a replacement for it,” she clarifies.
“Mastani collection came up during the making of Bajirao Mastani. It was on my mind for a very long time, ever since I worked on Ram-Leela, Padmaavat and recently, after watching Deepika Padukone sport silver jewellery at her wedding, I was further motivated to extend the collection,” Asha Kamal Modi tells us.
“We have used silver, kundan, freshwater pearls, rubies, emeralds, and gold-plated silver jewellery to create a more wearable collection, with lighter pieces, at a reasonable price. But there are some big statement pieces too, for weddings and occasion wear,” she adds.
The two-day exhibition saw handmade neckpieces like Aadi from Rajasthan, with silver and 22-carat gold plating and meena work, along with sapphire and freshwater pearls, and a Hansuli with tourmaline beads on a gold-plated base. There was temple jewellery too, with Radha-Krishna motifs, elegant stone-studded brooches, Chandbaalis, jhumkis and heavy ornamental bangles in normal and antique gold plating.
There was a particularly eye-catching neckpiece, with silver and baroque pearls, on a silver base, with white gold plating, which stood out for its elegance. Long chunky pieces, with matching earrings in coral, Amethyst, and Jade and simple bracelets and earrings, studded with zircons were also part of the collection.
Small pieces like nose pins, naths, and kalgis with kundan or pearls were also there, as part of the wedding collection, along with a kundan necklace with sapphire chips and silver beads. One could find the use of plenty of semi-precious stones like lapiz lazuli, peridot, rose quartz which made for unconventional and colourful neckpieces, especially for those who do not like jewellery with silver or gold finish.
Most of the designs in Mastani collection are inspired by the jewellery worn by princesses of the Mughal era. “Our whole culture revolves around jewellery. We have jewellery for weddings, temples and almost everywhere and every piece of jewellery that a woman wears, signifies some part of the tradition. I don’t believe in leaving it behind but I certainly feel like modifying it to suit the present generation,” Modi tells us.
But how different is it, to design jewellery for a film, compared to commoners, we asked - “The jewellery for films are based on the theme, character, the situation, and the dress code. For a south Indian movie, with Chiranjeevi and Amitabh Bachchan, we created ornamental pieces bearing different patterns of a lion motif, something which goes with the royal setting of the plot. But people do come to us asking for the same kind of jewellery that they see on screen,” she says.
Her brand has entered the western market too and sells Indian jewellery in the US and Paris. Yet Asha Kamal Modi is not much of a big planner. She is happy doing what she does best- designing jewellery. “Each day is a new milestone for me. I feel really happy when a good jewellery piece comes out. I feel that I am quite lucky that almost all the actresses have worn my collections or pieces at some point,” she signs off.