Textures on the way and back. Leh.

This is my first blog post of 2017. I have been busy shifting to a new city and into a new job. I have shifted from Delhi to Bangalore. Settling into a new shell takes its time and attention. Hence the break in blogging. Well, I am getting used the much busier schedule that I have now and I am missing the freedom of being a freelancer and blogging for my love of sharing. However, I found some time to go through countless images and choose the best of the whole bunch.

The highlight of last year was my trip to Leh with my old time buddy and partner in crime Rigzin. You will spot him posing royally in one of the captures ahead. The trip will stay with me forever. It is a must do.

Driving all the way through those roads unexplored and sights unseen has been one of the surreal and real experiences I have ever had. The expanse of the landscape and the different textures of earth hold you mesmerised like a lost philosopher. Merging of one kind of terrain with another. The green patches turn red, baked and hard and with the moving sun, the nature does its dance of light and shadow. In this spactacle you are just a mere, minuscule part who is passing by like a grain of sand riding on the moving wind.

Experience it just to be. not to gain anything. Just go with an empty mind and nature will fill you with enough of what you have never seen before.

Hope you enjoy looking at these beautiful images. I did. For real.

Cheers!

 

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Photographed by me.

Sahdev Hooda

Etched in time.

These are some of my favourite shots from the whole trip to Leh. The trip happened so fast and it now feels like a flash but going through the endless library of photographs makes me stare at that one specific moment which is now etched in these images.

Hope you enjoy looking at them.

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Photographed by me.

Sahdev Hooda.

Colours of Ladakh

The trip to Leh is still on my mind and I had to share few more clicks from my journey. We got one day to roam around a little. If we had flown to Leh and back, we would have had a much longer span of time to cover the wedding as well as roam about the place and absorb all the beauty that the culture and nature has to offer in and around Leh. The buddhist prayer flags are are all around the whole mountain range. And it is a delight to see them.

Some of the clicks are random and some are taken inside the King’s palace in Leh. The royal family still stays there as you are told and also you notice a lot of doors which had messages prohibiting visitors. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the rooms which had some beautiful displays of the culture and heritage of the Ladakhi royalty. It was an amazing experience. Also, in the whole of North India, the higher you go up the mountains, the more untouched(non-western) the culture is. Specially the Ladakh royalty denied any help or barter with the British, keeping any influence from the outer world away. It is amazing to feel the purity of the culture and the air.

Hope the reader likes the photographs.

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And by the way, this idol is as tall as a three storey building and just the sight of it takes over your being. It is truly sublime.

Photographs by me.

Sahdev Hooda.

Shooting Midnight Delhi

Last two years have been the best 2 years of my life, if I have to account for the amount of learning that I gained. Even though I have a committed relationship with fashion, I had a great opportunity to work as an actor in an independent feature film named “Midnight Delhi”. I was cast for the role of a rural ‘jaat’ man and it was a 12 days shooting schedule in Delhi which worked fine as I had just decided to relocate back to Delhi and had time in hand to contribute to this amazing project.

The teaser has just been released and I had to talk about it.

Rakesh Rawat is the writer and director of the film and the complete project is his baby. Every character was cast for a certain peculiar quality they had in person which some how matched with their characters on text and also in the mind of the director. I was thrilled to just see how a film like this will be made. If you have seen the teaser already then you fairly know this is not the kind of film that relates to a happy bollywood feeling. The dark portrayal of the few clips that you see are not actually the give away. It is the story that one has to experience on the screen.

I was myself quite excited about the character. The language and the dialect of the character I played was close to home for me. He is a rural born and brought up young man, who has murdered before and if need be, he would do it again. The dialect the body language was very crucial to the character and Rakesh made sure I got the nuances right.

Catching the dialect and picking the body language was not tough for me. I have been often exposed to the rural, farming culture as those are my original roots. The trick was to try and understand the mind of a man who kills. I am a fairly peace loving person and to make my mind match the mind of a murderer, I created the story of the character which was not on text already.

I was put against people who were trained/experienced actors and pursued acting as a full time career. Because of that, I was slightly nervous in the start. Making the backstory to the character gave me a boost of confidence and a certain ease to approach my character. I only looked into what I had to do and didn’t get influenced by anything else in the environment. Infact, to some extent I felt responsible to make sure that the character came as close to real reference as possible.

The film was shot one year back and looking at the teaser just brought back memories of this very unique experience. Also, I realise that a film crew becomes a family for that short period of time that they work together. You start looking after each other and you become a pack, which needs each other to survive. This has happened to me in most of my jobs, when I am blessed with a great team to work with, we do land up becoming like a family. Sharing our food, catching movies after work, exchanging our favourite books, being there for each other even in personal matters.  However, on a film set people open up about themselves much faster and you organically become close to each other as you work and also stay together through out.

This experience was something I will always cherish and I only hope to see the feature film myself. With such real references and characters, I do want this film to find a larger audience. Not just because I have acted in it. I clearly don’t have the dreams of being a full time working actor. I want it to be seen because this is purely original work. Rakesh took 6 years to completely weave the story into a finished form. I have seen him give his soul to this project and the passion with which he approached and executed this film is inspiring. I am confident that it will be a film that people will talk about and remember. For it has all the right ingredients to be an impressionable work of art.

Wait for it.

 

 

Painterly Indulgence

I do love to paint once in a while. In fact, fashion came to me through illustrations. Before I even knew that I would take up a creative field as a career choice, I used to sketch women on small pieces of paper in my school time, pretending I am making notes. Hardly interested in academics that time, language, basketball and sketching were the only three things that occupied my time, apart from chasing girls.

These three artworks were made during the time when I started to experiment with colour, I was majorly a black and white guy and limited to lead and charcoal. I have always been obsessed with a woman’s hair whenever I sketch. I think there is something absolutely romantic and magical about it.

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The Thinking Lady.

Acrylic on Paper

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The Jungle Spirit

Pencil and Ink on Paper

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Come To Life.

Pencil and Ink on paper.

 

Art by me.

Sahdev Hooda

#oldwork

I recently had to go for an interview with an e-commerce company as a stylist. I am generally not the nervous one with interviews but this time I was because even though I have done a good amount of styling work as a freelancer but never was I interviewed as a stylist before. I wanted to show them the best of my work or something with more depth and storytelling. Beyond celeb styling or what I generally have been able to achieve for my blog till now. Believing that I had no record of it, I surprising found all the editorial work that I had done till now. I was feeling absolutely nostalgic to see these images.

This is back in the days, winter of 2010 when I was still exploring my career options, I got an exciting chance to work with a start up. It was a friend who invited me onboard to look after the fashion bit for a magazine.

You are clearly a one man army in a start up situation. This was the first issue of TLF and my first work where I conceptualised, sourced, booked and executed everything myself and was it fun. We were a small knit team of friends, trying to do something different.

The story came from discussions about an earth conscious mood and we moved to creating imagery which somehow embodied a cry or a voice of the current situation of our environment.

It is always such a pleasure to shoot with Rishabh Anupam Sahay. He is one friend I have always enjoyed working with and has long a name. This was our first collaboration as well.

Hah! Old times.

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Photographs by Rishabh Anupam Sahay.

Talent: Tatyana Timirova.

Hair and makeup by Ratul.

Styled by me.

Sahdev Hooda

The bride and the groom

Culture

This has been the most fascinating wedding I have attended till now. The bride and the groom, both are my dear old friends and when they told me they were getting married in Ladakh, I didn’t know they were gonna do it in such a traditionally beautiful way. I was so amazed to look at their costumes with all the jewellery, accessories and the way everything was styled. The traditional robe, ‘Goncha’ is the traditional attire finished with a long scarf tied around the waist to hold and secure the wrap. The women’s costume is more detailed with gathered details on the waist and of course more ornamented with beautiful jewellery. It was a feast not just the stomach but for the eyes too. I will cover more about the wedding and few more interesting facts about a Ladakhi wedding in the next post. This post is focussed on the gorgeous couple and their majestic wedding outfits. Don’t they leave you awestruck?

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Photographed by me.

Sahdev Hooda

Suit it Indian

May life be filled with more travel plans and friends getting married at exotic locations.

I wore this look by NoughtOne (by Abhishek Paatni) for one of my dear friend’s wedding. The ‘bandhgala’ to me, is always appropriate for all indian occasions. I think it has been quite a while since I last wore a suit with a tie. Not the biggest fan of ties.

Made famous and followed by his name, the ‘Nehru Jacket’ is a style which I feel has a clear indian feeling attached to it. I recently blogged about a ‘bandhgala’ suit from another indian designer and I realise that they are spontaneously becoming a part of my personal style. This suit has a more modern edge with its crisp fabric and contemporary styling and details. One could even wear it with a mandarin collared shirt. I paired it with a bright blue shirt of mine. It was a perfect highlight for the light beige of the suit.

My friends poked fun at the look by calling it the look of Ladakh as the terrain is mostly rocky, hence beige and the blue of the sky is as clear and saturated as the shirt. I didn’t have much to argue about that and I laughed along with them.

I was once told at a French designer boutique that true luxury is reflected from the inside. Be it the finesse of the jacket lining or the way you maintained your drawers. Abhishek always scores well on that. I haven’t seen his office drawers but I am talking about his designs here. He always has a thought behind how he finishes the clothes he makes. Perfect highlights and impeccably finished insides. This is where a true gentleman would put his money.

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Shot in ‘Neh’ valley near Leh.

Photographed by Malvika Jain.

Softer lands. 

Something that Anuj Bhutani can never go wrong with is his colours. I have been an admirer of his work from the first time I went through his work. His refined sense of colour and fabric has always made see a great aesthetic value in his clothes.

I was going to Leh and Anuj can not be a miss. The moment I spoke to him about my plans of shooting in Leh, he knew what was it that he would like me to shoot. It started off with this beautiful jacket. I loved the volume of it and the quirky tie ups on the waist and the hem. The fluid cotton on the body of this jacket feels great to ear and the tonal embroidery on the lower left panel is absolutely beautiful. Subtle is the word when it come to this label. We matched it with a plain cotton kurta and ankle length pants from the same genius. His fits are always impeccable and it is a complete delight to be wearing Anuj Bhutani.

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This look was shot in a beautiful small village called “Nimmu”, very close to Leh .

Photographed by Malvika Jain.

Grunge that suits

This is the first coming together of my blog and the Label Suket Dhir. I am glad to personally know even the person Suket Dhir. He was my senior at college. Seeing Suket win the Woolmark prize was a complete delight. The collection looked brilliant and all the looks photographed beautifully well. That is not always easy with handloom fabrics. I have been trying to participate in the idea of promoting indian, hand-woven fabrics and this grungy suit from Suket Dhir is a great way to begin the process.

Not only does he research and know his slubby, textured fabrics well, he also sees a great amount of beauty in the craft that our country weaves. This easy cut suit is a great example of that. The perfect blue on the weave is detailed with wooden buttons and a paisley print silk lining. The pants are the most comfortable pair of formal pants I have ever worn. The volume and the cut of it does have a slight sense of nostalgia as I remember the members of my previous generations wearing loose boxy pyjamas along with their kurtas and ease with the breeze. I am really in love with this outfit. This is a must have for winters. The ensemble does have the perfect balance of everything that you look for in designer wear.

I look forward to another post soon with Suket where I would love to talk more about his design journey and how the his sensibility evolved from the fibre level of thinking and making.

Also, excuse me for putting a little extra photographs on this post. But this is only for the complete viewing pleasure as I loved the location we shot at. We shot this look at this lovely place before Rohtang called Sarchu. We stayed in a cottage on the banks of the river ‘Baaga’. Delightful is the word.

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Photographed by Rahul Lal.