Swastika Mukherjee is on a roll. Close on the heels of her remarkable performance as the vulnerable mother in Criminal Justice Season 3, she is all ready to enthral us all with Qala, which will see her in a very different role. Qala, which that release on Netflix on December 1, is also late actor Irrfan’s son Babil’s debut film. Besides Qala, the busy actor will also be seen in a horde of Bengali and Hindi projects that are in the pipeline for release.
But apart from her magic on screen, Swastika also commands a huge fan following for her eclectic fashion sense and her conscious choice of unusually elegant sustainable homegrown brands that promote weaves. Hence she was a natural choice for cover when it came to our winter wedding special edition. Despite her hectic promotion schedule the humble actress readily agreed to be our bride with a difference. For the same, Swastika chose to meld her unique sense of styling with designs created by designer Mitan Ghosh, whose eponymous label is known for promoting regional weaves.
A chat with the beautiful artiste on her wedding fashion choices and why she feels that makeup cannot enhance beauty.
What are your personal winter wedding fashion choices?
For winter it’s always heavy silks like kanjeevaram, patola and matka silks that we can’t wear in summer. They can be worn for brunches and night receptions with traditional blouses or quirky numbers like a turtle neck top or a pullover in basic solid colours with full sleeves. A black turtle neck goes great with any heavy silk in bright colours and I keep the jewellery minimal with just a statement chunky neckpiece. One can tie the hair into a tight bun or sport the short hair look. I have a treasured piece of woollen sari from Kashmir that my mom gifted me and I wear it with a sleeveless blouse. It’s an antique piece and I can’t wait for wedding invites in the winter to wear it.
What are your wedding fashion wardrobe must haves?
Heavy silk saris in bright colours with intricate, rich borders and big motifs. I love them in shades of red, orange and crimson for weddings. I also have a very delicate sari in black crepe which has gold zari embroidery. It’s intricately designed and I love wearing it for weddings. I also have heavy pieces of jewellery. They needn’t be gold, they can be silver or junk. I use a lot of dried flowers as hair accessories in buns or braids, mostly mogras and jasmine. I also like the ones made with cloth and glass bangles both solid and designed ones really add that extra special touch, glimmer and oomph to your outfit.
How much do you think the style of a typical bride has changed over the years?
It has changed drastically. we have come a long way from being a demure bride with her face hidden behind a veil to a happy smiling bride who enjoys her wedding day as much as her guests do. With this shift in attitude, we have also seen a marked difference in the way a bride dresses now. Today’s bride is not afraid of sartorial experiments. They like to stand out by choosing something that’s simple and defines their personality. Most of the new generation are conscious of their environment, believe in responsible fashion and settle for all things sustainable and repeatable. Hence the trousseau of a bride is now way lighter and something that’s heirloom yet wearable later too.
If you were to choose the most fashionable bride in recent years, who would that be and why?
I really liked how actress Ankita Chakraborty, who recently got married to actor Prantik Banerjee for their wedding day. Ankita showed how you can look absolutely priceless even without designerwear if you possess an impeccable sense of style and dressing.
I feel a bride’s inner confidence and happiness should shine through all that layers of makeup to look truly beautiful. Besides, she should be comfortable in whatever she is wearing to carry it with aplomb. A bride should not put so much makeup on and wear such unrealistic wigs which would turn her into someone else altogether. She should stay whoever she essentially is as a person. I have an enormous amount of stretch marks due to my pregnancy and in the initial years of my acting career, I used to wear saris to a particular level of my waistline to hide them. But I am no longer conscious of my marks or blemishes and have embraced my flaws totally. Flaws are beautiful too.
What are the gorgeous Indian weaves that you think can make for a great bridal sari?
If it’s winter, one can settle for all the heavy silks in bright shades and the summer wedding look can be done right with a variety of tissue silk, chanderi, dhakai and muslins besides the subtly sequinned or embroidered crepe and georgette numbers.
If you are to marry, how would you deck up as a bride?
If I ever get married, I would like to keep it simple yet sassy, understated yet elegant, and traditional yet chic. The look should be a mix of what defines me — emotional, strong, straightforward and persevering. More than labels, it’s the authentic weaves I go for. Hence my wedding trousseau will be all about sustainable fashion that champions the cause of local weavers rather than an expensive designer number. I am a strong believer in affordable luxe fashion.
What are your upcoming projects?
Qala is coming on Netflix on December 1 and I am literally counting the days until its release. It’s going to be a spectacular watch. There’s Kora Kagaz opposite Rajat Kapoor which revolves around a juvenile home warden, a struggling actor and a 14-year-old girl. It’s releasing today.
I also shot for two Bengali films, one named Shibpur, where I play a dreaded woman gangster, which is something I am pretty excited about. The second film is untitled and it deals with life after death. It’s an independent film and will hopefully release in 2023.
CREDITS: Pictures: Debarshi Sarkar / Makeup: Prosenjit Banerjee / Hair: Rita Mallick / Styling: Abhishek Roy / Jewellery: Abira Jewellers Location: Mati Bari