Hullabaloo Over Anushka’s Red Sabyasachi Saree – Is It Necessary?
Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma at their reception in Delhi 
Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma at their reception in Delhi Photo Courtesy: Yogen Shah

Hullabaloo Over Anushka’s Red Sabyasachi Saree – Is It Necessary?

By this time, everyone knows every little detail of Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohil’s wedding, which was intended to be a hush-hush affair. Right from the clothes they wore to the decorations and flowers they had to the opulent receptions they hosted with the who’s who of Bollywood and cricket, social media has been flooded with photographs and videos.

Much has also been written about the clothes they wore, which were designed in the hallowed atelier of Sabyasachi Mukherji.

However, some controversy is brewing around the saree that Anushka wore for her reception in Delhi – the one that Mukherji, almost haughtily, proclaimed will flood the markets in the months to come which will help weavers send their children to school. 

Facebook user Neha Srivastava has accused the designer of lifting the design from local artisans and weavers, and passing it off as his own at astronomical prices.

Srivastava goes on to state that she got a similar, if not the same, saree from Delhi months ago that the designer is trying to pass off as his original creation.

It’s an unfortunate habit of Indian designers to take credit for the art and hard work of nameless/faceless Indian weavers, who make the most exquisite patterns and designs on sarees, pay them next to nothing, and jack up prices five to 10 times for just their “brand”, but this is seriously crossing the limit – claiming credit for perhaps the most standard motif there is for Banarasi saree. I was deliberately looking for traditional motifs and was so happy I found it, and I’m pretty sure this motif has been in the market for decades, if not centuries!  

A story published by The Quint gives a behind-the-scenes look at what went into making the saree and the ‘Peeli Kothi kaarigars behind it. The craftsmen have been making these sarees for years at a workshop which has been running at Peeli Kothi since 1966. While these motifs are not Sabyasachi’s own conception, the intent behind his statement seems to be that now more women would want a Benarasi saree for their own wedding day.

It’s known that big designers employ local workers to produce their garments and the people buying them pay for the designer’s name as much as they do for the quality. And Sabyasachi also wrote that he has witnessed “an entire generation get married in red Benarasi sarees”, whose prints and patterns are very similar to what Anushka wore.

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