Bollywood star lauds Ashi Studio gown as her most ‘extravagant’ outfit ever

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Padukone could not stop smiling, giggling and apparently enjoying herself in the larger-than-life dress. (File/AFP)
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Padukone is just the second Indian celebrity to feature in the hit video series by American Vogue. (File/AFP)
Updated 23 March 2019

Bollywood star lauds Ashi Studio gown as her most ‘extravagant’ outfit ever

  • The dress was designed by Ashi Studio’s Saudi-born founder, Mohammed Ashi
  • She wore the magenta Ashi Studio gown on the Cannes 2018 red carpet

DUBAI: Actress Deepika Padukone made headlines last week when she became the second Bollywood star to take part in Vogue magazine’s now-famous “73 Questions With…” series — and she even gave a shout out to a Lebanon-based fashion label.

Padukone was asked, “What’s the most extravagant thing you’ve ever worn?” and she didn’t skip a beat before replying, “I’d say the pink Ashi Studio gown I wore to Cannes in 2018.”

The dress — designed by Ashi Studio’s Saudi-born founder, Mohammed Ashi — was certainly one to remember.

The statuesque star wore the magenta Ashi Studio gown on the red carpet before a screening of the film “Ash is Purest White (Jiang hu er nv)” at the 71st edition of the festival.

Padukone could not stop smiling, giggling and apparently enjoying herself in the larger-than-life dress. Her face was framed by huge pink ruffles, while the train of the voluminous, tiered skirt seemed almost never ending — she took special care as she strode up the famous steps at the film festival, taking the hand of a lucky usher who was presumably more than happy to help.

The dress by the Beirut-based label became even more famous when singer Beyoncé wore it for a concert in Johannesburg that honored the life of Nelson Mandela in early December.

Padukone is just the second Indian celebrity to feature in the hit video series by American Vogue. She was asked questions at The Greenwich Hotel in New York and spared no detail in telling fans about her life and career.

Padukone spoke about her work and said that her 2018 film “Padmaavat” was one of the most challenging experiences of her career, presumably due to the months of protests that led up to its release.

The film sparked anger in India, after groups critical of the project accused its director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, of distorting history by portraying a Muslim ruler as the “lover” of Queen Padmavati of the Hindu Rajput warrior clan.

Further along in the interview, Padukone revealed that she can speak six languages and was born in Denmark and ended the chat by showing off her dance moves in a style she jokingly called “Blossing” — a mash-up of Bollywood dance steps and flossing, the dance craze that swept the internet in 2017.

Watch the interview here:


‘Hamilton’ makes a successful transition to the big screen

Updated 04 July 2020

‘Hamilton’ makes a successful transition to the big screen

CHENNAI: Cinema sometimes looks to go back to its roots. Some years ago, European auteurs like Lars Von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and others introduced “Dogme 95” as a new form of moviemaking, which meant using no props, no artificial lighting and no makeup. It did not last long. However, Thomas Kail’s “Hamilton” — released to coincide with the Fourth of July and streaming on Disney Plus — is another experiment that reminded me of the very early days of motion pictures when some directors in India captured a stage play with a static camera and then screened it in remote regions, where it was not feasible to cart the entire cast.

Kail used six cameras to shoot what was originally a theatrical production. Over two nights in 2016, he filmed the play with most of the actors, including Tony Award winners, who were in the stage version. Every attempt has been made to make it look cinematic, with impeccable camerawork and editing. There is a bonus here. The movie enables you to be a front-bencher at Richard Rogers’ stage production. This closeness that allows you to see clearly the expressions of the actors establishes an intimacy between the audience and the cast.

Inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton, the 160-minute show makes a fabulous musical. The release of the film with its intentionally diverse cast comes at a critical time when race relations in the USA have hit the rock bottom. When Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr) sings that he wants to be in “the room where it happens”, the lyrics are sung by a black man.

Alexander Hamilton (played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, also the creator of the piece) is the least well known of the American founding fathers. An immigrant and orphan, he was George Washington’s right-hand man. Credited as being responsible for setting up the country’s banking system, Hamilton was killed in a duel by Burr.

The musical is inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton. Courtesy of Disney

The story is narrated through hip-hop beats. Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs) sings his speech to Congression, and the debates he has with Alexander Hamilton are verbalized through lyrics. Hamilton also has a lot to say about America’s immigrant past. In one scene French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette tells Alexander, “Immigrants, we get the job done!”

Performances are top notch. Miranda is superb, and evokes an immediate connection between the film and the viewer. King George III is brilliantly portrayed by Jonathan Groff, and Hamilton’s wife, Eliza (Philippa Soo), is an endearing presence who has a calming effect on her often ruffled and troubled husband.

“Hamilton” is a great, if subjective, account of early American political history for those not familiar with that period. It must be said, however, the musical makes a long movie, which might be a trifle tiring for those not used to this format.