Heard of a special Sankranti weave? Can you visualize a sari that symbolizes Sankranti in myriad ways? Makar Sankranti celebrated on January 14, marks the beginning of a new harvest season. Dedicated to Aaditya or the Sun God, the festival has the Sun starting its northward or the Uttarayan journey, a sign of positivity. So, what’s the sari-Sankranti connect?
South India’s well-known screen face Pranitha Subhash is all set to drape a sari that signifies Sankranti in all its grandeur. The sari is designed by Madhurya, a Bangalore based revival boutique (located at the Art of Living) for Indian weaves, embroideries, and handicrafts. The concept-based sari suggested to the actress by Madhurya is singularly different where the weave represents a festival of abundance and prosperity through its weft and warp. “There is a sense of gratitude towards the sun, moon, rivers, and all of nature for nurturing our life. Pranitha is a strong voice for these values and so we shared the idea of creating something unique for the festival. We are happy that she liked the concept,” says Bharathy Harish, coordinator of Madhurya Creations in Bangalore.
As for Pranitha, who also runs her own charitable organization, Pranitha Foundation, she had always wanted to help the weavers in crisis during the pandemic. “During the floods in Karnataka and Covid 19, we were helping the distressed in all walks of life. It was when Madhurya contacted me with this idea of a custom-made sari that the timing seemed perfect and relevant. Help extended to weavers during Sankranti for their deft handwork will be the best gesture to extend for their creative hands. The sari done for me would be a model for replication at the exclusive Madhurya merchandise that people can buy,” says Pranitha.
The sari, in gorgeous golden yellow, represents the Sun, mirroring a bright cultural significance. “The intention of Madhurya – to be able to use the proceeds towards Art of Living free schools – made more sense to further my festive endeavor towards a cause,” says Pranitha, the Bangalore-based movie star, who as a teenager was inspired to do social work as her doctor parents regularly conducted health and blood camps. “My thinking is simple. Apart from helping the lesser-privileged during difficult times, we as celebrities should also help to connect with the younger generation where they don’t lose a connect with India’s rich heritage in craft and weaving,” she adds.
So, what is the specialty weave that Pranitha wished for? Bharathy says in the olden days, saris, besides being so beautiful, also communicated a positive message through its motifs. “At Madhurya, we were fascinated by this dimension of our ancient weaves and wanted to develop in our own way. So, these concept-based saris are an effort in that direction.”
The base of this Sankranti sari is pure soft silk, embroidered delicately with the motifs of the Airavata (majestic white elephant on the mount of Lord Indra, the king of the Devas) which is weaved with an ancient blessing “Anna Daata Sukhi Bhava” acknowledging the harvest season. An elephant is a symbol of strength, Indra represents the collective consciousness and Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth. The Airavata (symbolizing wealth and strength) has many trunks attached to one head indicating diverse actions and skills that are together aligned with one vision. “When we are enjoying our tasty idli and benne dose, there are so different people with diverse skill sets who have all contributed to making the end-product so enjoyable. The farmer, the retailer, the cook…all of them. Rightfully the ancient verse, “Anna Daata Sukhi Bhava”, recognizes and honors them all and re-emphasizes the inter-dependency that is the truth of our life on this planet,” explains Bharathy.
The base color yellow honoring the sun is also highlighted with shades of green symbolizing nature and the harvest.
As for Madhurya that has dealt with many custom-made saris for Bollywood celebrities, it has taken a few months of collaborative work from design experts and weavers. “It normally takes at least three months, if not more, to bring a concept to life! The design, the detailing, the weaving, the weather conditions, everything has a role to play,” explains Bharathy.
Pranitha is all excited to be sharing her Sankranti attire virtually for people to know the significance. “My idea of sharing it on social media is to explain the relevance and significance,” she says.
Pranitha Subhash who has nearly 25 films to her credit, debuted with actor Darshan in Kannada and went on to act in Telugu and Tamil films. She appears in the popular Hindi video ‘Chan Kitthan’ with Ayushmann Khurrana. “Right now I am working on “Bhuj- the pride of India” opposite Ajay Devgan; “Hangama 2” the comedy film directed by Priyadarshan; and “Ramana Avatara” in Kannada.
And will she be wearing her Madhurya sari on-screen in one of her films? “That’s a great idea, I will do that when the occasion arises,” says Pranitha who saw many of her shooting schedules getting delayed due to the pandemic. “But it gave me time for contemplation and extending help to deft hands that required help,” says Pranitha.
The motive behind the motifs
As for Madhurya, each weave has been a unique journey. Says Bharathy, “We had earlier created a collection of saris with adorable animal motifs, in collaboration with celebrity stylist Ami Patel. This was with the intention of making woven saris go trendy amongst the youth. We had woven a Chanderi silk sari with kitten motifs for Alia Bhatt because she is very fond of cats. Madhuri Dixit had worn a delicate powder blue Banarasi with flamingos, Samantha looked gorgeous in a neon Chanderi with elephant motifs, Kajal Aggarwal wore a stunning pink Kanjeevaram with bunny motifs, and Kangana Ranaut’s blue Benarasi with Dachshund was the dog-lovers dream come true!”