“Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” is one of the most talked about movies this year. Not only did it give every Bollywood buff a lot of reasons to laugh, cry, laugh, and then cry some more, but the Anushka-Ranbir-Aishwarya starrer also displayed major fashion goals.
Although it was near impossible to take my eyes off of the key characters, especially the ever-so-elegant Aishwariya Rai Bachchan, I think it’s safe to say costume designer Manish Malhotra may have stolen the show. How? The most renowned Bollywood designer was responsible for giving every watcher pure closet inspiration; As a desi girl living in pardes, Anushka Sharma’s character, Alizeh, is the one I am crushing on the most.
[Photo Source: Manish Malhotra’s Instagram]
I could see myself roaming the streets of Philadelphia wearing a kurti and a pair of rolled up ripped jeans, which Alizeh is seen sporting. To top it off, her kurtas’ threadwork don’t screamdesi. Rather, this look simply has the mughal touch to it. And those earrings? Yes, those ethnic earrings are definitely my next purchase to go with my angrezi outfits.
Unlike the lavish, often atypical, fashion sense portrayed in major Bollywood rom-coms, “ADHM” actually gives its ordinary audience a chance to mimic the fusion style.
Anushka, as Alizeh, had a hint of ethnic trends in every outfit she wore throughout the movie, and that is exactly what caught my attention. Her costumes truly do justice to her role as a girl from Kashmir living abroad. And as if the outfits weren’t enough, the deep kajal in her eyes gives off such a poetic vibe, or I should say “vatavaran.”
And now let’s revisit some of my favorite ensembles in a bit more detail:
Dancing in a kurta in “The Breakup Song”:
[Photo Source: notey.com]
Ah, the breakup song—so annoyingly good, isn’t it? I was expecting to lay my eyes on a typical Bollywood party song in the club. You know, the ones where the female lead is wearing a glamorous skirt and all? When the song first released on YouTube, Alizeh’s outfit mesmerized me more than the lyrics of the song. She was still in character, despite being in a non-desi club. Her tomato-red kurta with fringes and beads was, indeed, a perfect match to go with the skinny, light-washed ripped jeans. Next time when I am trying to find a shirt to go with my jeans with “holes” in them, as my grandma says, I could definitely go with a long, stylish kurta.
The #OOTD in “Cutiepie”:
[Photo Source: Manish Malhotra’s Instagram]
Need I say more? Now this is a #OOTD for a day at the office. We saw something a bit similar on Katrina Kaif in “Fitoor.” The pretty blouse with a gorgeous long skirt is purely ethnic while still presenting a modern look. However, Alizeh’s look during her mehendi in “ADHM” is something we all can wear on any occasion. And don’t forget the jewelry that puts the desi cherry on top! I know what I am about to wear to the next sangeet I am invited to. A lehenga skirt and a blouse!
East meets West for a dinner date “vatavaran”:
[Photo Source: India.com]
This might be a little surprising, but out of all the looks— ok, maybe not including the jaw-dropping bridal look—this would have to be my favorite. The shiny embellishment on the top reminds me of the fabrics on a Malhotra lehenga. But, we should also take a look at what she combines it with. I have always wanted to wear leather with desi gear. East undeniably meets the West in this combo! And the look could even be finished with dark kajal and a light smokey eye. Perfect for a night out!
Oh, that wedding trousseau, “Channa Mereya”:
[Photo Source: Manish Malhotra’s Instagram]
Alizeh’s trousseau is definitely a Manish Malhotra masterpiece. The gorgeous bride donned the two-piece bridal lehenga with so much ease and elegance. The pairing of the blush top with the bright red bottom provides a unique contrast, not to forget the kundan jewelry that was carefully picked out to complete the look. One of the best parts of this look is the layering of the dupattas with one draped around the shoulders and the other pinned neatly on the head. I’m sure every future bride is scrambling to get her hands on one of these, even if it does weigh a whopping 17kgs!
We all know how most Bollywood characters possess a signature look. I still remember trying to imitate Kareena Kapoor with the patialas in “Jab We Met.” Well, Alizeh is no different. You’ll definitely be seeing many Brown Girls rocking long kurtis, or tunics, which are even making their space in fashionable stores. So, while I’m shopping for my new kurta, let me also grab a couple of vintage bangles to go with! Again, desi with a whole lotta angrezi!
Shezda Afrin is a college sophomore from Pennsylvania studying on the Pre-Med track, with a focus in Public Health and Writing/Publishing. She loves to travel with her family and witness different cultures. You will probably find her spending her Friday nights watching Bollywood movies with a plate of mini samosas in hand. She hopes to highlight the many talents of our South Asian youth in America through Brown Girl.
“Ghoomer,” R. Balki’s latest directorial venture, had its world premiere at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2023 (IFFM), earlier this month, and the moment was nothing short of memorable. Lead actors Abhishek Bachchan, Saiyami Kher, and Angad Bedi, were present to unveil their labor of love to the world, and all three were left speechless at the reaction of the global audience; the film received a standing ovation on opening night, leaving the team extremely emotional — a feeling that Bachchan tells Brown Girl is one he cannot put into words.
“Ghoomer,” tells the story of Anina (played by Kher), an exceptional cricket player who loses her right hand in an accident. Downtrodden and with no will to live, Anina finds a mentor and coach in Padam Singh Sodhi (played by Bachchan), an insensitive and brash failed cricketer who helps her turn her life and career around; Anina also has the unwavering support of her husband, Jeet (played by Bedi). Sodhi teaches Anina unorthodox techniques to make her mark on the cricket ground once again. Enter, ghoomer, a new style of bowling.
Balki checks all the boxes with this feature — his protagonist is a female athlete, the film is his way of giving back to cricket (a new form of delivery), and he highlights the idea that nothing is impossible for paraplegic athletes. The heart of Balki’s film is in the right place — Kher mentions that the film is meant to be more of an inspirational movie and less of a sports-based movie. One can only imagine the impact that a film like this would have on an audience that’s hungry for meaningful cinema.
And, to chat more about “Ghoomer,” Brown Girl Magazine sat down with the stars of the show. Bachchan, Bedi, and Kher came together to talk about their inspiring characters, the filming journey, and how their film aspires to change the landscape of cricket and paraplegic athletes in the country. It was all that, with a side of samosas.
Take a look!
The featured image is courtesy of Sterling Global.
“How could the British bring the Indians without the cows?”That’s one of the jokes you’re very likely to hear at comedian Priya Guyadeen’s show. In fact, the 53-year-old just wrapped up a set of shows with her troupe: Cougar Comedy Collective. The Guyanese-born comic spearheads the group of mostly women of “a certain age,” as she puts it.
She says the group was formed in 2021 but she started dishing out jokes back in 2020 during the pandemic, over Zoom. She was always labeled the “funny one” in her family and decided to take her jokes to a virtual open mic, hosted by her friend, where she says failure was less daunting.
Cut to 2023, and the comic was able to take her show on the road. Guyadeen and her fellow performers recently hit the East coast for a set of shows called “Cougars on the Loose!” The shows even featured two male comics.
Guyadeen’s comedy routines touch on her Indo Guyanese background, highlighting stereotypes and a clash of cultures. In one of her jokes, she tells her audience that her Guyanese mom is bad with names when she introduces her white boyfriend, Randy, and he gets called Ramesh.
Out in the Bay Area — where she spends her days now — she tries to connect the sparsely Caribbean population to her jokes.
That includes talking about the 1978 Jonestown Massacre which had ties to San Francisco and ended in Guyana. She uses this as a reference point — trying to connect her audience to her background with historical context. She says this does come with its challenges, though.
The single mom also practices clean jokes. Once she finishes up her daily routine with her eight-year-old son and day job as a project manager for a biotechnology company, she tries to find time to write her material.
It’s a balancing act. I’m like the day job-Priya for a few hours or for a chunk of time. And then I’ve got to put on my comedian hat and do that for a period of time because with comedy, I’m not just performing. I’m also producing, managing the shows, booking talent, seeking venues.
Though it’s not easy, she says she’s learning through it all — the business side of comedy and discipline.
Guyadeen, who’s lived in Brazil and Canada, says her young son really contributes to her comedy. A lot of her material focuses on jokes for parents, and single parents like herself, because she feels:
[We live] in a society that doesn’t really create a support system for single parents.
Her nonprofit, Cougar Comedy Collective, was born out of all the great reception she received. She noticed a “niche market” of women in their 50s who loved to get dressed up and come out to the shows to hear jokes that related to their own lives that aren’t typically touched on. These were jokes about menopause, aging and being an empty nester. Guyadeen says her nonprofit,
…bring[s] talent together in our age group to celebrate this time of life; celebrate this particular juncture in a person’s life.
As Guyadeen continues her comedic journey, she says she hopes she’ll be a role model for other Caribbean women to follow their dreams despite their age. She also hopes to see more Caribbean people carving out their space in the entertainment industry.
Featured Image of Priya Guyadeen taken by Elisa Cicinelli Photography
In an age where algorithms dictate viewership, Nancy Jay uses her love of dance to propel herself onto TikTok’s “for you” pages. Jay is an Indo Guyanese, Bronx native who began dancing at the age of three. As an influencer and content creator, she amassed a social media following of more than 500,000. Versed in many styles of dancing including Caribbean, Bollywood, urban and Latin, Jay can be spotted in soca music videos such as Linky First’s “Rock and Come in” and “Jeune Femme,” Adrian Dutchin’s “Roll” and by soca king Machel Montano’s “Mami Lo Tiene.”
Many content creators are typecast into the niche but Jay has defied this norm and proclaims she is more than just a dancer.
“I dance, travel, post lifestyle and beauty content. I’m an Indo Caribbean woman who enjoys being myself and promoting my culture. I like showing viewers it is okay to be who they are and embrace what they look like, despite what they see on social media. I did not plan on being a TikToker. As I started posting videos, the love and support I received from viewers was amazing. I have never experienced anything like that before on Instagram, where I started my content journey,” Jay said.
In conversation with Jay, the following answers have been condensed for concision and clarity.
Why is it important for you to create content related to your Indo Caribbean roots?
Growing up, I never felt represented as an Indo Caribbean on television, in movies, social media or anywhere else. My goal as a content creator is to promote the Indo Caribbean culture through my content and be the representation the Indo Caribbean community needs.
Are there unspoken rules about being a content creator or an Indo Caribbean woman on the platform?
Being an Indo Caribbean woman on TikTok can be challenging when you are trying to find your identity and do not feel represented.
Jay explains her frustration with the lack of Caribbean representation and acknowledgment from platforms, as well as her goals as a content creator in this video.
Do you ever experience a block, similar to writer’s block, when it comes to creating content? How do you overcome that?
I have yet to experience a block. However, I do have days where I want to take a break and just relax instead of filming. As a content creator, it is important to take breaks and schedule days to just relax because being a full-time content creator is a 24/7 business. It can be draining and you may lose your sense of reality when you have the mindset that everything is content. I enjoy taking a day or half a day to cook, watch TV or go shopping with my partner without the worry of filming any of it.
How has your social media presence changed your daily life?
When I am in public, supporters approach me to express their love for my content and sometimes ask for a selfie. When I find people staring at me in public now, it’s most likely because they recognize me from social media and not because I look funny.
In May of 2021, I used my platform to reach out to brands and ask for their support in a project I named ‘Nancy Jay Gives Back.’ I put together care packages, using products donated by brands, and drove around the Bronx sharing them with people experiencing homelessness or those in need. Seeing the happiness on their faces upon receiving these bags was priceless. Additionally, I spread some extra joy through dance. I remember one lady telling me she’d never been to a club or party so I told her I’ve brought the party to her and we danced to her favorite genre of music right there on the street.
Jay plans on continuing this project as her social media presence has grown.
How has your family reacted to your social presence?
My family has always been supportive of my talents and the path I have chosen. My first public dance performance was at the age of 12. I performed a fusion of Bollywood and chutney music at middle school events. When I got to high school, I participated in our talent show to a fusion of Bollywood, chutney, soca and top 40. I won the talent show three or four times. I also performed for fundraisers organized by mandirs in Queens, the Bronx, weddings, sweet sixteens and other social events.
My family always came out to support me. They love seeing my content and always encourage me to film and create. My mom in particular tells everyone about my TikTok videos.
While enrolled at John Jay College, Jay founded the first West Indian student organization called “West Indies Massive.” She captained the dance team, taught dance classes and won the talent show multiple times while pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice with a minor in law and police studies.
Any advice for creators who may not have the support of family?
Do not let this discourage you. If content creation is something you truly want to do, stay consistent and eventually your family will support you for doing what you love. Social media is still new to some and the idea of it being someone’s career or business is new as well. I say be patient. Also, talk to them about your social media goals, as perhaps they do not understand the full picture.
What is your dream partnership and why?
My dream partnership would involve acting. I’ve always wanted to be an actress, preferably a Bollywood actress because I know I would kill those dance numbers (haha!). Also, I would love to partner with Sandals Resorts and bring that Caribbean flavor they should be promoting.
Jay has collaborated with major brands like Samsung Mobile, Norwegian Cruise Line, AC Hotels, Disney Music Group, and Dunkin which is paramount for the Indo Caribbean community.
“I am the first Indo Caribbean woman to work with Norwegian Cruise Line as a content creator. Cruise travel is a huge part of my content journey. I love cruising and creating unique experiences and content. While cruising, I connected with the crew while most people typically do not. I treat everyone with respect,” Jay said
“I started a fun series called ‘Cruise Dances with the Crew’ back in August of 2021. There’s a playlist on TikTok with all of the fun dances. Prior to my first video, I had not seen anyone dancing on cruise ships with the crew. I guess you could say I started that trend.”
Nancy intertwined this partnership with her content and further put herself on the map.
Another pivotal partnership for Jay occurred in March 2021 when Dunkin chose her as one of 10 from a nationwide competition to feature her signature drink on the local menu.
How has content creation changed in the past two years?
Within the past two years, my content and style has grown tremendously. My gear list has also grown tremendously. I’ve been a content creator full time for a little over a year now. I have had more time to focus on the presentation and editing of my content.
What else do you want your viewers to not know about you or your work?
I stay true to who I am. Supporters who I’ve met in person can attest that I am the same, in-person and online. I like to keep things relatable, fun and authentic. I am working with a lot of big brands. I try to incorporate dance in all my content to capture my passion, diversity and culture.
I started teaching Caribbean Dance Fitness classes and private dance lessons officially in 2016. Since Covid, I moved everything online. Not only have I helped many learn how to dance but I have also helped build their confidence through dance and expression.
Lastly, I love traveling and encouraging others to live their best life.
Jay is more than a dancer; she is unapologetically herself. She maximizes opportunities and is building a brand that highlights her Indo Caribbean roots – a culture often not highlighted in mainstream media.