Misfit director hopes his 'Charas' will fit

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
5/6/2004 12:00:00 AM
The disco laser beams ricocheted off flashing red chiffon, kitsch street-print blouses and swathes of red-light area lipstick as Delhi models and socialites swung their hips doing the mock sex worker act to the hilt. 

"I'll never live this down," laughed model Anjhula Singh Bias as she pranced before the television cameras, showing off a sweeping neckline in red net sari and cobalt-gold blouse.

"My parents think I have lost it. It's a little wild."

The theme of the party hosted by young designer Mandira Wirk at New Delhi's The Park hotel late on Thursday night was "Chameli", after last year's Bollywood flick starring Kareena Kapoor who played a prostitute.

Kapoor's role as a rain drenched sex worker who meets a corporate honcho in a desolate portico on a muggy Mumbai night was as much deliberated upon for the storyline as Kapoor's attire.

She wore a red chiffon sari and gay printed blouse - both excess kitsch - throughout the film and created a rather in-your-face style statement.

That's the statement Wirk also wants to make.

"I wanted to say that I'm young, my clothes are bright, colourful and often really street chic," smiled Wirk, the maroon lipstick smudging on the teeth and leaving grinning stains on the wine flute.

"Chameli is all about spirit against all odds, it's about surviving with a razzle-dazzle - that's me."

At the entrance to Agni, the pub-restaurant at The Park where the party was held, guests were given street goons-style small scarves to wear and small garlands of jasmine flowers to tie around their wrists.

Wrist garlands have traditionally been sported in India by landlords watching nautch girls dance to sniff dreamingly every now and again - to accentuate the intoxication.

By midnight, the dance floor filled with the whoops of dancers who boogied to Bollywood dance remixes - only in this one party, there were no slinky corsets, no low-cut denims.

It was all a maze of wispy blouses tied with a single knot at the back and swishing saris tied way below the navel, and for men, front-open shirts or kurtas - either personating the archetype of the street ruffian or decadent patron.

Wirk, as she floated around the party urging people to grab a drink, said: "There's a lot of chutzpah in the sex worker depicted in Chameli. That's what I admire."

"Interesting party," smiled business baron and MP Navin Jindal who came with his wife Shalu.

"But as you can see I am wearing a normal shirt and trousers, not quite as adventurous."