Samyuktha or Samtron, as I like to call her, is one of those people who wear many hats with great ease. After being a successful model, mother and entrepreneur, she is now stepping into the world of cinema. She makes her acting debut in a Malayalam film by acclaimed director Shaji N Karun. You can hear the excitement in her voice as she talks about this new chapter in her life. “I portray a flamboyant art gallery owner who plays a pivotal role in the hero’s story. I hadn’t planned on foraying into acting but I couldn’t pass up on the chance to work with an auteur like Shaji. Pretty much every film he directs wins a national award. I grew up watching his films and working with him has been a life-changing experience,” she muses.
Earlier this year, Sam opened a salon in Thiruvananthapuram, and since then, she has been dividing her time between there and Chennai. On one of her trips there, a cinematographer who was visiting the salon spotted Sam. He called the salon the next day, and very soon, a movie offer came her way. With a face that looks like it has been chiseled out of chocolate with expressive doe eyes and an animated personality to boot, I’m wondering how it has taken so long for her to get a film offer. Baby Ray seems to agree as you can hear the little one mumbling cutely in the background. When I ask her about future projects, she says, “I’m being offered more roles and I’m considering them. But, my biggest role in life is to be a mother! So, if time permits, I’d love to do more films.”
CITY DESIGNER SETS OUT TO CONQUER THE WORLD
Neesha Amreesh (left)
Neesha Amreesh is a designer whose journey I have been lucky to witness. She started out small in her living room and now she has made it to the Jakarta Fashion Week 2017. Aeshane, her line of organically dyed, sustainable fashion can be found in stores not just across the country, but also in museums and boutiques in Europe. She is proud to call herself a Chennai designer. She talks to me from Jakarta a few days after her showcase and she is over the moon that her collection was well received in the Indonesian market.
A regular in Paris, Neesha showcased her collections at Amazon India Fashion week last year, and out of the 100-odd Indian designers, the team from Jakarta picked her to showcase her designs. “The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) came on board and I received an email early this year and I couldn’t stop smiling. My years of hard work were finally paying off. I stuck to my aesthetic and the reception has been larger than life. My scarves, hijabs, accessories and clothes were a hit. An Indian editor of a very popular international magazine liked my designs and asked me where I have been hiding all this while. She paid me a huge compliment by picking up some of my pieces,” she gushes.
It hasn’t been an easy journey for Neesha. She has been doing shows in Paris for a few years and it was international recognition that got her acceptance back home. All the big multi-designer stores who wouldn’t even take her calls earlier are making a beeline for her. “In India, you need celebrity endorsements, whereas abroad it’s all about talent. Your work speaks for itself and does all the talking. It has taken me eight to nine years of struggle including financial constraints, all the while juggling familial responsibilities and my love for design to get here. It’s incredibly overwhelming because this is a dream come true,” adds Neesha with the gratification in her voice quite evident even over a bad network connection.
Models wearing Neesha Amreesh’s creations at the Jakarta Fashion Week
She has big plans for global domination starting with a showcase at Lakme Fashion week in India and Milan next year. New York and Tokyo are in the works too. She says she would love to mentor or help any budding designers in the city because she had to figure it all out the hard way and she wishes the future generation has someone to turn to. Signing off, she says, “I’m not sure how much I have achieved but I feel I have the entire world left to conquer.”