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Mani Ratnam choosing to collaborate with Kishandas & Co. is a huge honour for the brand: Pratiksha Prashant

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The Hyderabad-based heritage jewellery brand recently created jewellery reminiscent of the Chola era for the cast of the legendary director’s latest film Ponniyin Selvan 2, that released on April 28

When acclaimed film-maker Mani Ratnam set out to recreate Chola era jewellery for the characters of his latest release Ponniyin Selvan 2, his choice was 150-year-old heritage jewellery brand Kishandas & Co, based in Hyderabad. For the house of Kishandas, rooted in the tradition of making royal heritage jewellery of Hyderabad, it was a rare honour.“Ponniyin Selvan 2 is our first opportunity to work with the legendary creative genius Mani Ratnam, and it has been a momentous and huge acknowledgement for our body of work. It is a huge honour and recognition for the brand with Mani Sir choosing to collaborate with us,” says Pratiksha Prashant, Creative Director and CEO of Kishandas & Co., about working on the film that hit theatres on April 28, 2023.

Here are excerpts from a conversation The Retail Jeweller had with Kishandas & Co’s Pratiksha Prashant:

What kind of briefing did you receive to create jewellery reminiscent of the Chola era for the cast of Mani Ratnam’s latest release Ponniyin Selvan 2? Did he directly brief you about the looks he wanted or did you come up with the looks?

Legendary director Mani Ratnam shared his vision with our team, backed by his team’s research and costume designer, and it was a journey that was built on trust and the belief he had in our work. To interpret his vision for Ponniyin Selvan 2 is a dream come true, and it served as an excellent canvas for showcasing our skill in handcrafting traditional Indian jewellery with amazing detail. His brief to us was to create authentic jewellery that accentuates the characters. When we presented the final look, he greatly admired them.

Together with Kishandas & Co, costume designer Eka Lakhani conceptualized all the characteristic looks for the leads and the entire supporting cast which perfectly blended into the characters’ palettes as envisioned by Mani Ratnam.

Our legacy of creating exquisite jewellery with a refined collection of stones ranging from rubies and emeralds to sapphires, diamonds and pearls, helped us execute the project with great finesse.

When did the project start and how long did it take to complete?

The design and production of jewels involved over 50 artisans, took over six months from inspiration to studying history, to character specification. Around 400 pieces of real jewellery were handcrafted for the lead, secondary and tertiary characters who were a part of court celebrations, dance sequences and scenes of battles. All aspects of temple jewellery production, including moulding, filing, and finishing, were done by hand.

The research team from Madras Talkies included historians who studied the motifs and styling of the Chola dynasty with details such as the Cholas following Shaivism, their emblem – a tiger – and crafted a detailed brief of each character with specific, real identities from the outset. Six jewellery designers from Kishandas & Co. further studied how to create jewellery specific to the era and the characters, considering clothing, hair-styling, make-up and the elements specific to each of the characters.

The artisans worked together during the many stages of manufacturing jewellery, including nakshi work, stone fitting, and polishing, based on their areas of specialization.

Please share specifics about the jewellery created to depict Chola era jewellery design.

A range of mesmerising, authentic art forms consisting of necklaces made in the traditional Kundan setting, a wide range of accessories such as the maangtika, vanki, rings and jhumkas set in uncut and precious gems, including emeralds, rubies, yellow sapphires, rakhodi inspired long necklace, with a traditional close-to-the-neck thussi were created for the female artistes. The jewellery created for men in the film – Vikram as Aditya Karikalan, Karthi as Vanthiyathevan, Jayam Ravi as Arulmozhivarman and the other supporting cast from the Chola era were rings, armlets, belts, body chains, and kadas for scenes in the royal darbar and armbands to be worn over the armour for the war sequences.

What is Kishandas & Co. planning in the immediate future? What are your upcoming projects and marketing initiatives?

As a heritage jewellery brand with a long-standing legacy, we would likely prioritize preserving its traditional values and craftsmanship while adapting to the ever-changing market trends and customer preferences. We will continue to explore new product lines or collaborations while focusing on expanding our global footprint. In terms of marketing, in our campaigns, we will highlight the brand’s history and legacy while also incorporating modern and innovative elements to stay relevant and capture the attention of new customers.

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