Actresses share a precious secret


Aishwarya RaiBelieve it or not, Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukherjee and Bipasha Basu owe their glitter to just one man.

After all Mumbai designer Vinay Chhadwa supplies nearly every piece of jewellery they wear.

Chhadwa's clientele reads like a virtual who's who of the glam world. Besides...
...the reigning divas, 'Dhak Dhak' girl Madhuri Dixit and model-turned-actress Diana Hayden also buy their rocks from him.

Chhadwa is certainly not partial to the big screen. His customised jewellery appears in a number of television serials too - 'Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi', 'Des Mein Nikala Hoga Chand' and 'Sanjivni' - among others.

But it is undoubtedly Rani who's the mascot for Sia Art Jewellery, Chhadwa's flagship store. "I should thank Rani for all the publicity that I have got. She was our valued customer even before making her debut in 'Raja Ki Ayegi Baraat'. To this day we continue to enjoy her patronage. Of course it's now difficult for her to make personal trips to the shop for fear of getting mobbed. But her brother Raja picks up jewellery on her behalf," says the designer.

Yoshdhara Oberoi, current heartthrob Vivek Oberoi's mother, drops in frequently as well. Designers Anna Singh, Manish Malhotra, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Vikram Phadnis and many others pick up jewellery from Sia Art for their fashion shows, page three customers and films.

According to Chhadwa, each celebrity has a distinct taste when it comes to selecting her sparklers.

Rani, for example, likes all things exquisite. "She loves a larger-than-life look and anything that is different and new will catch her attention. We keep in mind her personality and frame when we make designs to Rani's specifications. Ornate pieces with great details usually go down well with her," he says.

"Since Rani isn't tall, she prefers to focus on her face and head rather than hands and other body parts. We therefore try to give her beautiful necklaces in kundan and thappa work, Mang Tikas, earrings and finger rings instead of heavy bangles and kadas," adds Chhadwa.

As a result the Bengali beauty is most often spotted in matching hues - traditional sari or salwar suit adorned with pink, black, blue or gold jewellery in kundan or meena work. It is a look she carries over in her films as well - be it the superhit 'Hum Tum' or Aamir Khan's 'The Rising'.

Although Chhadwa, who has crafted the jewellery for the Indo-British historical drama, says he's bound by a confidentiality clause in his contract, he does give a few tantalising hints about what to expect. "Rani will have a lot of kundan, uncut polkis (diamonds), little pendants, etc. For the rest, you will have to watch the movie," he quips.

Ash, on the other hand, prefers anything trendy. According to Chhadwa: "She loves the Indo-western look and has a penchant for wire-work like filigiri in contemporary designs. Neeta Lulla, her designer, picks up jewellery form us to go with her costume in films or at functions."

The former Miss World in fact wore Sia Art creations for 'Devdas' and the company's CEO still cherishes the memory. He admits it was one of the most challenging assignments he has ever handled.

"The jewellery used for 'Devdas' was completely kundan - from necklace, payal, ethnic kada and bracelet to mang tikka. The jewellery was specially crafted to give both Aishwarya and Madhuri Dixit a completely Bengali look.

"We had to constantly create and recreate before we got it right. Since Aishwarya's costumes in the film were very grand and exquisite, there was a danger that the jewellery would get overshadowed. We had to let it speak for itself. Also, 'Devdas' was set in an era when traditional jewellery was in vogue. My team therefore concentrated more on haath band (hand band), traditional kadas, mang tikas, hair pin and the like," says Chhadwa.

Despite her quasi-retired status after marriage, Madhuri remains an eternal favourite with the Mumbai designer. Nothing, he says, beats Mrs Nene's eye for jewels. "Madhuri adores heavy jewellery - the bigger and chunkier they are, the better," he says.

Other celebrity clients have their predilections too. According to Chhadwa: "Kiron Kher goes for abstract ethnic designs, while Jamuna Pai, the renowned skin specialist and consultant to Miss India contestants, prefers delicate stuff like pendants and bracelets. Bipasha Basu and Diana Hayden almost always opt for trendy designs. For Preity Zinta we made blue and gold-cast jewellery to match her outfit in the 'Mahi Ve' song from 'Kal Ho Na Ho'."

And with Chhadwa's creativity only getting better each day, there are bound to be many more treasured moments for the stars!