Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Hottie Hottie Bong Bong - Model Tapur Chatterjee
Their names figure on the list of top 10 models in the country. Jesse Randhawa and Tapur Chatterjee effortlessly carry off the "look" created by leading fashion designers on the catwalk. After another stylish lap at designer Ashish Soni's show, the duo was game for a chat. And for a change, they went beyond their fashion fixation and discussed a range of topics — from fitness and films to discipline and exploitation in their field.
T. KRITHIKA REDDY absorbed the conversation
Jesse: You know Tapur, it's a decade since I entered modelling. There must be something in it for me to stick around. It's great to be on the ramp. To be where the action is. It's nice to wear different outfits and be so deeply involved in style.
Tapur: For me too, it's been quite a journey. I've seen style evolve so beautifully. Now our outlook is global. We are witnessing styles that blend seamlessly on international catwalks. Look at Ashish's clothes. You can wear them casually with jeans or as ensembles.
Jesse: And look at how the ramp world has changed. When I started out, we hardly had any shows. Now, there's a surge, what with the fashion industry looking up. Competition has improved the creative output of designers. Besides, the visibility factor counts. So shows are inevitable. It's for us models to pick and choose...
Tapur: I think it's practical for us to take up one thing at a time. People think modelling is easy — just walking up and down the ramp. They don't realise it's a tough profession. Don't we have to take care of so many things — from skin and fitness to trends and personal-professional discipline? Modelling is a difficult package. You have to stay focussed.
Jesse: And people think models starve themselves to maintain their figure. In reality, we eat right, don't miss much. And we squeeze in some time for workouts. Today, there are so many workout options. You just have to go for something that suits your lifestyle.
Tapur: True Jesse, fitness doesn't mean skipping meals. In fact, one shouldn't miss out on meals — instead eat in moderation. Fitness to me is about making an effort — and investing time... Okay Jesse, how do you manage those expressions on the ramp?
Jesse: When you step onto the ramp, it's not easy facing so many people and bringing out the expression that the designer desires. I learnt to improve my performance gradually. And I guess, experience matters. You have to have a feel for the clothes, the music and the mood to get the right expression.
Tapur: Above all, one must be willing to give one's best. I've come across models who don't pay much attention to detail. For them, it's just another show. Okay, let's talk about Indian models making it internationally. To me, it doesn't make sense to move out of India. I'm well settled here, there's no need for me to uproot myself and knock at the doors of agencies abroad. But young aspirants must try the global ramps. They stand a fair chance.
Jesse: Yes, Indian complexion and hair tones are appreciated abroad. But honestly, I don't see the need for us to go there. It's boom time for our fashion industry. There are so many opportunities. Everyone can be fitted in so well. But for those who are keen, there's Milan or Paris. But watch out, height does matter.
Tapur: I think we must support our own industry and maintain our independence. See what Ashish has done. He has taken India abroad, not followed Western trends. He's making sure his trend works there. What about films? When is yours coming up?
Jesse: For me ramp to films has been an easy transition. I'm at home in the acting department too (smiles). Right now, I'm doing Gulab, a film by Anurag Kashyap. It's based on college politics in Rajasthan. What about you?
Tapur: Never say never. As far as films go, I'm not keeping my options closed. But as I said earlier, I'd like to do one thing at a time. I'm waiting for the best offer. (Hastens to add) If at all.
Jesse: Aren't you a painter?
Tapur: Yes, a commercial painter. Won a national award too. But modelling has gradually taken over my other passions. Now, there simply is no time. What about your interests?
Jesse: I love the outdoors — travelling. That too within the country. I don't skip a beat when it comes to dancing and I'm active in martial arts too.
Tapur: So how did you get that fabulous body? (Laughs merrily) It's looks sculpted (With action).
Jesse: (Smiling timidly) Look who's talking. Hmmm... you've stolen my question. How did you get that amazing face?
Tapur: I can't take much credit for that. (Laughs)
Jesse: Tell me Tapur, don't people get you and your twin sister and model Tupur mixed up?
Tapur: Getting us mixed up is okay. But some people take advantage of our identical looks. There aren't always good people around, you know? But we have learnt to deal with it. But it irks me when people talk to me about exploitation. Isn't it there in every field? Sadly, it's hyped when it comes to showbiz. Exploitation happens only when you give it a chance.
Jesse: True, you get exploited when you want to. So it depends on what you want. Okay Tapur, doesn't travel tire you?
Tapur: No, as long as you maintain discipline and balance things out — physically and mentally. I don't want to get caught in the rat race. I take time off and do some introspection. Even do simple things like sudoku. At some point you have to shut the door to everything else. That renews your interest in the next day's work.
Jesse: Sometimes, so many shows come together. We miss out on sleep and have to make early morning trips to the airport. But the frenetic pace excites me. A regular nine-to-nine jobs are boring. I enjoy it this way. Totally.