Crown prince of cool
Think creative, think catchy is Prasad Bidapa's motto. An interview with the country's most sought-after showman, who was in the city recently.
Guru of grooming Prasad Bidapa with ace models.
The team of stylists, technicians and publicists is pacing about frenetically. The fashion show to launch Billionaire Boys Club, a nightwear brand for men, is scheduled to start in a few minutes. But in his suite in the swanky Park Sheraton Towers, Prasad Bidapa, who is scalding red hot in showville is a picture of cool.
That he has got style bred in his bones is evident in his refined denim, deep baritone and polite demeanour. And it's time for haute talk with the country's self-styled fashion guru. For someone who hop scotched from the lush plantations of Coorg and came to Bangalore, totally clueless about his career, Bidapa's success story has all the trappings of a feel-good film.
"I started at a time when the fashion scene was hardly happening even in the metros. Looking back, today I am truly proud to have been part of the changes that have swept by," he says.
Reminiscing, he goes on... ``Steeped in old-world virtues, my parents used to tell me, `If you want money, go and earn for yourself.' That was the spur, and I started by doing clothes shows for colleges. At that time, Rs. 300 per show was big money." And life steamrolled ahead... After a brief stint in the world of advertisement and several fashion-oriented events, Bidapa's romance with the ramp gained momentum. A blizzard of offers and a seamless exposure came his way and he styled a radically refined look be it for catwalks or print commercials. Today, his portfolio includes big names such as United Breweries, De Beers Pringle of Scotland, Levi Strauss, Evian Water, Titan and Tencel Fibers.
A bubbling cauldron of creative ideas, his Bangalore-based Image Consultancy and The Design and Print Group has groomed and launched some of the country's best faces (phone 5586288, Bangalore, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.) "There is plenty of talent here. And it is nice to see a lot of youngsters taking to modelling as a serious career. We are here to polish their poise and refine their skills," says the model-maker with confidence.
"The point is that star system sets in once you use the same models repeatedly. That's why I am constantly on a hunt for interesting faces. We put aspirants through various grooming sessions. And now, we even train them for a career in films."
When asked about his contribution towards promoting Indian models abroad, Bidapa elaborates, "Our model division coordinates shows and model bookings overseas. Associates in Paris, London, Milan, San Francisco and Singapore use our services. This puts us in a significant position. Nevertheless, concepts of beauty differ. The much raved about fair and lovely types are not the ones sought after in the West. When it comes to models from here, they prefer the dark, tall, curly haired beauties. Another important factor is that in Western countries, you have full-fledged models at 18. Here, one's career would have hardly taken off at that point."
Bidapa, who is constantly scouting for models, doesn't even spare remote corners of the South. "As I drive through the streets of Chennai, Kancheepuram or North Arcot, I know there is someone out there who deserves a break. I have no qualms about grooming girls hailing even from rural backgrounds. We have to make a difference... "
Incidentally, Bidapa, who calls Chennai his "second home" says, "I've always been drawn to the city for its cultural affluence. And the good thing about the place is the way a rich past and a vibrant present are balanced out."
Show after show, Bidapa succeeds in springing surprises on the ramp. How is he able to sustain... "Well... conception is a creative challenge. Right from the lighting, props, music and choreography to the theme, everything is researched. Sometimes, even small details could make a big difference. For instance, the ramp for the Billionaire Boys Club launch was designed in a zigzag fashion. That itself added drama to the setting. I have a very efficient team to coordinate and execute the designs and the shows."
For someone married to showbiz, Bidapa is "firmly grounded in reality at the end of the day." While in Bangalore, it's destination home after 6.00 p.m. "I make no compromises on spending time with my children," says the true papa, who is right now worried about his son's board exams and daughter's horse riding sessions. Bidapa, who has written a model cook book, will soon pen a "fun book" on the ways of showbiz. Despite having specialised in textile design at Ahmedabad, the ace showman is not too keen on "commercialising his skill." Nevertheless, he loves experimenting with organic fabrics and reaching out to deserving welfare organisations by putting up shows for them.
"Think creative, think catchy" has been Bidapa's driving motto. Surfing his fourth decade with trademark charm, he agrees that it's fashion and beauty's boom time in the country. "They will become major decisive factors in the years to come... "
So the party is on, and he is living it up. In Bidapa style!
T. Krithika Reddy
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