Special Correspondent (Chennai): Radhe Jaggi: Women who wear saris do not trade strength for feminity. For dancer Radhe Jaggi, the Margazhi festival was all about using Instagram to showcase how the handwoven drape can signify both strength and femininity
Social media posts from Chennai in winter are often teeming with music, dance, sabha canteen and silk sari references.
Radhe Jaggi’s Instagram Stories were no different, sparkling with an assortment of handloom saris from across India. The dancer-choreographer’s month-long ‘sari soiree’ that began in December was not merely a curatorial statement but reinforced the comfort and conviction with which this 29-year-old drapes her many saris.
“Irrespective of its form and origin, the sari makes you feel feminine; it is possible to be strong and feminine at the same time” — Radhe Jaggi
Radhe’s relationship with the classic drape began when she was a teenager. “When my mother passed away, my father, Sadhguru (spiritual guru, Jaggi Vasudev), handed me her saris. Even though she wasn’t a big wearer of the sari – my parents spent most of their married life traveling the country on a bike – that collection became a collectible, with its whiff of memories.”
“‘The fabric should flow,’ she’d say, ‘it must have a life of its own.’ That idea has somehow stayed with me.” She also credits Chennai-based arts, sculpture and textile connoisseur, Shantha Guhan as one of her biggest inspirations. “I love that she’s almost always dressed in a sari; her kinds of cotton are as gorgeous as her kanjeevarams. And she will accessorize every sari with something so simple and elegant.”
As expected, every sari told a story, from a kanjeevaram her mother-in-law gave her to a stunning Mysore silk sari that belonged to her aunt. An Ahimsa Iri silk sari shared space with a kalamkari creation that was sourced from a small village in Andhra Pradesh. And the blue linen jamdani that received many ‘likes’ was unearthed “at an absolutely strange exhibition on my way to the Delhi airport”. This year will see more saris from her.