Saree ka Gunijan Khana

Saree ka Gunijan Khana:

The Adda of the Saree Enthusiasts

Saree ka Gunijan Khana, the theoretical and performance aspect of Red Earth’s The Saree Festival hopes to bring together various voices and ideas around the Saree, in a multidisciplinary approach to celebrate the wondrous swirl of the Saree.

The Gunijan Khana, literally the house of learned figures, will weave in talks, discussions, and presentations highlighting varied Saree awakenings, introduced to us by practitioners from diverse practices like art, social sciences, architecture, film, multiple design mediums, and other artistic media.

In addition, the treasure trove will also feature performances by dancers, musicians, writers, poets, and possibly also include work in other artistic media like theatre, visual art, film and performance art. All to sing the glories of our beloved, the Saree!

The 2014 inaugural edition of the Saree ka Gunijan Khana will unfold over two days, Saturday 3 May and Sunday 4 May, 10 am to 1 pm on both days in the auditorium of Alliance Francaise de Delhi.


Saturday 3 May and Sunday 4 May, 2014 // 9.30 am – 1 pm daily

Auditorium, Alliance Francaise De Delhi, 72 Lodhi Estate, New Delhi 110003


Contact / 41671100


Schedule at a Glance:



Saturday 3 May, 2014


9.30 am – 11.30 am: Love Saree: notes from my love affair with the drape

Featuring the country’s leading Saree lovers:

David Abraham (Abraham and Thakore)

Geeta Chandran (leading Bharatnatyam exponent)

Laila Tyabji (Dastkar)

Rajeev Tandon (Ushnak Mal Mool Chand)

Rita Soni (CEO, Nasscom Foundation)

Tritha Sinha (Musician)

Moderated by Himanshu Verma


Let’s get talking about our first love, The Saree. Join the country’s leading figures in design, craft, and the arts world to sing the glory of the Saree. The discussion aims to unravel how these diverse practitioners create or use the wondrous drape in their own special way, bringing in stories of tradition, continuity, change, revival, experimentation, and most importantly – an intimacy with the Saree sakhi in their own individual way. A high note to open the Gunijan Khana!

11.30 am – 11.45 am: Tea break


11.45 am – 12 Noon: Roopvati Padmini

A special Saree story by Noor Zaheer

In Bishnupur lives the Taanti Akram Ali. Known for his exquisite Baluchari saris, he has one loom reserved where he weaves only for Devi Durga. Every year at Durga Puja there is a queue of rich Puja Samitis to acquire a sari for the deity. Akram is fastidious and does not make more than 4 or 5 in a year. But only his close associates and family know that for the last 7 years he has been weaving a special one that he will not ever sell; he will gift it to the Devi himself. Then word spreads and a visiting Sheikh from the gulf offers a huge amount for the incomplete sari. But it would be used to cover his young new wife; turned into an abaya. Akram has never received that kind of money; but this is a gift for Devi and a sari should be worn as a sari, only then can its beauty be appreciated, not cut up into pieces and certainly not to cover and hide the body.

Noor Zaheer is a renowned researcher and writer, writing in Hindi, Urdu and English.

12 Noon – 12.30 pm: Music on the Saree

In collaboration with Art Collide


12.30 pm – 1 pm:The Saree as a visual device in Ravi Varma’s paintings

A talk by Rupika Chawla

The textures and tones of the saris that Ravi Varma painted are known for their great visual appeal, enhancing as they did, the beauty of the subjects. But Ravi Varma had a deeper thought process in action that went beyond the superficial. He dealt with diverse narratives and motivations in order to justify the external appearance of the women he painted.Art historian and curator Rupika Chawla takes us through the Saree devices of the maestro.



Sunday 4 May, 2014


9.30 am – 12 Noon: Film Screening: ‘Gangoobai’

Dir: Priya Krishnaswamy, produced by NFDC, 110 mins, colour

Cast: Sarita Joshi, Purab Kohli, Mita Vashisht, Raj Zutshi


Gangoobai comes from a tiny hill station – Matheran, and is a childless, elderly widow who works as a domestic help till she comes across a Parsi gara saree and then…..

The director will be present for the screening and shall be discussing the film with the designer Ashdeen Lilaowala, who has revived the Gara saree in the contemporary fashion context.

12 Noon-12.30 pm:  The Design of the Sari – Unravelled

A talk by Anisha Shekhar Mukherji

The talk explores the relationship of the sari with regional and national identity, and how it in turn reflects and invests individual identity. Using the sari as a metaphor for Indian design, it looks for the lakshanas (attributes) of such designs, to see if there are any obvious characteristics in form, or external treatment or any intangible features about designs made in India that render them recognizable as Indian. It also seeks to examine the relevance of the historical design attributes of the sari, in the context of our time, as well as in the context of universally and historically valued attributes of design.

Anisha Shekhar Mukherji is a widely published architect, conservation Architect, architectural historian, and independent designer and researcher, based in New Delhi. (

12.30 pm – 1 pm: Bags for The Saree Lady: Work, Play & Celebration

A talk by Aditi Prakash (Pure Ghee)

 A bag is a visible extension of the person to whom it belongs. It signifies their sense of style. In the past women in India would make their own bags for different occasions. Today we have unlimited options to choose from. This interactive session explores how the contemporary Saree wearing woman in India chooses her bags.

Aditi Prakash is a leading product and accessory designer based in New Delhi, and runs her label of accessories Pure Ghee.