Anna Hazare caused quite a stir at Lakme Fashion Week... or at least his namesake ‘topis’ (caps) did. When the models and designers turned up for fashion week, little did they expect to receive a crash course in political activisation from one of their own.
Viren Shah, owner of popular ethnic wear stores Roopam and Roopmilan, brought in a bagful of Nehru caps that bore the words, ‘I am Anna Hazare’ written in Marathi. He proceeded to distribute them to anyone who’d ask. “The models were taking a break in between shows, when a guy turned up wearing an Anna hat and started passing out more. We saw photographers gather, so we went to take a look,” says Divyak D’souza, fashion stylist. “The models weren’t too happy because they only get a few minutes break, and the man was asking them to pose for photos.”
The drama continued inside the main show area, where Shah began to pass out the topis to audience members, asking people to wear them during the show. An insider from IMG-R, the event management company, found out Shah was planning to jump on the ramp amidst a show, and plant a topi on a model’s head. But he didn’t create any scene.
Ask Shah what his gimmick was about and he says, “We’ve been supporting Anna Hazare since day one. We even have a banner outside our Crawford Market store, overlooking the police commissioner’s office. I wanted to use Lakme Fashion Week as a platform.” Anjana Sharma, head of fashion, IMG-R, says, “We have no issues with anybody expressing themselves as long as it doesn’t offend sensibilities. We wouldn’t have allowed anything to disrupt a show, and Shah didn’t do that. I’m told that Vidya Balan and Sridevi, who were present for Sabyasachi’s show, also supported the cause.”