Shark Tank contestant: 'Ashneer Grover said no one would wear my clothes but his wife did on Kapil Sharma Show'
Fashion designer Niti Singhal was among the 198 pitchers who got an opportunity to present their business ideas on the inaugural season of Shark Tank India. That was a good thing. The unfortunate part was that she was also one of the few contestants who faced the sharp tongue of shark Ashneer Grover.
Shark Tank India is a show where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of tycoons aka sharks, who offer their investment and guidance in exchange for equity. It aired on Sony Entertainment Television on weekdays at 9pm for over two months. It's first season ended on February 4. BharatPe co-founder Ashneer was one of the 'sharks' on the show. During season 1, he developed a reputation of being too harsh to certain pitchers when he doesn't like their business models.
When Niti presented her business venture Twee In One on the show, Ashneer was at his scathing best, telling her off bluntly. Niti's range of clothes focusses on convertible and reversible clothing. "It's very bad fashion. I don't think anyone will wear this. You should shut this down. Why are you wasting your time," Ashneer told her mid-pitch. "Aap mummy ke saath baith ke lehenge bech loge toh do lakh ka bik jayega (If you sell a lehenga with your mother, it will sell for ₹two lakhs)," he added.
Niti says that having heard criticism for her product over the years has made her thick-skinned, which meant she wasn't rattled by Ashneer's comments. She says, "With the kind of product I have, there has been critical feedback for a long time. I am used to it. Even mentors in the fashion industry said a few harsh things over the years. So I have received criticism, of course not as harsh as Ashneer's. But since I have, it has made me thick-skinned. I believe in my product so I have the confidence to face all criticism. And in the end, any PR is good PR, even if people are talking bad about it."
In fact, Niti said the comments we heard on TV weren't even the worst of the lot as Ashneer's feedback was edited by the channel. "They actually cut his speech half. He actually spoke twice so you can imagine the amount of things I heard. They were sweet enough to edit it out. It went on for a long time. But not like unke bolne se mera business band hoga (It's not as if his comments will shut my business). I was just thinking it's good. TRP badh rahi hai (the TRP is increasing)," she says.
However, the designer does point out an irony. On the show, Ashneer categorically said that Niti's dresses were impractical and nobody in his house would wear them. But in the end, someone did. On the show, Ashneer said, 'Mere ghar me to tumhare kapde koi nahi pehenega' (Nobody in my house will wear your clothes). But the funny thing is that his wife Madhuri was wearing the dress I gifted him on The Kapil Sharma Show. It's kind of funny since he always says, 'Yeh sab dogalapana hai' but I was reminded of that line when I saw it," says Niti with a laugh.
Niti's brand Twee In One even took a cheeky dig at Ashneer and his famous line in a video posted by their official Instagram account. The video shows Ashneer saying nobody in his house would wear Niti's dresses followed by him and his wife's Madhuri's picture from the sets of the Kapil Sharma Show. “We love how @madsj30 look beautiful in our Twee dress at @tksshowofficial ! Thank you Madhuri, for believing in our work,” the caption with the video read.
But despite the TRP barb, Niti maintains that the show is unscripted and completely real. The process began for Niti in May-June 2021 with an application through the Sony Liv app. "I always wanted to go to Shark Tank US but you have to be an American citizen for that so that out of reach for me. Then, this happened," she says. After several rounds of applications, document-vetting, and interviews, Niti finally went on to the sets to pitch her brand to the sharks in December. "It's completely unscripted. You aren't allowed to meet the sharks before or after your pitch. So whatever you see there is genuine."