Fashion Fashion

How Neel Ranaut’s ramp dream came true

Sarbajit Sarkar or Ranaut Neel as his Instagram followers know him, is on cloud nine. Why wouldn’t he be, he recently walked the ramp for designer duo Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla.

Hailing from Teliamura village in Tripura, Sarbajit firmly believed that social media is the only platform that could land him his dream career. A shy Sarbajit, who struggled to express himself while getting ragged and ridiculed, has indeed come a long way. Ranautneel, as he calls himself —he is a fan of Kangana Ranaut and his pet name is Neel— took a jump from social media to debut on the ramp for the celebrity designer duo Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla at the recent The Blenders Pride Fashion Tour in Delhi.

His IG post that usually shows TikTok videos of ads, dialogues from movies, also has the ‘Who Wore it Better’ series, one that he was determined to carry on with, despite all odds.. Though his father was once not very supportive of his work on social media, his family did congratulate him after the ramp walk, and told him ‘no one in our family has ever stayed in a hotel so grand or met such ‘big’ people.’

How Neel Ranaut’s ramp dream came true

Sarbajit is grateful to Delhi-based influencer Kusha Kapila for introducing Ranuat Neel’s social media handle to the designer duo through social media. “She didn’t have to. But she helped me out. She constantly helps me by motivating me. That is why I call her Kusha-di,” says Sarbajit. Incidentally he has not even met Kusha Kapila to date.

“After Kusha showed my IG page to Sandeep Khosla, I was surprised to see a message from him. I fumbled, I was nervous but with whatever English I know, I managed to speak to him. Sandeep sir asked me if I needed any help and all I could manage was, “Bless me, so that I meet you both (Sandeep-Abu) some day,” recalls Sarbajit.

As he continued doing his ‘Who Wore it Better’ on IG, he received a message asking if he would like to try walking the ramp. “This ‘ma’am’ was from the designer duo’s team; I am unable to recollect the names of so many ‘ma’ms’ I met. I couldn’t believe it. Have you ever heard about a train-hawker’s son from Tripura walking the ramp? Forget thinking about a ramp walk or getting trained to be a model, I cannot even afford to go to the nearest biggest (Kolkata) city by train. I expressed all these concerns to the lady. She said ‘I need not worry about all that,” recollects Sarbajit.

Once at the rehearsals, Sarbajit decided to learn and update himself. The light, the sound, the floor, everything was a new experience. “Add to it the difficulty of walking in heels. I never wore heels, so I couldn't manage to walk. Finally the team gave me a few pairs of heels and asked me to practise my walk. There was no way I would let the opportunity go, so I walked the entire night in my hotel room till I got it right,” he recollects.

Finally when his chance to walk came, Sarbajit, all dressed in a signature Sandeep-Abu Jani sari, made it a moment to remember forever. “I was nervous, but once on stage, it all vanished. I did my walk to a lot of cheer and the moment I was off stage, I could feel my feet pain. I told myself, that’s the feeling of your first work,” he smiles.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 8:17:11 AM |

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