Reinventing ramp shows

ACHALA SACHDEV `I'd rather be a pretty fish in a small pond'

ACHALA SACHDEV `I'd rather be a pretty fish in a small pond'  

Meet Achala Sachdev, the woman behind many innovative fashion shows

She can marry off Deepika Padukone to Aryan Vaid, making them take the saat pheras on stage. That's what makes Achala Sachdev, one of the country's leading fashion choreographers, different. "I am always doing something new and exciting," says Achala. "It's not just walk, walk, walk."

A choreographer is like a director. "Subhash Ghai, Raj Kumar Santoshi and Ram Gopal Varma are all great, but it's what they get out of their actors and team that makes them different from one another," says Achala.

Having been a successful model herself has been an advantage, says Achala. "I am like a mother hen, making sure my models are well looked after. But I am also a super strict disciplinarian." According to Achala, Hemant Trivedi, whom she trained under, is really proud of her. "There is me and there is Marc Robinson. Between us we've pretty much got everybody, " she says describing how the pie is shared among choreographers. Yet, Achala assures you, there is no show that doesn't have problems. "Earlier I would scream and shout, now I have learnt to smile through it."

And who are her favourite models? "Nina Manuel and Jesse among the girls. Among the men, well... hmm... Milind and Arjun! What can I say, they were a league apart!"

So were the girls of their time. Maybe it was the novelty of fashion shows, the era of supermodels, media hype or just them, but they enjoyed a certain kind of stardom that seems to have faded today. "Madhu, Meher, Nina... weren't' perfect but they were wholesome. It was okay to have some cheeks, to have bigger lips," she says.

With a few forgettable cameos behind her, she's not interested in Bollywood, "where the big shark eat up the small fish." Having been a VJ already, it's the small screen that she's keen on making a foray into. "I'd rather be in a small pond, but be seen as the prettiest fish — the peacock coloured one," she says.

Achala is also into writing and hopes to be out with a book someday. But if you are expecting the memoirs of a pretty girl in the sleazy world of modelling, forget it. "If there was scandal I would happily talk about it", she laughs. "But I am not Shah Rukh Khan, my life is not interesting enough."


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