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ISSUE 25 JULY 2012

Arnab Chaudhuri 34 Photographed by Ashima Chaudhuri

ANIL 04 / BALA 08 / INDRANI 10 / INDIA DESIGN COUNCIL 14 / CAGRI 17 / ARPIT 18 / AJAY 24 / NINA 44 / RESHIDEV 48 / RITIKA 56 / Shristi 60

Editor in Chief |

July 2012 | # 25

Sudhir with POOL Digital Team; Manish, Aboli & Sayali

Be No. 1 It depends on which way you look at it. Being No. 1 could mean to be extremely competitive and win a race; it could also mean to be unique, to be someone who finds his own way. Invariably this kind of success will have followers too. Designers, artists, innovators, design engineers and creative people in general are driven by choices that are offbeat and unique. We find challenges extremely seductive, and they become irresistible if they have not been met before. Some of us are able to set a process in place to look for and meet such challenges. The more often you do this, the more it becomes second nature to look for aspects in everything that will make you No. 1.

Designindia was founded in 2002. It was started as a platform for interaction for the design community in India and abroad. Over the years it has grown into a forum spread over many social and professional networking domains, linking design professionals into an active, interactive and thought leading community. International Design Media Network Participant

You need to have your eyes open all the time; you need to be looking, scoping and analyzing anything that comes your way. You also need to be aware of the viability and feasibility of a unique idea, and aware of the resources that will make that idea possible. Remember, it need not be a giant step - sometimes even a small step ahead can make something No. 1. Just a unique way of presenting an idea is not enough to make it unique. Indian Design at the moment is taking many small steps and moving ahead. Pool hopes to celebrate those small steps in its own way, and bring them to the notice of the world. It needs faith and a lot of hard work to be No. 1, and we know we can do it. We just need to set our direction and put our blinkers on. Sudhir Sharma

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bright future oF indian design

Re-Shine Design I have been associated with the design discipline for the last 35 years. In fact, it was in 1976 that I joined the field, first as a learner and then as a practitioner (though I would still like to call myself a learner). All through these three and a half decades I have always found one common statement that has not changed about design - people then and even now proclaim that design is a new discipline; that it is in its nascent or infant stage. How can something remain an infant for 35 years? People even claim that design is difficult to understand; in fact even designers feel that it cannot be defined.

Prof. Anil Sinha Principal Designer at Faculty of Communication Design at National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, India 4  POOL #25

I feel that design is not something alien to us. In fact it is so deeply embedded in and around us, in our culture, in our life, that design, to me, is a way of life. It is what connects and relates things. Design is about making connections and building relationships. It is so ubiquitous

that we did not, and do not need to even have a separate word for it. And in this very rootedness lies the future of design. I have seen that earlier people did make choices, rejecting or selecting a product, service or situation, but then they were not aware of the reasons for making a particular preference. Today, I see that most people are able to pick and choose or reject a product, service or situation not based on ignorance but on a very robust analysis and awareness of the visual form, function, color, comfort, and the connections and interrelationships. The so called design terms like form, space, function, visual, color, balance, rhythm, harmony, symmetry, etc. now can be seen used in everyday language. Design today is becoming more conscious as compared to the tacitness of yore. In the past the selection and rejection was done intuitively but today that intuition has got words that are used to explain why they are choosing or rejecting anything. Design has risen from being of ornamental value to being a necessity. Form, space, rhythm, and balance are no longer dissociated but come together in specific connections and relationships, making our life experientially richer and more pleasurable. The modern day global shrinking has led to things also crossing borders and losing exclusivity, creating competition and a need to be seen. It is in this scenario that design has had to emerge from its implicitness and its power is being noticed by one and all, locally and globally. The mounting emergence of design from its cultural deep rootedness and the increasing population have together

made India suddenly materialize into a large and lucrative market. All are eying a bit of the pie, increasing the competition and furthering the ascension of design. Foreigners wanting their share of the pie need to have a fairly good understanding of this market and people’s tastes. Culturally India has had so much variety and variegatedness that this has enriched the tastes of the people, and to be able to cater to them successfully implies being able to be accepted anywhere in the world. Hence the whole world is eying or has already converged into India. For example, Indian textures, colors, and forms have suddenly become invaluable; Bollywood, which was laughed at, is being replicated by those very same people. This sudden India centric convergence will only raise competition and hence make the need for design and designers all that much more imperative. The sun of design is rising. The culturally embedded spirit of design in Indians has allowed them to better adapt to the new requirements that have made the processes more important than only the outcomes, thus spring boarding design and designers to the next level; this will certainly make their future bright. To elaborate the above, let me give you a recent example. I had the opportunity to work on the identity for Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur (IIMU). The very first meeting with the director, Prof. Janat Saha, in Udaipur gave me the very clear understanding that I had a good client who was not just looking for an identity but trying to position IIMU as one of the leading IIMs in  5

bright future oF indian design the country. I had taken two routes to create an identity for IIMU - one was the functional aspect of IIMU, and the other was based on the geographic location of IIMU. Udaipur is situated in the Aravalli hills, and IIMU is surrounded by many hills that actually stagger and give depth in the transparency. This is evident in figure 1.

IIMU IIMU Figure 1

The concept in figure 1 is representative of the geographical location; the two vertical strokes of ‘I’ ‘I’ on which ‘M’ is made up of hills, and the transparency, are shown. The color also has been taken from the surroundings.

Figure 2

and research. The journey of this IIMU symbol starts with a perfect square which stands for perfection, balance, well defined, and stability, and opening into a well balanced and multifaceted personality. As an institute of excellence IIMU opens up the square creatively from all four sides and allows the overlap to bring out transparency, dynamism and added dimensions.

The functional aspect highlights what we have all experienced about IIMs - that they are well defined, well Two colors – green and yellow – in established and balanced organizations. particular are being chosen to highlight This aspect was taken further to create harmony, and local flavor through an identity for IIMU. This is brought out IIMU partnership. Overall, the identity in figure 2. projects a glowing center with dynamic arms which fit in with the identity The concept in figure 2 is developed in into root two proportion systems. The a symbolic way to represent that IIMs identity will be always used with the are known as benchmarks in education development process in a linear format. 6  POOL #25

bright future of indian design During the presentation this functional aspect was well understood by the IIMU authorities and they agreed to show the process by which the final identity emerged. So, figure 2 along with the process is the identity of IIMU today. Not only this, they have also asked us to take the visual language forward and create the memento for them, as shown in figure 3.

Figure 3

one of them to present the memento to another to get a feel of how it will look when presented to recipients. Through this they were actually trying to make the above mentioned implicit understanding of design experience explicit. This very process of selection has given a very clear understanding that the future of design and designers in India is indeed very bright.

I presented three variations of the trophy and they liked all three concepts. However, to make the final decision they gathered all their colleagues and asked  7

bright future oF indian design

Students as Change agents It all happened in the course of the same week. I was recently invited to address a group of young design aspirants and anxious parents on the merits of choosing a career in design. There are so many exploring design as a serious career that it felt good. Not all of them associated design with glamor. A lot of the hopeful candidates were quite aware about institutes and courses and were quite articulate as well in their queries.

A Balasubramaniam Founder, January Design Academic Director at FORDEE INSTITUTE OF DESIGN, New Delhi, India 8  POOL #25

The same week, I had a concluding meeting with two bright girls who are doing a post-graduate course in Industrial Design from SPA. I was mentoring them for a project in craft design and they had come to show me the results of a long assignment. They had traveled to craft clusters in North Indian villages on their own, dealt with

If this is the future of design students, then it is a very positive future for design as well. There is hope for a better, sensitive, sustainable world that this new generation will herald. They are equally eager to learn as well as teach. They are savvy with technology but have developed a respect for old school methods. They are strong in their agenda to bring about a refreshing new thinking that is both grounded and creative.

Photograph by Jasinth Manayath Vadakkayil

artisans, spread the cause of design, and had developed a series of product prototypes to demonstrate new and delightful designs for craft products for urban use. Candidates or students, they are now an aware lot. Not the shy, unsure kind that was the hallmark of my generation. They are the new, in-your-face kind of change agents. They respect your thoughts but deal with nostalgia with the disdain it deserves. And they are not afraid of hard work, either. This was confirmed in a visit to a small college in Indore that runs short-term design courses in fashion, graphics and web design. All the students were from Indore and other small towns around it. With stars in their eyes, they hung on to every word I said and were convinced that to become a good designer, effort is as important as creativity. They were all quite clear about their choice of career and were happy doing what they did. They were the new face of emerging India.

This was reinforced by another assignment I did. I was asked to evaluate a series of student portfolios for a client who was offering projects as internships to students of design. Student projects have moved on from designing nail-clippers to extension aids for making the disabled comfortable, products for public use that help sustain the environment, apps developed specifically for the elderly, and medical products that save lives. What a delight! This is so similar to the 1970s, when designers came out of NID ready to change the world. In an apparent reference to dreamyeyed designers, KishoreBiyani, the czar of retail, once commented in a design conference, “Eighty percent of the design graduates want to get out and change the world…” It seems like this number is growing and swelling. Aware design students have the unique capacity to influence thought and behavior. They are also uniquely positioned to build the constituency for design awareness. The design constituency is growing real fast, thanks to these new generation change agents; it can soon become a beacon of hope for a resurgent India.  9

bright future oF indian design

Towards a Paradigm Shift in Design Foundation This research-in-progress is an attempt to establish the need for a paradigm shift in design education. The research also investigates aspects that need to be rooted and nurtured in the foundations of design education appropriate in 21st century India. Design Fundamentals, or ‘Basic Design’ as it was referred to in early design education, has come a long way since its origins at Bauhaus and its further evolution at Ulm and Basel.

Indrani De Parker
 PhD Scholar
Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India 10  POOL #25

In its nascent period, design, which primarily involved industrial design, was focused on physical products including textiles and graphics. Today, however, to be relevant to contemporary society, designers need to work on complex issues that are interdisciplinary and much broader in scope. 21st century design education needs to be able to apply design and develop strategies to solve real issues

and not just look at ‘good form’. There is also a visible shift from client-driven projects towards a more reflective ‘issue-based’ design education that strives for more socially inclusive, locally/glocally/globally relevant solutions: a move from ‘human-centric design’ to ‘life-centric design’. There are as yet no design solutions available that can address the unique

towards solutions. It is becoming very important in design education to include political, social, economic and ecological discourses in a collaborative, inter/ multidisciplinary way, thus enabling a conceptual understanding of issues at stake as well as ‘intangibles’ like values, social responsibilities, empathy, humility and local/global relevance. Then, perhaps, design can participate actively in nation building.

problems of the Indian people such as healthcare, rural and urban sanitation, quality education at the primary and secondary levels, transportation, rural housing, agricultural support, safe water and many other sectors of the Indian economy. These areas offer potential for design to make a contribution. These will have to be addressed locally and design thinking and practice can contribute to identifying problems and working

Design today is complex and large scale, and design education needs to address major issues. Design education needs to change, yet still retain its essential character. It needs to encourage interdisciplinary thinking in students so they better understand human beings and their needs, understand the economics underpinning issues and the technological requirements of solving problems.  11






india design council


The India Design Mark, a design standard which recognizes good design, has been granted to products from 31 companies from industries ranging from automobile manufacturing to furniture and white goods. The India Design Mark is granted by India Design Council, an autonomous body under Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Government of India.

The India Design Council recently announced recipients of the highest design recognition from the Indian Government 14  POOL #25

Launched in January this year in cooperation with Good Design Award, Japan, India Design Mark symbolizes excellence in form, function, quality, safety, sustainability and innovation. It also communicates that the product is usable, durable, aesthetically appealing and socially responsible. The aim of the India Design Mark is to provide a unique distinction to Indian products in domestic as well as global markets as products that are ‘designed in India for the world’. Consumers who buy a product with the India Design Mark can be assured of design excellence and quality. The India Design Mark can be used in a wide range of ways, such as

india design council

India Design Mark-IInd Stage assessment and the Exhibition held on 3rd & 4th of May, 2012

advertisements, catalogues, product packaging, and other promotional mediums. Seventy-one applications were received from companies in categories ranging from Consumer Durables, FMCG, Machines and Tools to Transportation, Communication Equipment, Lifestyle, Art and Culture, and Medical Devices. Twenty senior designers from across the country acted as the jury for the Stage 1 qualifying assessment, short listing 60 applications. In Stage 2, a jury of nine professionals selected the final 31 entries that qualified for the India Design Mark. They followed a well laid out process of selection, looking at aesthetics, user-potential, innovation and social responsibility. Among the products that were granted the India Design Mark are Tata Purifier (Tata Chemicals Ltd.); Wagon R and Swift (Maruti Suzuki India Limited); Borewell Submersible Pumps (Crompton Greaves Ltd.); Ace Chair (Godrej Interiors); Mega Banker (Forbes Technosys Ltd); and Ultra Choice Mixer Grinder (Elgo Ultra Industries Ltd).  15


* valid for subscribers in India only Existing subscribers in India can also avail the offer to extend their subscription

designer on the road

Hello to all readers after a little break! I was back at home in Turkey, where I made a small pit stop for health reasons - I was poisoned in Vietnam. Here I am on the road again and it’s good be on the go. My second route started from Ukraine - Kiev. I worked with an independent game development company on their first project. It’s a first person adventure game called ‘Cradle’. I started with doing the skin texture for one of the main characters named Ida, and then I made some spider web textures to use in the levels and increase reality. Finally I did 10 logos for the levels of the game.

‘Cradle’ Logos

Cagri Cankaya, our Designer on the Road, is on the move again, reporting from Kiev this time

It was great fun to work in a game development company because I am a huge game freak. I have been playing computer and console games since I was five years old. I tend to become a character in the game! Another good side of working on games instead of advertising is you can do things they way you and your team want. No design killer clients, no stupid revisions! I have lots of good memories of Kiev. I stayed with my friend, Ilya Tolmachev. We had met before when I visited Ukraine for the first time in 2006 and he came to Turkey to see me too. Olha, Katya, Sasha and several others helped me a lot and showed me many places around the city. Kiev is a beautiful city, easy to live in. It’s not so traffic jams, no pollution, no parking problems, and the prices are good. You can get any kind of vodka there and the girls are beautiful...what more can you want?  17


What is the story behind NEst? AA: NEst is a brand of notebooks/ journals, lifestyle products, etc. inspired by the symbols, culture and crafts of the picturesque and unexplored paradise of North Eastern India, which includes eight states, each vividly different from one other. The brand’s effort is to capture and explore the immense rich heritage of the North East - its diverse wildlife, flora, fauna and its colorful people.

Arpit Agarwal celebrates the culture and crafts of North Eastern India though NEst, his brand of strikingly attractive lifestyle products NEstbyArpitAgarwal 18  POOL #25

Why the North East? AA: As a common perception, the North East is all about terrorism, insurgencies and ruthlessness, even though people talk about its natural beauty and landscapes. The normal assumption is that the North East is a paradise on earth, but very few actually have the courage to come to this part of the world to experience it on their own. My effort is to use the local resources wherever possible, the cultural symbols of the NE, its diverse fauna and flora, and take the area to India and rest of the world. The best feedback I have got so far is, “We never thought the North East was so beautiful!” I am trying to make people learn about the little known essence of the region through my creations. What are the different kinds of products you create? AA: Presently I am creating notebooks/ journals/ coffee mugs based on various popular symbols of the North East. I am


(Left to Right) 1. Coffee Mugs inspired from Assam 2. Notebooks from BIHU Collection, made from Assam Silk

starting with Assam and Nagaland, and will steadily work on all the eight states. Through the Bihu collection of notebooks, the effort is to use the rich and diverse weaves of Assam. The majestic textiles of Assam include muga silk, tuss silk, pat silk, gamocha and a lot more, which are an exquisite mix of traditional motifs and colors. These hand bound notebooks are covered with assorted textiles which are mostly made from valuable scrap fabrics combined with different silks. Embroidery enriches the look and the handmade paper inside gives a complete handcrafted feel to it. Almost all the notebooks are unique as the cover design depends on the availability of the scrap. Are you in some ways reviving lost art forms? AA: I am currently working with NID MSME and IIE (Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship), Guwahati on a design project that aims at reviving the rich jewelry tradition of Assam, which has fallen back due to lack of design interventions, technological inputs, and exposure to newer markets. This has restricted the growth of artisans creating these masterpieces. The notebooks/ journals/ coffee mugs I create use graphic elements that are inspired by art forms/ culture of the North East. I hope this will be able to revive some of the lost art forms of these states and also create interest among people to learn more about the region.  19


Arpit at a jewelry workshop in Imphal, Manipur

What materials do you prefer to use? AA: My effort is to use locally available resources wherever possible to create handcrafted/ lifestyle products for everyone. The resources in this region are immense and have not been tapped properly. The idea is to use these resources/ symbols/ cultural motifs in a meaningful way to create various products that should be able to bring out the essence of this land locked region. I have no favorites but have largely worked with cane and bamboo so far. Do you work with local artisans? AA: Working with artisans is not easy, especially in this region, where people are minimally exposed to newer stuff. Most of them have been working in their self created world, creating products they have been doing for generations without really knowing the market requirements. This has led to a restrictive audience and a slow death of the crafts/ skill sets of artisans; in fact it’s a common phenomenon with most of the crafts in India. It’s important as a designer not to impose our ideas on the artisans; they often find this very intimidating. Instead, acting like a facilitator will help enhance their skill sets and thus utilize their expertise to the full potential.

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(Left to Right) 1. Notebook inspired by Bhupen Hazarika with the lyrics of one of his most famous songs ‘Dil Hoom Hoom Kare’, on the cover 2. Notebook inspired by Traditional Masks of Assam

How important is it to understand the culture and history behind a craft? AA: It’s extremely important to understand the reason behind the existence of a craft, its culture, significance and present scenario. This acts as a great platform to improvise on the craft and create new products without really losing the essence/ originality of the art form. How do you market your products? AA: My main target market comprises anyone who appreciates art forms/ crafts, and the values and significance of their existence. It could be any age group and anyone under the sun! Currently, I have been using the online and retail formats to promote NEst products. The online format has been one of the strongest, as it reaches a very large audience in India and abroad at a very low cost. The online site has helped me reach an audience in USA. I network through Facebook and by word of mouth. Exhibitions are great as they retain the personal touch (not really possible online), but I have not been participating in  21

craft (Clock-wise) 1. Notebook inspired by Traditional Masks of Assam 2. Notebooks made of the Gamocha fabric from BIHU Collection 3. Coffe Mug inspired by popular symbols - BIHU 4. Notebooks inspired by popular symbols of North-east

them as they are financially unfeasible at this moment. I am also currently retailing notebooks through a store in London and a few multi brand retail outlets in India. What is the scope of folk art in a technically advancing world? AA: In this world where everything seems to look the same, from retail showrooms to mobile phones to almost everything else, folk art will play a vital role in distinguishing one from the other. I think there’s a bright future ahead. It seems like everyone is working towards revival of the art forms/ folk art in India. I feel it’s very important, as it forms the very essence of a country/ region and gives an identity to the place. A lot of foreign nationals are showing a great interest in India’s craft heritage. Indian craft has a plethora of inspiration for all of us. Also, the application of folk art is not restricted; people are being their innovative best in applying these art forms in various fields. What is your understanding of the term ‘innovation’ with respect to craft? AA: Craft should involve innovation in the fields of new product development and application areas. Technological innovation should be just enough; it should not to kill the skill sets of artisans developed over generations, which once lost can never be revived. So a careful way of innovation is of utmost importance. Tell us a little about yourself. AA: An independent design professional, I am a Marwari who has been born and brought up in Dibrugarh, Assam, but now live in Guwahati. I did a Post Graduate Diploma, majoring in Lifestyle Accessory Design, at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. What’s next for NEst? AA: I don’t really know. Presently I am looking to further develop NEst as a brand and steadily keep innovating and adding new dimensions to it. I want to promote North Eastern India and its existing crafts and cultures through my creations. This is just the beginning – I have a long, long way to go. If I have to imagine a dream project, it would be to create something that can lead to a design revolution.

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“It seems like everyone is working towards revival of the art forms/folk art in India. I feel it’s very important, as it forms the very essence of a country/region and gives an identity to the place.”  23



Managing Director of a Cochin-based design firm-Papaya Media, Ajay Menon uses his camera to better understand the world around him ajaymenonphotography 24  POOL #25

What drew you to photography? AM: I have a degree in computer application from St. Albert’s in Cochin. Becoming a photographer was never a conscious decision. I have to admit that I’m not a guy who thinks very far into the future to make plans. Like most things in my life, photography too happened to me. I was fortunate enough to have been intrigued by this art’s capability to freeze moments into frames that are different from the way our eyes can see. It was my grandmother who really taught me to observe the world around to see the magic that each moment can offer us. She led me to understand


‘King of Dance’ Swami Malai, Tamil Nadu Camera-Canon 7 D Lens-Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro  25


‘Net Profit’ Backwater fishing, near Kadamakudi, Cochin, Kerala Camera-Canon 7 D Lens-Sigma 10-20

the connection that we have with nature and that we are an integral part of it, without which it is not complete. My camera helped me to understand this relationship better and since then there has been no turning back. Tell us something about ‘Papaya Media’. AM: Papaya Media is a design firm that I founded in 2005 along with a few friends. Papaya is mainly into creating branding solutions and online and print designs. There is no specific reason behind the name; however, the fact that papaya is a very common tropical fruit in Kerala did influence our decision while naming the firm. Moreover the name ‘Papaya’ seemed to have an approachable character. Which camera do you use? AM: I’m using a Canon 7D and 5D Mark II. I have always been a Canon user. I always have the Canon 50MM 1.4 lens with me – it gives exceptional results for portraits and low light shooting.

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“I believe that it is only when you are doing things that you love that you get results that match your expectations. It is highly important that you love what you do and I keep that as a priority for all the work I do.”

(Top to bottom) ‘Elements’ Pushkar festival, Rajasthan Camera-Canon 7 D Lens-Sigma 10-20

‘Loud and Clear’ Photo session done for FWD magazine with film director Aashiq Abu & crew Camera-Canon 5 D Mark II Lens- Canon 16-35  27


‘The Golden Moment’ Behind the scenes picture during a nature resort photoshoot Camera-Canon 7 D Lens-Tamorn 90mm

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What is your personal choice of subject? AM: My personal choice would always be people. I believe that it is only when you are doing things that you love that you get results that match your expectations. It is highly important that you love what you do and I keep that as a priority for all the work I do. I very clearly know that if I’m not fully involved in what I do it will show in the output and I seldom take that risk. I only photograph things and people that I love to click. I have taken the majority of my pictures on my travels. I choose a location and then travel to that place. I try to capture interesting things on my way and when I return I have snaps that represent the place I visited and the journey.


How do you make your subjects feel comfortable during a photo session? AM: It is indeed a challenging task to be able to make the subjects comfortable. If the subjects are conscious that will show in the picture and it will not tell a story. What I do is to try and get the snap as quickly as I can and without a commotion. The idea is to blend into the environment and not stand out. If possible I’d prefer it if the subject does not really know that he or she is being clicked. Generally, how long does it take you to find the ‘right picture’? AM: Digital photography has changed the way people click pictures. The ability to click as many snaps as you want and to be able to check how they have all turned out helps you get the best out of the lot. I have not consciously monitored how many I take to get to the ‘right one’ as I guess it varies. I usually end up clicking two or three pictures of a subject before getting the one that I want. What goes through your head right before you click a picture? AM: Identifying an opportunity for a good picture is where I think the skill levels of photographers differ. Most of my pictures are not pre-planned and hence picking up a subject, recognizing the possibility of that image, and the act of clicking that picture all happens simultaneously for me. These things would be running through my mind right before I click. Do you use computer manipulation to make the perfect picture? AM: With the technological advances in the visual media spectrum the possibilities are limitless. I believe that a picture taken under perfect conditions has the scope to be digitally enhanced to create an image that evokes various emotions. What is most challenging part of being a photographer? AM: I think it is to be able to be in the right place at the right time and get the right lighting. Photography is both a natural skill and one that can be learnt. Having said that, I should add  29

photography that not everyone can become a good photographer. There are things that can be learnt but a natural ability to find frames that tell stories does play a big role in defining a photographer. What is the most exciting project you have worked on so far? AM: That would be ‘Celebrate Keralam’ - a platform where all art forms get together as a part of Kerala’s cultural exchange program. Here I had the chance to work with great talents from different fields of creativity. My dream is to be a part of National Geographic projects. Has photography helped you evolve as a human being? AM: Photography has changed the way I look at the world and the things in it. The realization that what we humans see is just one way of interpreting the world around us and that there are a million other ways has really helped me to try and understand my human existence better. What would you advise young photographers? AM: It’s about being original. Find out what your style is and stick to it till you feel you need to change and then evolve into something else. Keep this cycle and you’ll be amazed by the results you get. Never stop experimenting!

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photography ‘Over the Hills and Faraway’ A village in one of the valleys in Munnar on a sunny day Camera-Canon 7 D Lens-Sigma 10-20

(Left to Right) ‘Elements’ Pushkar festival, Rajasthan Camera- Canon 7 D Lens- Sigma 10-20 ‘Smoke & Sand’ During Pushkar festival, Rajasthan Camera- Canon 7 D Lens- Sigma 10-20 ‘We Are All One’ Music video ‘Ayyo’, band Avial Camera- Canon 5D Mark 2 Lens- Canon 15mm fish-eye  31

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Sketch by Arnab Chaudhuri 34  POOL #25

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Photographed by biswajeet hajra

Arnab Chaudhuri’s recently released animated feature film ‘Arjun: The Warrior Prince’ takes a closer look at one of the Mahabharata’s most popular characters. Produced by UTV Motion Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures, the mythological action film opened to good reviews, appealing as much to adults as children. The director relives the making of the film for POOL.

When did the journey that took you to Arjun start? AC: It was late 2005/2006. I was working with Cartoon Network in Hong Kong when the call came. It was an old colleague from my Channel [v] days who was now with UTV. He proposed the project - an animated feature on Arjun, and having worked with animation for so long, I just figured it would be rude to say no. Negotiations took a while, but I began in January 2007, having moved to Mumbai to do it. I always knew we could do it! How did you assemble the team? AC: I figured I knew the best people in the business, in terms of ability and experience, so I went about connecting  35

cover story

“KK Muralidharan and Rachna Rastogi had established and redefined the term ‘production design’ across the commercial world and lifted the discipline into being a core factor in any major project across cinema and TV.”

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cover story

Film Still - ‘Indraprasth’

with all the legends I knew from my NID days and beyond. Rajesh Devraj (Devi) had created Quickgun Murugan and was a key member of the early Channel [v] rebel squad that pretty much redefined how television was made in this country. Pavan Buragohain was legendary for his incredible skill and ability to accomplish almost anything he set his mind to apart from having a drawing hand to rival the renaissance masters, he hand-makes electric guitars! KK Muralidharan and Rachna Rastogi had established and redefined the term ‘production design’ across the commercial world and lifted the discipline into being a core factor in any major project across cinema and TV. Hemant Chaturvedi had been cinematographer to Vishal Bhardwaj and Ram Gopal Varma; I met him on a flight, started chatting, and giving in to his love for graphic novels, he was on as DOP. Rohitav Sharma had worked with me in the early [v] days and had a reputation  37

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Sketch by Pavan Buragohain

of being ‘thoroughman’ - the OCD superhero we all need to keep such a team in check. Is it true that there is a NID mafia, seeing that most of the team is from there too? AC: Of course, and it’s a great one! That’s a lovely, sinister variation of the word ‘family’ and that’s what we are, no? It’s only natural that we would gravitate towards each other when we undertake ambitious projects. How did you take the project forward? AC: We started with the story and design phase - breaking down the available texts and doing early explorations for the look and design esthetic. The first scene Devi and I discussed was the swayamvar scene. The existing representations of the event seemed just too limited and not spectacular enough, so we tried to imagine what an event in a large public space would look like in that time. And that’s the scene you see in the film - it was our way into the story and provided a template for how we would treat the rest of the story. We decided there would be no talking animals, no wisecracking sidekicks and absolutely no religion! The story is one of war, of intrigue, deceit and betrayal, so adopting familiar ‘animation’ templates featuring wiseass animals and parody humor wasn’t going to do it justice.

Sketch by Arnab Chaudhuri

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What has been the response to the film? AC: The best response was a one liner saying we were insane! Apart from that the response has been phenomenal; people respect what we’ve done and I think our biggest win is having taken animation out of the ghetto that restricts the medium to one that can only tell children’s stories in parody formats.

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Sketch by k k muralidharan  39

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Film Stills

A little background now…why did you decide to join NID? AC: I joined after my parents saw a Sunday magazine article on NID. We used to live in Assam where printed matter came to us at really sporadic intervals, so there was a fair bit of serendipity associated with this. It was also at a time when having an ‘art’ inclination wasn’t really encouraged, in a world where mainstream science and commerce were the only options open to school students. I filled out the forms and got in, thankfully, so I could pretty much coast through my ISC exams and wait for the summer when we trooped off to Ahmedabad. The NID days were a beautiful, idealistic time when we all worked off each other and learned from everyone - seniors, faculty, the library, Jamalpur. There are great memories about mad times. And there were riots! We were cocooned on campus and we could see flames flicker across the river. It was a growing up that very few have the privilege of experiencing. Tell us about your projects before Arjun. AC: I’ve been working in the TV industry for 18 years. Satellite TV was just about taking off when I was finishing at NID. Shashanka Ghosh, who was heading Channel [v], was visiting the campus; one thing led to another and I went to Mumbai to do my diploma project with the channel. We did

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a lot of animation at [v] in the early days. There were no digital cameras and we shot everything on 16mm bolex cameras with no video assist. It was excruciating, back breaking work with often iffy results, but it was great fun. We were experimenting with the medium of TV and with animation. Digital technology was developing rapidly and I’d say we were the first generation of users to embrace it and maximize its potential.

Film Stills

From [v] I went to Cartoon Network in Hong Kong where I worked on stuff across the APAC/ ANZ region and actually directed shorts featuring legends like Tom & Jerry, Dexter, Johnny Bravo, The Powerpuff Girls, Mark Waugh and Wasim Akram! In 2004 I was part of the team that designed and launched Pogo, a completely madefor-India kids’ channel with a great design template that’s still running today. How do you see the animation scenario in India changing? AC: Well, there’s likely to be a lot more investments and announcements in the medium.

Sketches by Arnab Chaudhuri

Arjun has proved that animation isn’t a genre; it’s a medium that can tell all kinds of stories and it can be done in controllable costs with local talent. In India we need time and patience! It’s hard work putting something like this together, and it needs patient investors willing to wait it out and not second-guess audience tastes and reactions. We have the skills and the technology to be as good as the best in the world; we need support and time to be able to break through and get recognized for it. What is in the pipeline for you? AC: A sequel, which we wrote a while ago. Stand by for more!  43

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Animation director and illustrator, and Associate Professor at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay, Nina Sabnani deconstructs ‘Arjun: The Warrior Prince’ 44  POOL #25

From the moment the lights dim and the first shot opens on the screen we know we are in a different space. The surroundings vanish into thin air. Arjun The Warrior Prince has us captivated. Directed by Arnab Chaudhuri and assited by Rohitav Sharma, the team constitues Rajesh Devraj as the writer, Pavan Buragohain as the creative director and character designer. The production

cover story: movie review design is done by KK Muralidharan and Rachna Rastogi of Xheight fame and the animation production is done by Tata Elxsi, headed by Pankaj Khandpur. While the costumes for the characters were designed by Aneeth Arora and Chinar Farooqui, the actions were choreographed by Pavan Buragohain and Arnab Chaudhuri. With this brief introduction to a team which is obviously much larger, we may embark on our journey through the film. There is not a moment to think about the quality of animation or storytelling or the sets. They are in such fantastic sync that it is only when we pause to reflect do we realize we are watching world class animation. And international it is in all respects. Let’s begin with the theme. It is not the first time that we are seeing an animated story about a mythical character. But it is the first time that we are watching a story about a certain character type who happens to be a mythical character, someone we can identify with. We can identify with his dilemmas, his silences, his anger and his desire to succeed. The film does not try to show the greatness of this character; it shows the development of a character from a hesitant one to that of a brave warrior. Arnab Chaudhuri, the director of this film, calls Arjun an action hero, someone who comes into his own gradually, through reflection and action. This story of Arjun is interestingly different from the usual one we have heard throughout our childhood. We all know Arjun is an ace archer who shot the eye of the fish by looking at its reflection, and then married Draupadi. When the big war (Mahabharat) broke out he was hesitant to kill his own kith

and kin but was given the lesson of the Gita from Krishna. In the film this story veers off the usual track to depict that part of the narrative which is lesser known and comes as a surprise for many viewers. That the Mahabharat can never be told in one go is a foregone conclusion; every teller faces this challenge. The best he can do is to find a slice of the epic through which can be depicted the flavor of the whole, and the complexity of human nature which it portrays. In this version we are invited to those sections of the epic where we engage with Arjun as a character and are privy to his fears and aspirations, his masculine and feminine aspects, something a warrior is never allowed to express. The narrative structure is also based on the epic’s model of a framed story or a story within a story. It begins with a lady telling a story about the warrior Arjun to a young boy who loves and idolizes Arjun. And it is only towards the end that we realize that the two are related and belong to the same time and space. The story can be understood at several levels, by children and adults alike. Arjun is not the only character who is well rounded; Bhim, Drona, Draupadi, Bhishma, Shakuni and others are equally complex and three-dimensional, in their physical appearance as well as their expressions, movements and dialogue. What is fascinating is that they feel so real we forget they are animated drawings; for example we see a helpless Arjun with an anguished Draupadi who wants him to fight for her honor. And the reason behind this is that they were inspired by real people. They were based on characters from films around the world.  45

cover story: Movie review Says Arnab, “The problem thrown up while tackling something like the Mahabharat is that almost all characters are uniformly strong, distinguished and powerful, so distinguishing between various personalities while retaining these core strengths is critical; otherwise you end up having a screen filled with clones. Arjun is not based visually on anyone in particular but his relationship with his brothers is. If you imagine the dynamics between Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammed Azharuddin and Kapil Dev in the days when Sachin joined the team, the relationship would have been very similar to that between the three brothers, Yudhishthir, Bhim and Arjun. The character of Bhim is loosely inspired by Dharmendra, rough and ready, good natured and always smiling. Yudhishthir is a lot like Kay Kay Menon, sensitive, finely drawn but with steel underneath. He also struck us as being somewhat weakened by his insistence on always being righteous and therefore often paralyzed in his decision making. Drona was based on a photograph of a tribal warrior we found, and his strength and manner we based on Patrick Stewart of Star Trek and X-men fame - older, quite small in stature, but extremely strong and agile. Bhishma was based on ancient rabadi men from Gujarat and Rajasthan. “Duryodhan was based loosely on Daniel Day Lewis from Gangs of New York. Karna was loosely drawn from Ian Mcshane from the HBO series Deadwood. Dhritarashtra was roughly constructed from images we found of Giulio Andreotti, an Italian politician for the longest time and on whose life the film II Divo was made. He needed to be almost like a don, small and powerful - his vision of his kingdom was never impaired by his blindness. Draupadi we based loosely on Smita Patil and the

actress playing her, Rajeshwari Sachdev. She married for love, and stood by her husband even in the face of extreme humiliation, goading him eventually to take a vow of revenge. Shakuni we based on a character played by Amjad Khan in the merchant ivory film A Perfect Murder - large, florid, gasping for breath but very manipulative and extremely sharp. While the personalities mentioned here were inspirations, you’ll find it hard to find exact visual comparisons. This is because we tried to retain the essence of these personalities and not necessarily their facial features.” Well, that shows the level of detail the team went into. Critics may point out that the characters are not as described in the texts, but just like Peter Brook’s Mahabharat, this is an interpretation in today’s global context. The characters thus become more accessible and identifiable. Animation is top notch. From the superb chariot race to the chakravyuh, the action is flawless. Produced at a production house, it has its own unique look and feel. The production design is rich and eclectic in its esthetic. The backgrounds include various locations from across the country, giving it that timeless feel. The team has put in tremendous effort to bring these places alive. We do not feel the overpowering 3D CG backgrounds that one is subjected to when mythological spaces are being depicted. Given all these we can feel proud that this film is made and produced in India. The film shows us that there is much talent in the country to do feature animation. Indian animation seems to have arrived, just like Arjun, the action hero!  47


“My love for bright colors and elaborate patterns comes from my admiration for Gustave Klimt,” says Reshidev RK, and indeed, the color seems to jump out of his striking portfolio. Whether it is illustrations for the swatch book of an apparel company or graffiti or even painted sneakers, color is predominant. “During my childhood, I was exposed to a lot of traditional art forms which were filled with colors, textures and patterns. So I suppose, it is sort of an important element in my style,” muses the young Art Director at Wieden + Kennedy in New Delhi.

When Reshidev RK is not working at his day job as Art Director, he is leaving his personal stamp on an arresting portfolio of illustrations 48  POOL #25

Raised in Kannur in Kerala, Reshidev attended the College of Fine Arts in Trivandrum where he acquired a BFA in Sculpture, majoring in Illustration. “I have always been into art. Sculpting was my primary love, and from it evolved my work in illustrations. In my spare time, I experiment with various media like sneakers, clay models, trunks, and other interesting artifacts,” he says. When Kannur didn’t provide him a suitable professional outlet for his creativity, Reshidev

illustrator Advertisement designed to announce a state wide ‘Kolam’ competition held annually by Times of India. (Kolam is an ancient Dravidian floor decoration composed of curved loops drawn around a grid pattern of dots.)  49

illustrator illustrator

London Taxi Graphics The spirit of Karnataka taken to cities like Berlin & London to promote tourism in Kerala by surprising people with designer taxis.The idea was to move away from using images and use interesting illustrations to grab eyeballs.

moved to Bangalore where he worked with Happy Creative Services for more than three years. “There I got to do a lot of fresh and interesting work for Lee. But then I began to feel like I needed to see more than what the city of Bangalore offered me. Delhi being an art capital of sorts, made perfect sense, and W+K, the perfect fit.” Working in a formal set up involves adhering to a strict brief, which may not be the ideal situation for any artist, but he learns to adapt. “Do I share a personal connection with all my illustrations? I don’t think so,” says Reshidev candidly. “Since my work is mostly commercial, I do not have the freedom to make the work about me. They are about the brand it represents. However, I do like to believe that there is a little signature style I leave in all my work.” The client’s brief dictates the look and feel of an illustrator’s work to a large extent. “For instance, what media I use depends on what the client wants to achieve through the creative. I always try to create a handmade feel to my illustrations. I make an attempt to move from a computer graphic design space to the hand illustrated space.”

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illustrator illustrator illustrator

“Art is a more personal expression of who you are, while design is a more commercialized area that largely depends on the client, the brand, and the brief. But I guess they bounce off each other.�  51


Digital Painting The third showreel cover for Nirvana Films. The idea was to do one for each quarter, hence the obvious pun.

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illustrator His work so far has been diverse, and Reshidev has been fortunate to be part of several interesting projects. One of these was the ‘Karnataka – One State Many Worlds’ tourism promotion project, where his illustrations were reproduced on taxis in London! “I was very happy to be a part of that project,” says Reshidev. “Nobody really opts to use illustrations over photographs for tourism creatives, and everyone was apprehensive about it. But once the taxis were hired and it was executed, it was very well received. And now it’s nice to see how different people are using illustrations to capture the essence of holiday destinations.” In the art versus design dilemma, he stands somewhere in the middle. “Art is a more personal expression of who you are, while design is a more commercialized area that largely depends on the client, the brand, and the brief. But I guess they bounce off each other.” Immersed as he is in commercial work, Reshidev hasn’t lost sight of his original interest in sculpture. “W+K has been great so far. It’s a good environment, so let’s see where this path takes me. However, as artists, we are learning new things everyday and our ambitions and ideas change alongside. I am hoping to create my own label of interesting applications of art, especially sculptures,” he adds. Meanwhile he concentrates on leaving his personal style on his work, trying to do ‘something different, and hopefully better’. And it’s not just his ‘custom converse’ shoes he is talking about!

(Top to bottom) 1. Customized sneakers for a die-hard Floydian 2. Hand painted trunk  53


Tell us something about Ritika Bharwani, the designer. RB: I am a perfectionist and extremely organized, and I always wanted to weave my own fashion story. After completing my undergraduate studies in fashion at SNDT University in Mumbai and working with one of India’s renowned designers, I went on to pursue my MA in Fashion Entrepreneurship at London College of Fashion. On returning to India, I decided to launch a studio of my own, and ‘ritika’ was born in August 2011. I think that fashion begins somewhere on the streets of Europe, and then inspires a designer to make an entire collection, thus narrating a story hidden in the depths of their own designs. I am an avid traveler and derive most of my inspiration from my travels abroad. Ritika Bharwani knew at the age of 15 that she wanted to be a fashion designer. Through her label ‘ritika’, inspired largely by European architecture, she sees the fruition of her dreams… 56  POOL #25

What is ‘ritika’ about? RB: It is a studio extraordinaire with a fusion of understated elegance, intricate embellishment and detailed design. We create effortless chic, with an international appeal yet very Indian in terms of drapes and silhouettes. Finding inspiration in shapes in much of the architecture across Europe, my creations are draped, jeweled and styled in a way that define soft, ethereal femininity. With every piece I try to bring in an old world charm with a contemporary twist. The silhouettes,


Lemon yellow embellished skirt with one shoulder muted gold drape  57


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fashion (Left) Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2012

from short, to mid-calf to floor length are amongst the most striking elements of my creations. Who does the label most appeal to? RB: The label appeals to the distinguished consumer who is looking for clothing that has been crafted with impeccable tailoring or innovative techniques of draping and has been embellished with luxurious elements. The brand caters to women of every age through clothing ranging from ready to wear pieces such as tops, dresses, tunics, long dresses and jumpers, to formal evening wear such as gowns and cocktail dresses.

Ombre beige one shoulder drape gown with shell embellishment

How are clients responding to your creations? RB: The reaction to my collections has been great, which is very encouraging for a new designer like me. My label currently retails from many of the prominent fashion stores in India such as Aza, Evoluzione, Atosa, Fuel, and Kimaya. The collection has also received a positive response from international buyers and we currently retail from a store in Singapore and one in Dubai. Who are the fashion designers you admire? RB: I love Tarun Tahiliani’s creations and I think he creates beautiful clothes. Sabyasachi’s creations are also my favorite and I love the play of color in his collections. Internationally my all time favorite is Frida Giannini for Gucci, and Stella McCartney. What are your plans for the future? RB: In the next five years, I see my brand as a recognized and established label internationally. My clothing line would be retailing from the renowned international fashion stores and I would also aspire to have showcased at the international Fashion Weeks at London, New York and Paris. As my forte is using statement embroidery in my creations, my label would also be promoting and encouraging the different embroideries of India by drawing out the unique embroidery techniques from the various states of India and interpreting them in my designs. What advice would you give to budding young designers? RB: For someone looking to have a career in fashion design, I would have to say that it’s very important to stay true to your inherent style and interpret your own personal style through your designs.  59


When was your blog ‘Style Fashion Etc’ conceived? SS: Two years ago I was studying for a BBA degree at the Amity Business School and frankly, it was getting quite boring! I am more of a creative person. One day, I was going through a few fashion blogs and the idea of having my own blog popped into my head. So I started, just like that. It did take a lot of work to design the blog but I was determined to do it. I needed something to hold on to while drowning in business studies. It was very clear to me that my blog would be about style, trends, fashion, make-up, and so on…the name ‘Style Fashion Etc’ seemed quite appropriate. How is Srish’s style different? SS: My style is different because I like to experiment and play with colors and textures. I never wear the same ensemble twice because I feel you can always change something, mix and match and style the same pieces in many different ways. I am fascinated with the idea of creation, and creating a new outfit or generating a new idea feeds my need to be creative. 21-year-old Shristi Soumya is an aspiring ‘diva’ who uses her blog to share her passion for fashion 60  POOL #25

What do you feature in your blog? SS: I believe fashion is in everything, your lifestyle, your clothes, your make-up, your walk, absolutely everything it’s the way you carry yourself. I like to cover fashion, store


Photographed by Amandeep Singh  61

blogger reviews, product reviews, new trends, style advice, outfit ideas, DIY (do-ityourself) projects, and so on. I like to experiment. I do not want to confine myself to one topic, I want to explore and learn as much as I can. How did people discover your blog? SS: It happened slowly and gradually. The Internet is like a galaxy and my blog then was a teeny tiny speckle, so it took time for people to notice that speckle. I promoted it on a few Facebook fan pages and people liked it! Every new follower made me jump on my bed like a fiveyear-old because it meant people were actually reading what I had to say and I was not just a girl talking to herself. How much time do you spend on your blog and how do you drive traffic to it? SS: Usually I devote two to three hours on three days a week, but I am currently interning with a designer so I don’t get as much free time as I used to. For now, whenever I get some free relaxed time, it’s blogging time! I don’t really do a lot to drive traffic to it. I have a fan page on Facebook, and accounts on Instagram, and Twitter, which help me to connect to my readers. I believe in writing good content and my own personal opinions. I believe if I have strong and opinionated content, traffic will drive itself to my blog. Per day I get about 600-800 page views. Last month I had 23,700 views. When did you start shooting fashion for the blog? SS: I have always been interested in everything related to fashion. Blogging gave me a platform to actually put my thoughts down and research more about fashion. I started to shoot fashion when I started to blog. It was not much of a 62  POOL #25

shoot the first time. I had gone out to lunch with a friend and worn a casual jeans and t-shirt combination; I got a picture clicked on my phone. That was my first ever outfit post, casual and immature. As time passed by, I learned many tips and techniques on how to do a proper outfit shoot. Now, we plan ahead of time and decide on the venue in relation to the outfit and take at least 100 pictures and then I do the selecting and editing. Sunrise or sunset is the best natural lighting for pictures. For location, if I am wearing something that is too bright and busy, I would choose a background which is the opposite; if I am wearing solid colors or neutrals, I can do with a little noisy background. The main idea is to highlight the features of the outfit and the background is just used to elevate the colors of the outfit. Who shoots the pictures for the blog now? SS: My best friend Amandeep Singh he has been a dear friend for the past four years and the biggest support. We do almost everything together, be it shopping, movies, college, shoots, events, interviews, store visits, everything! He is very patient with me and keeps giving suggestions on how to pose, when to smile, angles, lighting, etc. What, in your opinion, makes a good blogger? SS: Being original is one of the top requirements, apart from being a multitasker, a good photographer and having a deep passion for your subject. I really like Dulce Candy’s blog - she was my inspiration when I decided to start my own blog. Her outfit ideas, make-up tutorials, and positive attitude towards life are infectious.

blogger Where do you see your blog going? SS: I consider my blog as my baby whom I have nurtured everyday for the past two years, so I definitely want it to be successful in future. Currently I am studying Fashion Design at Pearl Academy of Fashion, New Delhi, and I see my future in designing and creating. I would like to start my own label one day, bringing global fashion to India. But, if the blog needs my full attention someday, I might just give in and take it on as a full time job! Meanwhile I

believe, be passionate about what you do and success will run after you! What do you hope to achieve through your blog? SS: Learning, a lot of learning. I have learned and grown a lot in the past two years, which I feel would have been impossible if it was not for my blog. It was while blogging that I realized I wanted to pursue Fashion Designing and that changed my life completely!  63

Editor in Chief Sudhir Sharma Copy Editor Ashvina Vakil Research & Design Coordinator Shriya Nagi

Publisher INDI Design Pvt Ltd

Research Team Neha Thakurdesai Vaibhav Mohite Triveni Sutar Layout & Production Pradeep Arora Satyajeet Harpude Art & Design Pradeep Goswami Swapnil Gaikwad Sayali Lonkar

Contact us Indi Design Pvt Ltd C-1, Unit No 503-504, Saudamini Commercial Complex, Bhusari ColonyRight, Paud Road, Pune 411038 Call: +91 20 2528 1433 Direct Mails All Subscription Enquiries to All Sponsorship Enquires to All Content related enquires to Printing, Binding & Paper Vinayak Arts, Pune 64  POOL #25

Digital Manish Kori Marianna Korniienko Aboli Kanade Finance Kuldeep Harit Deepak Gautam Assistants Yamanappa Dodamani Shailesh Angre Pranil Gaikwad Subscription & Logistics Seema Sharma Marketing Arjun Samaddar Tarun Thakkar R. Anudeep  65

RNI-No. MAHENG12606/13/1/2010-TC

July POOL 2012  

Pool Magazine for July 2012

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