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India to be the leading face of luxury brands in the world, say speakers at New 18 PH summit

India to be the leading face of luxury brands in the worldThe New18 PH event, L’ Aspiration Summit, held at JW Marriott, Chandigarh on Friday Dec 22, 2023 saw India’s erstwhile Royals Aaliya Sultana Babi, Mallyka Singh Dundlod & Siddharth Daspan, the scions of the Balasinor (Gujarat), Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan) & Jodhpur respectively, sharing stage with actors Jonita Doda, Aahana Kumra and Niharica Raizada and artist and collector, Shan Bhatnagar.

L’ Aspiration Summit is a unique initiative of News 18 PH, dedicated to the world of Luxury. In a world brimming with new opportunities, this is a celebration of ideas redefining the notion of luxury, straight from those who have lived it and are living it, those who embody a lifestyle that others aspire for.  The summit is dedicated to tracking trends shaping lifestyles, aspirations and luxury in the world today.

The event was divided into six sessions, titled – Rethinking Luxury, Reviving Tradition, Redefining Royalty, Realizing Celebrity, Reimagining Talent and lastly Sufi Performance by Sufi Singers – Birender Dhillon & Shamsher Lehri, and offered a mesmerizing evening full of royalty, glitz and glamour.

Actor Jonita Doda, who was born in Chandigarh in a business family, revealed that she is an actor by accident. She said that she always wanted to be the first to do something in life, so she chose to do a 3D movie. She has acted in many Punjabi and South Indian movies.  She talked about her experience of starting Chandigarh Fashion Week with her brother and how her dreams transformed through it.

Siddharth Daspan, a trained designer, who studied in Mayo and Italy shared his experience of converting his century-old royal house “House of Daspans”, Jodhpur into a place that offers peace and tranquillity to tourists, who want something out of the box. His house celebrates all forms of art through collaborations. He shared the details of his Soapbox initiative a series of artistic collaborations curated by him. Siddharth believes in brewing something new every day, from hosting an artist residency program to partnering with diverse performing artists and experimenting with culinary art.

Shan Bhatnagar, an Artist, Collector, Conservationist & a Maximalist interior architect, talked about his vibrant artworks that are a distinct take on the traditional temple art of Pichwai painting. Shan incorporates traditional Rajasthani embroidery and jewellery as embellishments in his paintings, which is a marked difference from the traditional style.

He shared his spiritual connection with his paintings. “Luxury is a state of mind”, he said while talking about Art as an investment.

Aaliya Sultana Babi, popular as Dr. Dinosaur and Princess Dinosaur, is the daughter of the Late Nawab Saheb Salabat Khanji Babi Bahadur of Balasinor and has dedicated her life to the preservation and conservation of the remarkable dinosaur site and fossils that exist in the region that she is from. She shared her experience of setting up a Dinosaur Museum in a small village in Gujarat, which took 27 years of hard work. She shared her story of how she got a Dinosaur egg, which she calls ‘Masala Anda’, from a village woman. She has nurtured the idea of Dino tourism.

Mallyka Singh Dundlod, the founder of A Baisa’s Adventures, talked about her first memory of horses and her love for Shekhawati culture. She revealed how she was introduced to the equestrian world by her father, Thakur Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod, who pioneered horse safaris in Rajasthan in 1980’s. He founded Dundlod Safaris to revive the indigenous Marwari breed of Warhorses and to share his passion with equestrians from all over the world. She divulged that the population of horses in India is on the rise, especially the Marwari horses, which are known for their endurance.

Aahana Kumra shared her experience in the field of acting. She talked about how actors who are from a “non-filmy” background must bear the brunt of nepotism. She believes that nepotism will stay in Bollywood.

She talks about how she was brought up by her cop mother and how she tried her hand in all sports. She explicitly talked about her journey from theatre to Bollywood and her experience of her first film ‘Lipstick under my Burqa’ which was a great success. She candidly talked about her phase of depression and how she overcame it.

Niharica Raizada, Actor & a medico scientist explained why she chose the Beauty pageant. She said that it’s the fastest way to connect with people. She believes India is a Diamond with a huge potential for development and this was the reason for her returning to India after her studies abroad. She said that Luxury brands are spearheaded by Indian faces these days and people are looking at India differently.

It was an evening with a difference. An evening when the royals shared the stage with India’s top fashion designers, collectors, artists and actors to discuss luxury, traditions and talent.

The L’ Aspiration Summit’s engaging panel discussions were moderated by News 18 India Editor Mr Jyoti Kamal.