Wear-y Open Letter to Manyavar

Wear-y Open Letter to Manyavar

Namaste Manyavar Ravi Modi,

If you drive from Noida to Dhaula Kuan in Delhi (which I am sure you don’t), you see the updated Manyavar Mohey hoarding with Alia Bhatt on about a dozen pillars along the route. Like many other pillars across Delhi and other cities which happily hold the smiling bride. Alia’s natural cheer in a red bridal lehnga endorses the mood of your business. For those mad about Alia, her photo from the shoot sits on the company’s website in the About Us section and in the womenswear e-commerce section. There are a number of other models in similar red lehngas and then there is Alia, among a diverse demographic. What a nice touch! This democratic use of the Alia Photos—as tried earlier with the Kartik Aaryan Collection is smart. It makes your e-commerce rollout a good mix of starry, less starry and non-starry. Just as we are. As a kurta-sherwani-lehnga-choli-dupatta (and film stars) loving republic.

If you went to watch a film in a cinema hall (I am not sure if you do), you cannot avoid the Manyavar campaigns. Alia was there again with her #Dulhanwalifeeling when I went for Joker recently. Then flashed Ranveer Kurta-Moustache-Masti Singh with his #Diwaliwalifeeling. I could barely wait for the former ad with babua Kartik Aaryan who waltzed in soon enough with his #Taiyaarhokaraaiye antics, charmingly asking everyone not wearing Hindustani libaaz (or celebratory ethnic wear as you rightly call it), to “get ready” and turn back.


Photo: Instagram/Manyavarmohe

Kartik Aaryan for Manyavar.

Despite some kurta headache, your campaigns are enjoyable. They are relatable. They have chirpy hashtags. The colours are riotous. The stars fit and famous. The mood elated. From your first casting coup where skipper Virat Kohli, the Oh My Gawd of contemporary cricket told us little stories—of Holi, Diwali, Eid, cricket, compassion and sharing wedding expenses with ladkiwale (the bride’s family), to when he starred in a romantic blitzy campaign with his bride and actor Anushka Sharma for Mohey, it has been a jalsa, a celebration.

Right up to this Diwali. When Amitabh Bachchan the prime resident of Jalsa, that Mumbai home like none other, superstar and product endorser no. 1 among Indian stars could be distracted from insurance policies, cement ads, Just Dial hectoring and Gujarat tourism to become a part of the Manyavar family. In a well-styled floral jacket too, bundled smoothly over a kurta and his endearing “Dada Desh Sukh” smile. This is not a coup, because your Virat and Anushka were a match even you won’t be easily able to match up to. But still. It is a very Big leap.


Photo: Instagram/Manyavarmohe

Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma in the brand’s campaign.

Enormous promotional budgets, big stars, engrossing campaigns, cute-smart hashtags, a nationalist identity with “ethnic wear” (Manyavar is hardly just ethnic but let’s leave that to your creative team to fret about) and a family-first approach. Mash it up with bling, brocades, brooches, juttis, pagdis, festivals, weddings and “groom squad” fun and you have dhoom (noise) and dharam (duty). The jam and butter of Indian living.

You have an annual turnover of ₹4,500 crores according to Internet “reports”, 500-plus stores across 202 cities of India and three international stores according to your own website. That’s a fat resume for Vedanta Fashions Pvt Ltd as your company is called. Which entered—according to publicly accessible information—into a “strategic alliance” with Hyderabad origin brand Mebaz that also makes celebration wear for the “family”.


Photo: Instagram/Manyavarmohe

Amitabh Bachchan in the brand’s latest festive campaign.

That’s not all. Manyavar Mohey appear to be pragmatically priced. E-commerce is sorted and swift. I have visited a couple of your stores in Delhi, even one at an airport, touched and handled the garments. In design or tailoring, they cannot be distinguished from half a dozen other brands selling similar bridal and formal fashion for men, women and children. Might I also say that your “balletic gowns” be bid a firm and fond adieu. But your marketing approach, investment heft and scale does distinguish you in a very crowded market. You are a good story, Manyavar.

Except that when it comes to putting it down into a coherent narrative for the reader, it is incomplete without the affirmations and double checks it needs from you or your team.

So when the Alia hoardings went up in the city, we felt it was High Time for a Manyavar brand and business story. Then, we had no clue you will wear Big B on your sleeve for Diwali. We had no clue either, that you and your team would just not respond to interview requests sent by two, not one, of our writers on email. Followed by multiple reminders. These were alongside a call to your creative agency and an email to the creative head of the brand. No reply from anyone. Not even an official regret from any of you. Odd no? It has been a wear-y pursuit for over a month and more.


Photo: Instagram/Manyavarmohe

Ranveer Singh for Manyavar.

When all we were trying for was an interview on the rise and rise of Manyavar. The brand vision, sourcing and design processes, investments, creative direction and scripting of your starry campaigns.

Deductions are easy but they will usually be flawed. Let me still make a few. You may be systematically avoiding the media for reasons best known to you all. Elusiveness is indeed attractive in a day and age when self-promotion is an affliction but no reply is not as sexy. Perhaps you want Manyavar clothes and its many hero-heroines, brides and grooms to speak while you quietly grow the brand in the green room. Or perhaps you all are just too busy to bother. Or perhaps…?

Such an #Ajeebwalifeeling.

Banner: Alia Bhatt for Manyavar, image courtesy Twitter/AliaBhattFC