Pankhuri Gidwani has been declared UP’s first Brand Ambassador for khadi. The announcement came from Khadi and MSME Minister Siddharth Nath Singh at the Khadi Mahotsav-2021 fashion show at Awadh Shilpgram on Sunday.

alt='Ritu Suhas and Pankhuri Gidwani with designer Manish Tripathi;'
Ritu Suhas and Pankhuri Gidwani with designer Manish Tripathi

Pankhuri, who has a strong presence and following on the social media, is charged with the task of popularizing khadi as a global outfit, thereby putting UP prominently on the map of the fashion world. She would be working along with top designers Ritu Beri, Rina Dhaka, JJ Vallaya, Padmashri Runa Bannerjee, Manish Tripathi etal for this endeavor. Additional Chief secretary Navneet Sehgal, Principal Secretaries Sanjay Prasad and Mukesh Meshram were present on the occasion along with a bevy of top bureaucrats and dignitaries.



Pankhuri Gidwani

Pankhuri is disturbed over the way the Corona pandemic has affected life in Bollywood. But hope shines in her eyes and she looks forward with great expectations. Pankhuri (23) is from Lucknow and has been engrossed in a tough struggle to carve out a niche for herself in the world of glitz and glam out there. She is young, good looking and talented as an actor and dancer. So are numerous strugglers in Mumbai, one may ask. But what sets Pankhuri Gidwani apart from the crowd is the crown Shah Rukh Khan put on her head when she won the title of “Miss India – 2016” as a runner-up.

“Whenever I feel the blues, I remember that crowning moment, the burst of applause and the raining confetti to feel good,” she says, adding that the recurrent blues have become a part of life, thanks to the much-dreaded virus. An alumni of La Martiniere Girls’ College, Lucknow, she was in town as the show stopper at the Khadi Mahotsav-2021 fashion show which featured ensembles from celebrated designers Ritu Beri, Rina Dhaka, Padmashri Runa Bannerjee and Manish Tripathi. She’s just finished her three-year Bachelor in Mass Media (BMM) at Mithibai College, Mumbai, and is readying to plunge full-time into the magic and madness of Bollywood. Now PANKHURI GIDWANI as UP’S KHADI AMBASSADOR

“The going is indeed quite tough in the industry, and the virus almost killed our dreams with work down to an unprecedented minimal. People like us who come from faraway places to make our future in Mumbai are among the worst hit,” she laments.

alyt="Pankhuri with the task of popularizing khadi as a global outfit"
Pankhuri with the task of popularizing khadi as a global outfit

Also hurt bad are the assistants, the spot boys, secondary actors and dancers, “thousands of them”. Says Pankhuri: “Most of them are from other states. They have lived and experienced the vibrancy of Mumbai for years, and would fight the bitter battle for as long as possible to keep from returning to their remote and sleepy towns and villages.”

Mumbai changed drastically

The Mumbai she went to five years ago changed “so drastically”in 2020. A pall of gloom had enveloped it, she feels. “As if things were not bad already, we mourned the deaths of Rishi Kapoor, Irrfan Khan and Wajid (of the Sajid-Wajid duo), then we heard of drug rackets and suicides,” she says. “I thought nothing could be worse.”

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But perhaps all is not lost as celluloid pots are beginning to churn once again. “Though movies are not hitting the floors with even half the frequency, shooting for TV serials and web series has picked up. That’s a good sign and looks quite promising in terms of opportunities for people like us,” she says, with a gleam for the first time in her eye. “Ultimately it’s hope that keeps us going. Isn’t it?” she says looking into the distance, leaving one wondering whether it’s a statement or a question she’s asking of herself.


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