With all eyes on a beautifully decorated stage, almost 300 guests from New York and New Jersey in audience, the expectations were running high to know the names of 15 women “Honorees” who have left an indelible impression on society in USA. An event which has been talk of the town since it was announced three weeks ago by Brain Storm Entertainment in association with Renascent Enterprise, IAA Women Achiever Awards held at newly built MARIGOLD in New Jersey offered everything that raised expectations.
Fifteen women to be selected through a process audited by Ernst and Young, a fund raiser with Chief Guest Shabana Azmi and a fashion show by superstar of fashion industry, Manish Malhotra for Mijwan Welfare Society (NGO run by Shabana Azmi) at a venue that has created a name for its grandeur in such a short time, it was an evening to watch.
Guests started arriving early at 5 pm and crowded the reception to ensure they got best seats after a formal photo-op. The bar was filled soon with hundreds and an air with best fragrance and some of outfits that would have surprised celebrity designer Manish Malhotra. Many wanted to know the names of the winners since such events have rarely presented surprise. But Vandana Krishna, promoter and brain behind the event lived upto her promise, and nobody including “Honorees” knew about the surprise about to unfold. Some wanted to have a glimpse of Manish Malhotra who was busy with models and wanted to make his maiden presentation the best ever in East coast. Photographers ensured they clicked the pics of the most notable guests from Tri-State which would fill the facebook after the event. Selfie stars were busy too, almost competing with each other in putting maximum in one frame.
Cineyug promoter Aly Morani was quietly checking the finishing of the grand room for stage and settings, rather first of its kind where the evening was to unfold. Side panels with white fabric were used as screens with a state of the art projectors and backdrop lit to make the setting most serene. A totally new concept of a fashion show with top models were to walk on the floor with a ramp-style setting between front three rows, thus, giving the audience a closer view of beautiful dresses of Mijwan collection by celebrity Manish Malhotra.
Vandana Krishna introduced the evening and awards event to a hall filled with 300 plus guests. She shared the overview of upcoming Indian Academy Awards to be held in California in July. Vandana Krishna and Saurabh Pandey, two veterans from the entertainment industry are launching their awards event in SFO with Bollywood, Tollywood and Hollywood stars as guests and performers when the winners will be announced once again through a popular selection process audited by Ernst and Young. The grand 2-day event is expected to host 50,000 in audience. The event was announced in Mumbai in last week of December by RAEES Bollywood Badshah Shahrukh Khan and launched at a media conference by superstar Madhuri Dixit in Santa Clara in January.
Vandana said, “As an initiative of the Indian Academy Awards we want to share the success stories of real women with the world, to encourage all the Non Residents of India. True stories of women entrepreneurs are an inspiration to change the world. Today’s women are making the difference with their innovative ideas, seeking solutions and reclaiming their status as equals. We want to create a platform to honor these women and to share their success with the world.”
One could see a tense yet smiling Tanvi Prenita Chandra of Renascent Media who was the local promoter for hosting the show. “Women empowerment …this cause is very close to my heart and I feel fortunate to get this opportunity to host this history making event with most respected Bollywood icon Shabana Azmi ji and world famous designer Manish Malhotra. A big thank you to the sponsors Nirvani restaurant, Morgan Stanley, Laxmi (House of Spices), Mphasis Corporation, Hometowne rx, Pro Beauty Academy, KTC, The Marigold and Corporate Limousine Services for the support of this great cause. I have done my best to present a different type of show with celebrities from Mumbai and feel happy it has all come together in flying colors witnessed by elite crowd in such a short time” said Tanvi.
Host Nisha Mathur, herself a celebrity, opened the evening and in her inimitable style announced the winners one-by-one. The honorees graced the stage and accepted the honors to an applaud by audience which marked the recognition by all. Fifteen honorees who had travelled from all over just like other guests to attend the event and were caught by surprise when their names were announced. Ms Shabana Azmi presented the awards to each honoree as Nisha invited them after a brief intro(list included).
The winners were selected via a nomination process managed by EY. The final jury members comprising of Bollywood actresses Manjari Phadnis and Chitrashi Rawat, Wellness and grooming expert Avni Gandhi Varma will made the final selection.
The next segment included the introduction of Mijwan Welfare Society by none other than Ms Shabana Azmi who shared the details of her father, Kaifi Azmi’s dream for the small village in U.P. which has been converted by funds raised by the NGO to support women. Ms Azmi’s humility and happiness was visible as she fondly recalled the time she spent with her father who was a great poet and supported for equality of women. She expressed her gratitude for Manish Malhotra and generous audience as well as every donor till date who have supported the Society.
Actor & Activist Shabana Azmi was the guest of honor for the final event.
Mijwan today is not only a story of the progress of a small village in India, but it’s also the story of women journeying on, past the patriarchal conforms of their society. It’s the hope for a better tomorrow, beating in the hearts of rural women who have taken charge of their own destinies
The finale was the fashion show as colorful lights came up and beautiful models displayed the dresses. One could see the audience was dazzled with the exquisite hand embroidery called Chikankari by Mijwan Women. The ‘Mijwan Summer Couture 2017’ was clearly the highlight of the evening. The grace with which each model walked and carried the dress, almost everyone in audience captured the view with eyes while top photographers and cameraman from television channels captured through their lens. Music enhanced the walk on the ramp between the aisles and many females almost touched the dresses with their cell phones cameras to decide on their choices. About thirty minutes of mesmerizing presentation before Manish Malhotra came to the stage himself n his customary style to accept the honors.
Manish Malhotra has pulled women out of oblivion and brought their craft to the doorsteps of Bollywood by creating glamorous outfits in his signature style. By giving women gainful employment, he has given the women to negotiate more space for themselves within the family structure.
The show epitomized the continuous realization of Kaifi Saab’s vision and the wonderful legacy of hope for his village, Mijwan. (www.mijwan.org)
Evening closed with the fund raiser and Ms Azmi assisted by her US associate Ketki Parikh collected the checks with a humble thanks that will help spread the word for the Mijwan Society all over US in times ahead.
A landmark is created by Brainstorm Entertainment in east coast as West coast now waits for the mega event in July when superstars will land in Silicon Valley.