How many of us can name five Indian queens or princesses and talk about their achievements? Kankatala, a 75-year-old saree brand is hoping to change that with their Queens of Andhra campaign. To mark the 75th anniversary of their brand, the makers have launched the new line, drawing inspiration from these Queens.
Anirudh Kankatala, Director and the brains behind this campaign, shares that most of these queens’ stories have remained in the dark. Having spent six months researching for this project, the team has come up with 10 sarees each for six queens from the region.
“We’ve tried to bring out the characteristics of these queens as accurately as we can. Most of them are a mystery, with very little information about them in the public records. For instance, we do not know much about Rani Bhagmati who is supposed to have given Hyderabad its previous name – Bhagyanagaram. The photoshoot for each queen, therefore, was carefully created. For Rani Bhagmati we’ve used ethereal elements like caged flowers and pink streaked skies to bring out her elusive and mysterious beauty,” says Anirudh
The team has worked with historians and spent many hours in the library to bring to life these queens from the past. Rani Aadhi Laxmi Devamma from Gadwall known for stalling Nizam of Hyderabad from taking over Gadwall following the demise of her husband; Rani Akka Devi of the Chalukya dynasty; the mysterious Hyderabad beauty Rani Bhagmati; the elegant Visakha queen Rani Chandramani Devi who donated many of her riches; the valorous Nayakuralu Nagamma; and the now popular Rani Rudhramma Devi of the Kakatiya kingdom are the six Queens featured in this collection.
Kankatala has worked on bringing out the most distinctive features of these queens in their sarees, blending elements that closely represent each. They’ve closely worked with weavers from across the country, with the Kankatala family members carefully curating each saree. Fabrics like Uppada, Gadwal, Ikkat, Patola, Organza, Paithani, Kota, Benares, Khadi and linen have been used.
Anirudh shares that his grandfather, Kankatala Appalaraju, founded the brand in 1943, setting up their first store in the old port town of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. From then, the brand has come a long way, with eight stores across the state. Following great response from Chennai, Kankatala will have an exclusive exhibit at Amethyst, Chennai on 9 and 10 September. Customers can also choose to shop on their ecomm portal here.