Vidya’s ‘Mathematical Equation’ Saree A Big Fillip For Odisha Weavers Amid Pandemic

Bhubaneswar: Donning the trendy black Sambalpuri saree with ‘mathematical equations’, by the city-based Sabat Exports, Vidya Balan promoted not just her new film ‘Shakuntala Devi’ but also the weavers and made it a part of the ongoing ‘Vocal for Local’ campaign amid the COVID-19 crisis.

She then wrote that this Sambalpuri bandha (tie and dye) saree was woven over a period of one month with mulberry Bangalore silk yarn at Kendupali in Sonepur district. She also named the artisan, Ramakant Meher, in her post.

Expressing her gratitude to the actress, Sabat Exports MD Amrita Sabat said: “We felt from our heart that let her not go live with us or give any brand endorsement video for us, but infinitely more important is for her to give a small 20-second video message for our Odisha weavers’ community which will boost their morale immeasurably. And that is exactly what by Lord Jagannath’s grace she has given… a soul-touching 30-second video entirely on our request, for the weavers of Odisha.”

Amrita gives credit for the mathematical equation-imprinted saree to National award-winning weaver Late Bhagwan Meher. Along with  Harishankar of Bargarh district, he had conceptualized and weaved the original saree.

They had produced only four pieces of mathematical equation saree towards the end of 2017. “The weavers had sent one piece to Kalabhumi museum, reserved another for national awards and two others were used for marketing purposes. As the design had already come in the market, many weavers started replicating it in their looms, making some changes in motifs and borders,” Amrita added.

“Now the hard work has paid off when we see the actress praising the saree. It is a dream come true for all of us as we had been pursuing it for the last one year,” said Amrita adding that they had reserved the saree from the weavers by paying Rs 18,000.

“After coming to know that Vidya Balan would be portraying the role of real-life mathematical genius Shakuntala Devi, we contacted her team in August last year. The saree design had already reached us and we reserved it from the weavers after identifying it as a perfect match with Vidya’s role.”

After sending pictures of the saree, Vidya’s team asked us to contact us in April 2020. As there was uncertainty over release of the movie due to COVID-19, we contacted her team again in June, informed Amrita.

“This video in praise of Sambalpuri weavers that Vidya mam especially made, heeding to our request, was for encouraging our weavers who work so hard and are suffering all the time — and more so during this pandemic,” she said.

Utkalamrita has been working as a brand of Sabat Exports for the last five years and the aim is to get global recognition for Odisha weavers. This is just one step towards achieving that, Amrita believes.

Also Read:[Watch] Vidya Balan Wears Sambalpuri Saree For ‘Shankuntala Devi’ Promotion, All Praise For Odisha Artisans

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