Mizos thrilled as bamboo dance costume stands out


NEW DELHI: Mizos all over the world were over the moon on Sunday night when a young lady wearing a traditional dress from the state led the Indian contingent, including Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra, at the opening ceremony of the XIXth Commonwealth Games. According to Anna Singh, the costume designer of the show, the idea was to make the Indian placard holder stand out. “The original idea was to dress the Indian placard bearer in a white pochampalli saree but then it looked very repetitive. That’s when we thought about the traditional dress and it looked so different,” she said.

Anna, a two-time national award winner for costume design for her work in Taj Mahal and Umrao Jaan, said it was very difficult to source the dress. “Since there is no Mizoram emporium in Delhi, it was very difficult to get the outfit. In the end, we had to send one person to the hill state,” she said, adding that the traditional Mizo dress is worn by dancers who stage Cheraw, a colourful and distinctive art form. Legend has it that Cheraw, a dance of satisfaction and redemption, is performed to ensure a safe passage for the soul of a mother who dies at childbirth. However, these days, it’s performed on all occasions.

Anna, who also figures in the Guiness Book for her work in 900 movies, said once they were exhausted with all the types of sarees from regions, sub-regions and textures, they had to look for traditional dresses. “Besides Mizo we also included the traditional dresses from Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab,” she said.

“The only one outfit we couldn’t accommodate was the traditional dress from Ladakh. The headgear of that outfit is very heavy and it would have made it very difficult for the placard bearer,” she added.

Since Cheraw features in the Guiness Book for being the biggest bamboo dance, the state’s outfit also got noticed, a website from the state reported. On March 12 this year, Mizoram’s Cheraw entered the record book with a 10-minute performance by 10,736 participants.

“It was a proud moment for many Mizos as it was for the first time a woman from the North East was holding the Indian banner during a major event,” the website said.

“Sonia Gandhi must have surely recognised the dress. She wore it when she went with Rajiv Gandhi to Mizoram,” said Moi, a Mizo girl who lives in Munirka.

Clarification | In Monday’s edition, it was wrongly reported that Indian placard bearer wore a Naga dress.

~ THE TIMES OF INDIA

The erronous news can be read here
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