Why We Can’t Stop Gushing over Eshna Kutty’s Saree, Sneakers, and Hula Hoop


Why We Can’t Stop Gushing over Eshna Kutty’s Saree, Sneakers, and Hula Hoop

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

While sarees and shoes might seem like an odd combination only building “aunties” sport, the pair has some new-found fame. Courtesy, 23-year-old Eshna Kutty.

In a now-viral video, a saree and sneakers-clad Kutty ups the hula-hoop game as she grooves to iconic Delhi 6 track “Genda Phool”. While she seamlessly switches from one hoop trick to another, thanks to her nearly ten years of training, it is Kutty’s infectious energy unrestrained in six yards that has won over the internet.

“[#sareeflow as a hashtag] had been on my mind for months,” the Lady Shri Ram College alumni wrote in her caption. “The intention was not to create the most sensual saree videos, but to feel so comfortable and happy wearing it without the pressure of being a delicate lady.”

While most of us struggle to get through our workday in a saree and barely have any hula hoop skills to boost, Kutty’s effortless fusion of both has left us in part-awe, part disbelief. But the dancer’s happiness has successfully resonated with many, one of them being the “Genda Phool” singer, Rekha Bharadwaj herself. “A treat to watch her graceful dance with such aesthetics Eshna Kutty is amazing,” the singer wrote in her tweet resharing the video originally posted by Rachna Kanwar.

It’s been three days and the post continues to be shared. What’s it about a girl in saree, sneakers, short hair, and a hula hoop that has floored millions of Indians?

Journalist Barkha Dutt has the answer: “Hope. Youth. Pizazz. Panache. Individualism,” she tweeted.

But mostly it is her saree swag. Often considered as something that binds you, watching Kutty break away from that stereotype is truly joyful.

A dance movement practitioner and a professional hoop dancer, Kutty did not expect her practice video to gain such popularity. She did not have a Twitter account prior to her viral video and first learned about the absolute chaos her saree hula-hooping moves had caused on the platform through her mother, journalist Chitra Narayanan.

The proud mom was full of support of her daughter, introducing her to the internet as the one who “sparked off a #sareeflow trend”.

Talking about the video, Kutty describes it as her merely being her “authentic self, just having fun.” The fact that it resonated with people and brought along a wave of positivity “was the best part about it,” she told The Indian Express.

However, this isn’t Kutty’s first attempt at #sareeflow. The dancer has weaved the saree into her hoop moves to add “a very unique twist to a global art form”, that is slowly picking up in India. “The video combines two things — a saree which is so integral to the Indian society, and hooping that is relatively alien to us,” she says. “Our generation is more free with their expression and I wanted to show that a saree, in no way, limits your moves!”

With the attention on #sareeflow, Kutty hopes to spotlight Indian hoopers. “Actually, I wanted #DesiFlow instead of #SareeFlow (to trend) because I wanted it to accommodate all traditional attires, and want even men to take up this art since hula hooping is still perceived as feminine flow-form,” she told Hindustan Times in an interview. While much is yet to be done on the hooping front in the country, the Delhi resident has taken it in her stride, training budding hoopers for the past five years now.

When she isn’t saree hooping, Eshna Kutty can be found ukulele hooping…

Making an appearance on TV…

Blindfold and hoops, anyone?

And playing with fire!

From Bollywood’s resident dance machine Hritik Roshan to Chitrangada Singh, Eshna Kutty and her #sareeflow have blown the minds of the many, with her video having garnered over 1.5 million views now. Mahindra group chairman Anand Mahindra called Kutty a “star”, and hoped to see “the #sareeflow movement grow.”

It has. Several women have shared their own versions of the saree-hula hoop challenge.

Let’s make the saree cool again.