Photographs | NUNO OLIVEIRA (DEU: Creative Management), Hair | FRANCO VALLELONGA (Faze Management), Make-up | AKGUN MANISALI (Inega), Stylist | AESHA MERCHANT, Model | TORANJ KAYVON, Assistant Stylist | RUCHI KAPOOR, Production | CHANDNI NAIR (Dandelion Pictures), Photo Assistant | JEET RAM KUMHAR, Fashion Intern & BTS | SRISTI KUMARI
Tempting Affair Drop-shaped white gold earrings studded with Forevermark diamonds.
Jewellery | DIAMOND TREE Gown | CANNES D’OR
Little did we know that when we first met fashion photographer Toranj way back in 2013 for an editorial shoot that she would one day be gracing the cover herself. We immediately fell in love with her vivacious spirit, positive energy and prodigious talent. She is among the best when it comes to capturing the facets, sparkle and glitter of diamonds—evident from the fact that she has shot five covers for ADORN in these years. Toranj has also blossomed into a fine actor; she was seen in Manmarziyaan (2018) and will now appear in the upcoming film Kesari (2019), in which she has pivotal role. We chose this rising star in our midst for the March-April cover, and she once again worked her magic with diamonds – only this time, in front of the lens.
You left your home in Canada to pursue your dreams in Mumbai. It was a courageous move. How has the journey been so far?
I left Vancouver, Canada, to work in Mumbai for a year, as I had planned. That one year extended to seven because I love my life in Mumbai!
You have shot so many cover features for Adorn. What do you prefer – being behind the lens or in front of it?
As a creative person, for me to be able to tap my creativity, I need to be acutely attuned to the present moment and all that it has to offer — and the sensation of being able to be completely present in the ‘Now’ is a mental high for me — I experience that both behind and in front of the lens.
Facing the camera for the editorial shoot with ADORN was delightful because I have been working with you all for so long behind the lens— it just felt so amazing and warm and fun! I’ll never forget how special my first cover (in front) was. Thank you so, so much ADORN!
How did you land up getting roles in Bollywood?
They say it’s all about who you know, and I know so many people in Indian cinema at the top of their game – actors, directors, producers, casting directors, all on a personal level because of my work as a fashion photographer. However, the role that I got in Kesari (2019) had nothing to do with those associations.
One of my acting teachers heard about the role when he happened to be with Jogi Mallang sir, the casting director of Kesari, and suggested my name, so I auditioned. I never thought I would be doing a film with Dharma Productions, so I was floored when I got the call, almost immediately post my audition.
Kesari is a mega movie. How was your experience working with stars like Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra?
Working in the film has been one of the happiest experiences of my life. I worked only with Akshay sir for my scenes in Kesari; I didn’t get a chance to shoot with Parineeti this time. Again, I cannot express in words what an incredibly joyful experience shooting with the Dharma team, Akshay sir and my director Anurag Singh has been.
At times, in between takes, I would catch myself wiping my tears secretly from the amount of joy I was feeling. Working with Akshay sir was a blessing, he was so supportive and so funny — he truly is a star because he lights up the set — or in our case, the Himalayas! 🙂
Tell us about your role as Gulwarien in the movie?
I play the role of an Afghani girl, Gulwarien in the film, so I had to learn Pashto — which is a very unique language unlike any other — it was challenging for sure, but I loved every minute of it.
You are a non-Hindi speaking actor. Have you overcome the language barrier?
I have an innate knack for languages; I’ve always been interested in etymology and have a natural inclination to pick up languages and accents. At the moment, I am working on my Hindi and loving learning about all the similarities it has with Persian because of the Urdu influence in both languages.
I’ve learned to read Devanagari lipi as well. There are a lot of grammatical similarities between my mother tongue, Persian, and Hindi, so picking it up has been fun. I’ve understood that every language has its own culture, so it’s not just about delivering lines but understanding the energy behind the words that is encoded in the culture and people. Because of the cultural similarities between India and Iran, where I was born, I can feel the life behind Hindi.
I just really feel like everything I am and have experienced in life, just pointed me towards India — I don’t feel like a foreigner. I’m in India, and India is in me.
How did you become a fashion photographer?
I chose to be a fashion photographer because I have always loved fashion. I secretly watched runway shows when my parents were away and I would design my own sketches — I started when I was 9. So by the time I was 14 or 15, I was styling my friends, doing their make-up and taking photos of them around Vancouver. I just love fashion… it’s a big part of who I am.
Tell us about your experience in India, especially Mumbai?
I think one of the things I love about India is the warmth among people. Friendships and support go very deep here — it’s one of the major reasons I love India. I always say, I learned what friendship is from Indians.
Do you own any favourite piece of jewellery?
The first diamond that came into my life was a beautiful platinum diamond necklace for my 17th birthday from my aunt. I still wear it today and everyone who sees it wants one! It’s just so timeless and elegant and goes with everything!
Do you love diamonds?
I love both simple diamonds that I can wear daily and statement pieces! I’m a fashion girl… bring on the diamonds!
Vulnerable Charm Floral gold organic earrings suffused with Forevermark diamonds.
Jewellery | NIKKAMAL JEWELLERY HOUSE Outfit | NANDITA THIRANI
Hypnotic Gaze Mismatched gold peacock earrings and a haath phool patterned with Forevermark diamonds.
Jewellery | NAC JEWELLERS Dress | ZARA
Urban Princess Linear gold earrings suspending drop-shaped motifs encrusted with Forevermark diamonds; an arresting necklace punctuated with geometric patterns sparkling with Forevermark diamonds.
Earrings | KAYS JEWELS Necklace | NAC JEWELLERS Gown | KARLEO
Statuesque Beauty Floral ear studs and necklace shimmering with Forevermark diamonds.
Jewellery | MEHTA AND SONS Gown | RHEA RASTOGI PILLAI
Slaying It Stylishly Linear floral danglers ornamented with Forevermark diamonds.
Jewellery | KIRTILALS Dress | THE SOURCE