New Delhi, Feb 25: He has styled the hair of film stars like Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan and Shahid Kapoor, creating a niche for himself in the field. Celebrity stylist Aalim Hakim now feels proud to see his profession getting respect around the world.
"I think hairstyling as a profession has changed immensely. Hairdressers are becoming celebrities. Also, creative satisfaction is there so parents want their kids to be hairdressers, unlike past. It was more of a time-pass thing a few years back, but now many people want to get into creative field whether it is hairdressing or designing," the 38-year-old Aalim told IANS.
Today, Aalim has salons across the globe, in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Dubai, by the name of Hakim's Aalim Hair n' Tattoo Lounge.
Aalim had initially harboured a dream of becoming an actor, but eventually realized that his passion lay in making others look good.
"I was a child when my father passed away and my uncle initiated me into the profession. However, during my college days, I was confused about what do and there was a time when I wanted to be an actor," he said.
"I tried my hand in theatre with my classmates Shreyas Talpade and Vivek Oberoi, but then life had something else for me. I slowly realized that my passion lies in making people look good and then it all started," he added.
Aalim's father Hakim was a hairstylist and boasted of clients like Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Dilip Kumar, Sunil Dutt and Vinod Khanna.
Getting away from father's shadow was not easy for Aalim.
"I got a lot of respect from the industry. Salman (Khan) with whom I was working during 'Baghban' days introduced me to Amitabh Bachchan. The moment Mr. Bachchan got to know that I am the son of the person who styled him, he hugged me and asked about my family. There is a lot of respect after what dad built during his entire career," he said.
"But the respect only helps in initial stages, rest we have to build ourselves. It can help you get first chance but not the second chance," said the hairstylist who is geared up for his show "Style Inc. with Aalim Hakim", to be aired on TLC starting March 8.
Aalim picked up the reins of hairstyling at the age of 16 and his first Bollywood project later.
"My first Bollywood project started in 1993-94 when I took the styling of Chandrachur Singh for the movie 'Maachis'; then I took Manoj Bajpayee's styling for 'Satya' and gradually things started shaping up. Ajay Devgn in 'Omkara', 'Singham' and 'Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai', Ranbir Kapoor in 'Rockstar' are some of my favourite works," he said.
Aalim's upcoming projects include "Aurangzeb", "2 States", Emraan Hashmi's look in "Ek Thi Dayan" and "Ghanchakkar", Ranbir Kapoor's "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani" and Salman Khan's look in "Mental".
He feels hairstyling is getting prominence in Bollywood thanks to experimental scripts.
"The industry is very professional now and actors think of each scene. They want their look to be honest, not overly done-up. Earlier stars were seen in same hairstyle for 30 long years but now script demands new look in every scene; for instance, I tried to give Ranbir seven to eight looks in 'Rockstar' and this varied from his college look to musician look," Aalim said.
"As films are getting realistic, hair also plays an important role in making character. We don't want to see them in the same way all through life," he said.
And what is the worst part about his profession?
"When people come with a request to be like someone. It happens everywhere. They are inspired by celebrity styles and this is the very sorry part. People need to believe in their own style. It is very important to revive things but in a contemporary way," he said.
(Nivedita can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)