Chennai, Jan 19: A make-up artist's job on a film set goes far beyond merely beautifying actors, says Subhash Shinde, whose association with the Hindi film industry dates back to two decades.
He says the primary objective of a make-up artist is not to titivate a film's characters, but to bring them alive on screen.
"Every character in a film has a look and the most important job of a make-up artist is to bring that look to do complete justice to the character. Our job is not merely to beautify actors, but to understand their looks and match it with the respective characters such that they come alive on screen," Shinde told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
"When the story of a film is written, its characters are visualised first by the writer or director. The look of the characters is decided even before casting. After the director zeroes in on a look for the characters, it's the turn of the make-up artist to take the onus," added the 36-year-old.
Shinde's love for the brush and colours started at a very young age.
"I have been interested in painting and sketching as a kid. As a result of this, I had great control over the brush in my hands. I believe getting people ready is also a kind of art and I enjoyed doing it. I didn't go to any school, but I had assisted renowned make-up artist Pandhari Juker for eight years," said Shinde, who has worked on films such as "Black", "Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi" and "Patiala House".
With over two decades of experience, Shinde believes a lot has changed in the make-up departments in the last decade.
"Thick makeup was used in the past and it was very evident on the face of actors. But nowadays, you can't even make out if a character has makeup on the face or not because we make it look very normal," he said.
Elucidating with an example from his recent work in "Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela", Shinde said: "In 'Ram-Leela', I had to bring a very dusty look with a heavy shade of tan. In order to do that, I had to add some oily shade such that the dusty look stayed on the characters and also looked natural at the same time."
Furthermore, a lot of research goes into make-up, said Shinde.
"For 'Ram-Leela', we had to work on a Gujarati tattoo on the characters. Sanjay Leela Bhansali and I spent months researching on the exact look of it. Therefore, the research finally depends on the look of a character," he said.
He also believes that an interaction with actors before starting work on a character aids a make-up artist to a great extent.
"After a character is explained to me, I go and meet the actor who is playing it. I spend time scanning through his or her make-up and hair products. I also try and find out about their skin condition because make-up usually stays on their faces for a minimum of 10 to 12 hours, so it's important to know if they have oily or dry skin," he said.
Having worked on stars such as Supriya Pathak, Richa Chadda and Rani Mukerji, Shinde says it makes him happy that stars trust his work.
"Actors are aware that they will be the ones on screen. Therefore, they are constantly concerned about how they look, but about 90 percent of the time they trust my work and give me a lot of freedom. However, they do request me to make changes when they feel the need," he noted.
He also regularly works on Bollywood diva Sridevi for advertisements and promotions.
In between his Bollywood commitments, Shinde also takes out time to work on fashion weeks.
(Haricharan Pudipeddi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)