Rising to fame at his own speed and with a lot of authencity in what he does, we have one of the most class-apart makeup artist in a fun conversation at STRUT 24×7. Let’s look at his inspirational journey from the start. 

Q. So how did it all start for you? What was your first job in the makeup industry? How did your career in makeup artistry begin?

A. My journey started as an artist. I was always associated with the creative field where I used to paint, make greetings, and sketch. It was when one day when one of my friends saw my work and told me to try my hands in make-up. That’s when I was introduced to Bollywood’s veteran makeup dada Pandhari Junker who was already a big name film industry. He is my Guru and I owe my career and whatever I am today to him. I have learned everything from him. 

Q. When did you decide that this is the job for you? 

A. Under dada’s guidance, I got a chance to work with leading beauties of Bollywood like Madhuri Dixit. I used to not earn much at that time. Just mere Rs. 50 a day was what I started with. I would save that money and buy make-up products. It was Pooja Bhatt who gave me my first break as an independent make-up artist in her movie ‘Zakhm’. Later bagging more projects and working with many actresses like Sushmita Sen, Tabu, Mahima Chaudhry, Preity Zinta helped me gain confidence in my work. Now I am associated with Priyanka Chopra for many years. We started with Agneepath, went on to doing Barfi, Gunday, Teri Meri Kahani, Bajirao Mastani, Mary Kom which came as a turning point in my career

Q. What is it that you love about your job? 

A. The creative freedom while creating any new look is the most satisfying job as a makeup artist. Giving new looks every time is the most I enjoy as a make-up artist. With every new look, there is a lot of research involved and that is when I get to learn so much about new techniques. Every time there is something new to learn. 

Q. What is that you hate about your job?

A. I don’t really hate anything about my job but of course, every job has its challenges. Long working hours without breaks, staying away from families for too long, limited scope for experimenting. But I guess it’s a part of every job

Q. What’s your first makeup memory? 

A. It was Pooja Bhatt who gave me first break as an independent make-up artist in her movie’Zakhm’. I think recognition came to me when I started working with Sushmita Sen. I did her makeup for the song ‘ Mehboob Mere’ in the movie Fiza. My work was highly appreciated and it reviews from many known personalities. I got a lot of assignments after that.

Q. Also, we love how beautifully you curate looks for Priyanka Chopra one after another. Tell us more about that. 

A. With Peecee, I have worked for too long now and we are a strong team. I am fortunate to have worked with a person like her. She is a thorough professional, a workaholic, and a very balanced individual. The best part is she trusts me with my job and let me do the creative part. All the years working with her have helped me understand her skin very well. We discuss a lot before getting on to creating a look and this helps me take her inputs as well. She is a very warm person with her other colleagues as well.

Q. Also, her wedding looks broke the internet one by one. What was the thought process curating looks for each function? 

A. As mentioned before, we discuss every project and analyze the pros and cons, and the same was done for her wedding looks. She was very clear that she wanted to opt for minimal makeup that oozed royalty and simplicity. For her bridal makeup, we used a lot of splash of pinks like candy pinks, taupes, and fuchsia. She likes shades of berry or peachy-pink lipstick, especially with ethnic wear and she’s not afraid to pull off a dark lip and a smoky eye. We kept the rest of her face very natural—relaxing contouring of the cheekbones, a light pink blush, and a matte base. While she briefed us on what she wants but she also gave me a freehand to do the magic on her

Q. You have been doing make with Priyanka Chopra for years now. What has changed over the years? 

A. A lot of things have changed in the interim. Quality and variety of makeup products that are available in the market which were not there earlier. Now there are hundreds of shades available in lip colors and eye shadows which were very few when I started off. Actors take a keen interest in developing a character and do their own research as we do as makeup artists too. We plan and create looks and try to come close to perfection.

Q. What are the challenges in building a career linked to becoming a makeup artist? And what advice would you give to budding makeup artists?

A. Most of the people in India follow international make-up trends and try to copy. Spring/ Summer and other runway styles are tried and tested. I am not against this trend as even I like to read about them but what surprises me is that in this practice, one must retain the essence of originality. Make-up trends are evolved through personal experimentations and trials. They are logically put together well-thought methods, we follow for trying a new look.

Q. How is working for a film different than working on a brand or advertisement shoot? 

A. While shooting for films the character is developed with time and thorough research. Even if it is a fictional character we spend a lot of time reading and doing our own research and understand the script first. We invest time, hours in bringing that character to life. In this journey, there is a strong bond we naturally develop with the crew. On the other hand, with advertisement shoots, the duration of work is small, research takes place but not that extensively, the outcome is immediate and time-bound. Both are challenging roles in their own space. 

Q. Are there any particular philosophies that have guided your career decisions?

A. Learn from others but be original! 

Q. Tell us more about your experience working on films like Dil Dhadakne Do, Malaal, etc. 

A. For Dil Dhadakne Do, I used basic make-up since her character is a simple Punjabi Girl. For eyes, I used shades like brown, soft metal above the base make-up. For lips, I used a lot of moisturizer and gloss instead of Mat lipsticks. Pink, peach, plum, bright red sometimes dark brown were the hots colors that I picked up. I took good care of her skin because they were shooting under the bright sun most of the time. Foundation and base make up from Nars, Becca brushes, Makeup Forever’s eye shadows and Chanel’s Foundation are few products used to achieve the look.

Q. The best piece of advice given to you when you were starting and you follow it even today? 

A. My advice would be that hard work is the key. Keep doing your job with. Sincerity and try to give your 100% every time, leave the rest on God. I am sure it will be noticed by the industry like it did in my case.