January 2018 saw the National-Award winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh curate the look for Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat. In January 2019, she came up with the look of Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray in the movie Thackeray directed by Abhijit Panse and presented by Sanjay Raut.
In fact, last year she had four successes in movies such as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, Umesh Shukla’s 102 Not Out, Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk and Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun. Now she has a tough trail to follow. Will she be able to maintain the success streak this year? By the looks of it, the feat seems possible.
The lady is soon going to be talked about all over again for various looks she has designed for Ali Abbas Zafar’s film Bharat, John Abraham in Robbie Grewal’s RAW (Romeo Akbar Walter), Vivek Anand Oberoi in Omung Kumar’s film PM Narendra Modi, all the old and young looks in Nitish Tiwari’s Chhichhore, and for Southern actor Ataharvaa Murali in the Tamil film Boomerang.
And as if that isn’t enough, her work will be showcased in many more flicks such as Kangana Ranaut-starrer Panga directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Nawazuddin Siddiqui-Radhika Apte-starrer Raat Akeli Hai directed by Honey Trehan, and Om directed by Sartaj Singh Pannu (earlier, Preetisheel bagged the National Award for her first film Nanak Shah Fakir helmed by Sartaj).
And then there is the multi-starrer Housefull 4 having Akshay Kumar, Kriti Sanon, Riteish Deshmukh, Kriti Kharbanda, Bobby Deol, Pooja Hegde and Rana Daggubati as the new laugh-riot team in this Sajid Nadiadwala production, directed by Farhad Samji.
The list doesn’t end here either. After working with Bhansali Productions for Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat, Preetisheel has just been signed for the makeup and prosthetics for two more of their projects. Attagirl.
San Francisco-based singer, composer, writer, lyricist, choreographer and philanthropist Madhuri Murliis all set to release her new music single Pehchaan, recorded at Audio Garage, Juhu, on her recent trip to Mumbai.
Madhuri describes Pehchaan as a song “about accepting who you are, being your own best friend, and a cheerleader for your dreams and aspirations. It’s about falling in love with your own self.” The lady also plans to come out with an enchanting video of the song and promises it “will touch chords in people’s hearts.”
What’s more! While in Mumbai Madhuri had her first-ever gig at Adagio in Bandra, where she sang some of her original compositions like Tera Khuda and Khushi, apart from mashups of some famous Bollywood numbers such as Teri Deewani (Kailash Kher) and Nachdi Phira (Secret Superstar) to a mesmerized cheering audience.
It is interesting to mention here that apart from her passion for performing arts, Madhuri is a computer science engineer by degree and a product marketing manager by profession at a tech company in Silicon Valley.
She has come a long way and not many have known about her journey. Her dad was an aspiring singer, but she lost him early in life to an accident. Heartbroken, but gritty — as a tribute to her dad — Madhuri finally launched a philanthropic music and dance brand called Flute Theory in California. Taking to live singing and performing, she slowly but steadily formed her own dance group and began singing and performing.
Today, Flute Theory partners with NGOs and donates most of the earnings from its shows to noble causes such as upliftment of underprivileged children, empowering women, relief funds, cancer associations, and even donating to the families of Indian martyrs via the Indian government’s initiativeIndia’s Bravehearts (Bharat Ke Veer). Must say, these are huge strides which began with small steps from a daughter out to make her father feel proud. Attagirl!
After Bajirao Mastani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali repeated Preetisheel Singh for Padmaavat. She designed the looks of
all the main starcast including Ranveer
Singh (as the evil ruler Alauddin
Khilji), Deepika Padukone (as
the legendary queen Padmavati) and Shahid Kapoor (as the Rajput ruler Ratan Singh). Viewers and film critics
alike, have been awestruck with the results, with Preetisheel emerging the
undisputed No.1 make-up, hair and prosthetic designer in the film industry.
Videos of look tests during the making of Padmaavat:
She has worked on Nawazuddin
Siddiqui’s look earlier too in the movie Mom, where her make-up and prosthetic work was highly appreciated.
She has also done the make-up and prosthetic for actors in films
like Shivaay, Haider, Hawaizaada, Housefull 3, Rangoon, Brothers, Talwar, Finding Fanny, Parched, Ghayal Once Again, Bhavesh Joshi Superhero
and the Tamil/Hindi film 24.
She received the ‘National
Film Award for Best Makeup’ for the pre-Mughal historical epic Nanak Shah Fakir based on the life of Guru Nanak, wherein she designedthe looks for all the characters in
the movie. The film has recently re-released through Viacom18 Motion Pictures amid controversy.
of creating believable ghost-figures for the recent horror film House Next Door has also been praised a
lot. The film, which released in three languages (as House Next Door in Hindi, as Aval
in Tamil and Gruham in Telugu)
garnered critical acclaim and once again earned a lot of positive reviews for
Preetisheel also received a lot of acclaim once again, for her work in the film 102 Not Out directed by Umesh Shukla. Shedesigned the looks for Amitabh Bachchan as a 102-year-old man, as well as for Rishi Kapoor playing his 75-year-old son. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrks9Zu0f1w
More recently, she received abundant praise once again for working
on Rishi Kapoor’s look of a devout
Muslim in Anubhav Sinha’sMulk. https://bit.ly/2zvKG5a
After a success hattrick with Padmaavat,
102 Not Out and Mulk, shehas also begun
receiving a lot of offers down South. She is handling the make-up and
prosthetic for the upcoming Tamil film Boomerang,
where she is working on the looks for famous Tamil actor Ataharvaa Murali.
has created the look for Nawazuddin
Siddiqui’s in Thackeray… the
biopic being made on Shiv Sena
supremo Balasaheb Thackeray. The
film is scheduled for a January 2019 release.
Coming up next is the look of Vivek
Anand Oberoi in and as PM Narendra
Modi. The first look poster of the film was recently released, generating a
lot of discussion and debate in mainstream as well as social media.
is also working on John Abraham-starrer
RomeoAkbar Walter (RAW) directed by
Robbie Grewal, Kangana Ranaut-starrer
Panga directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Salman Khan-starrer Bharat directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, and
Nitesh Tiwari’sChhichhore with an ensemble lead cast.
Shehas also set up
India’s first make-up and prosthetic lab called Da Makeup Lab and her goal is to bring standards of make-up and
prosthetic in India at par with Hollywood.
What happens when an amazing dance team works along with a group of tiny heart stealers to come together and help raise funds for underprivileged girls in India? Sheer magic.
that’s what San Francisco-based Madhuri
Murli, along with select students of the philanthropic platform Flute Theory, managed recently —
dancing for a cause. The group partnered with Sneha Karma Foundation, an initiative to support underprivileged
girls, to raise funds through dance and music.
Its four-week ‘dance for a cause series’ culminated into Ariel Dance Production’s informal showcase and recital in California, featuring popular Bollywood songs like Dilbar which featured Nora Fatehi in a scintillating avatar in the John Abraham-starrer Satyameva Jayate,and Sooraj Ki Baahon Mein from the Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar, Katrina Kaif, Kalki Koechlin-starrer Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
“Flute Theory supports the mission of Sneha Karma Foundation that is committed to helping girls through academic education, skills training and professional development, until they become independent and self-empowered,” informs Madhuri Murli.
product marketing manager by profession at a tech company in Silicon Valley,
she has been spearheading the Flute Theory platform along with passion for
singing, writing, composing and stage performances.
If music is the medicine of
the mind, supermodel-actor turned DJ Zulfi
Syed may have been the greatest spin doctor to begin this year. 2019 took a
flying start for many Mumbaikars as they rocked at the Lower Parel hotspot
Tamasha at its New Year Bash, with Zulfi at the DJ booth.
the party started during the early part of the evening, Zulfi played some
soulful and groovy music at just the right volume — all while slowly and steadily
upping the pitch and tempo and building it to the crescendo by midnight. This
created a nice vibe that got everyone in the mood, with the party revelers
going crazy over the beats on the dance floor.
night featured everything you could think of — big international hits from Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Drake, Taylor Swift, Adele, Eminem, Kesha, Anne-Marie, Pharrell Williams, Maroon 5,
Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande, combined with Bollywood dance blockbusters from Arijit Singh, Atif Aslam, Sonu Nigam, Honey Singh, Armaan Malik, Benny Dayal,
Ankit Tiwari, Mika Singh, Rahat Fateh Ali
Khan and Vishal Dadlani.
year is made up of mixed times and mixed feelings, so we’d decided not to go by
any particular theme for the new year party,” says Zulfi.
wanted it to reflect the ups and downs of life, so after a soothing and groovy
start, I played anything and everything that randomly came to my mind. There
was no plan, no agenda; except that it had to be a lot of maddening fun. It
worked, and how!!,” he beams.
year, she added classics like Padmaavat,
102 Not Out, Mulk and Andhadhun to
her kitty, and we thought it was one of the best years for India’s No. 1 makeup,
hair and prosthetic designer Preetisheel
Singh. But now, the National Award-winning
lady has many more aces up her sleeve this year too.
out Preetisheel has a plethora of exciting movies starting with the Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Thackeray releasing this month. She is all
set to design the look of yet another high-octane political drama — none other
than the Vivek Anand Oberoi-starrer PM Narendra Modi.
first look poster of the Modi biopic launched this week has already generated
enormous interest on social media; with fans and trolls alike, having jumped
into the fray with an almost animalistic frenzy. Gee 😉 No wonder, its instantly
a hot topic for discussion and debate in mainstream media too.
that’s not all about Preetisheel’s new assignments. For the John Abraham-starrer Romeo Akbar Walter (RAW), she has given
the hunk a variety of getups; something everyone is very tight-lipped about for
now. And then there is Bollywood’s biggest megastar Salman Khan-starrer Bharat,
which reunites Salman with filmmaker Ali
Abbas Zafar and Katrina Kaif
after their blockbuster Tiger Zinda Hai.
talent will also be showcased in the Kangana
Ranaut-starrer Panga and the Atharvaa Murali-starrer Boomerang.
that’s not all! Her makeover journey will take another huge turn with the Dangal director Nitesh Tiwari’s forthcoming project Chhichhore where she gets to design different looks for Sushant Singh Rajput and Shraddha Kapoor along with an ensemble
lead cast, seen in their young and old getups. With so much to look forward to,
Preetisheel almost makes staying put at the top, look easy.
National Award winning makeup, hair and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh, who has designed the looks for characters in many acclaimed films like Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Andhadhun and 102 Not Out, wants to take look designing in Bollywood to the next level.
Emerging as the undisputed No 1 in her profession, she is craving for more and more challenges. “Since my teens, I have been a big movie buff and mostly fascinated by the fantasy genre. I landed up being a software engineer, but in one way or the other, my heart was always into the art form,” confesses Preetisheel.
“Two of the initial movies which left an impression on me were Chachi 420 and Planet Of The Apes. The transformation of all the characters were absolutely brilliant. I realized that doing something like that would be a dream come true for me.”
Preetisheel, who received rave reviews for her work in the Tamil science fiction thriller 24, says that when she sees Hollywood film series such as Avengers, Fantastic Beasts, Harry Potter or even movies like Avatar, Batman, Wonder Woman or even a Jumanji, she wonders why we can’t attempt similar subjects in Bollywood. “I guess, the time is just right and we can safely take the leap,” she says.
Though she points out that it’s challenging to execute prosthetics in India, mainly due to lack of FX material supplies, Preetisheel says she stocks up raw material whenever she gets a chance.
Because of this shortage, she along with her husband Mark D’souza have also set up India’s first makeup and prosthetic lab called Da Makeup Lab in Mumbai; a special effects makeup studio, which caters to prosthetics, body painting, tattoo work and character designing. “The goal is to bring standards of makeup and prosthetics in India at par with Hollywood,” concludes Preetisheel.
Coming up next are more innovative looks she is designing for films like the Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Thackeray, Atharvaa-starrer Boomerang, John Abraham-starrer Romeo Akbar Walter (RAW), Kangana Ranaut-starrer Panga, Salman Khan-starrer Bharat and the film Chhichore with an ensemble lead cast.
San Francisco-based Madhuri Murli, along with select students of the philanthropic platform Flute Theory, have raised over thousand dollars in funds from a Bollywood live song and dance series in California recently.
“The team worked hard to perfect each move on stage, stayed late nights, practicing to help each other and stay synchronized as a team,” says Madhuri.
“The performances were bigger than us. We touched lives and transformed the way we can give back to our brave Indian soldiers for their sacrifices, in an effort to come together as one family. I’m proud to say that we raised more than $1000 (over 70,000 rupees) that we will be donating to the families of Indian martyrs via India’s Bravehearts (Bharat Ke Veer) initiative,” she informs.
‘Bharat Ke Veer — India’s Bravehearts’ is Indian government’s homage and support initiative to pay respect to the brave hearts who have laid down their lives in the line of duty. Madhuri and her team is thrilled at the “amazing response” received. “It was so worth all our efforts,” she concludes with a smile.
Her team acknowledged Madhuri’s efforts with glowing words. Thanking her for her “awesome choreography and vision,” Ritu Chhabriya said she was “lucky to be part of the dance show.” Abhilasha Choudhari stated that “it was another amazing performance and that too, for a heart-warming cause.”
Neha Semlani thanked Madhuri for inspiring her and giving her the opportunity to get back to dancing. “I’m fortunate to be a part of a worthy cause. Thanks for always pushing me to do better and making our dance routine so much fun,” she said. Sweta Mehta echoed the sentiments saying, it was an “honor to be a part of this great cause.”
Life for Zulfi Syed couldn’t be better! Ever since the supermodel-actor turned DJ, he has been gallivanting all over the world doing what he loves — playing music.
Recently, Zulfi headed to Prague, the capital of Czech Republic, where he razzle-dazzled an elite corporate audience comprising of GM Electricals staff. The trip arranged by Harvey India, gave Zulfi a “unique experience of understanding how Bollywood is viewed by Eastern Europe.”
“The folks there are crazy about our music and culture. Just like yoga, most westerners love the mention of Bollywood,” quips Zulfi, who also got a chance to visit the illustrious John Lennon Wall there. The wall dedicated to the co-founder of The Beatles, is filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles’ songs.
Prague seems to have got our desi dude so excited that he headed to Budapest in Hungary for another assignment, driving straight for five hours at a stretch. “Honestly, time and distance hardly seemed to matter as I passed beautiful farmlands, which made me nostalgic as they reminded me of my hometown.”
Not many are aware that Zulfi hails from Coorg in Karnataka and belongs to a family of farmers of coffee plantations.
Salman Khan is known to be one of the most charitable actors in Bollywood. He is often said to personally help poor and needy people in and around Bandra where he resides. His charitable organization Being Human is at the forefront of helping the helpless and underprivileged. But not many may be aware that what Salman is to Bandra, Radhe Maa is to Borivali.
She not only helps the poor with clothes and students with books, but also indulges in various animal care activities from time to time. This Diwali, apart from running a campaign for a noise-controlled Diwali and green crackers, Radhe Maa took to the streets in Borivali (the burgeoning suburb of Mumbai where she resides), to distribute shawls, sweets and gift hampers to slum dwellers.
Most of the people living in hutments and shanties knew her, as she is a regular there with charity visits. But many were surprised that Radhe Maa was wearing a green outfit, instead of the traditional red attire she is normally seen in.
When asked about the reason behind the change of colour, she said, “We celebrate Diwali on this day as Lord Ram, returned to Ayodhya after completing fourteen years of exile in the woods and defeating demon king Ravana. It was a victory of light over darkness and good over evil.”
“Just as hariali (bliss) returned to Lord Ram and his family, I am also celebrating a colourful Diwali by breaking away from the norm,” she said with a smile.
In support for the Supreme Court decision on Diwali firecrackers this year, Radhe Maa launched her own campaign ‘Pyaar Wali Diwali’ which emerged a huge success.
In and around Borivali suburb in Mumbai, where she stays, Radhe Maa propagated the cause with hoardings, posters and banners saying, “Say no to firecrackers this Diwali.” She even ran Twitter posts with hashtags #PyaarWaliDiwali and #Safediwali.
Her campaign included posters showing cows, birds, cats and dogs; pointing out how troubling it is for pets and other animals to tackle noise created by firecrackers, Diwali bombs and rockets. “Saying no to firecrackers will show that you care for animals. Teach your children to be kind to animals. They will grow up being kind to people,” read the message on her posters. Her campaign for a noise-controlled Diwali was welcomed by most residents in the city.
Though a thick haze engulfed Delhi after Diwali celebrations, Mumbai skies were relatively clear and the pollution and smog levels were lower than most years in the past. “It’s a significant development, but just a beginning. Much more work needs to be done by us as a society too,” said Radhe Maa.
“In future, we should all take more effort and care that the two-hour time-slot for firecrackers is strictly adhered to. Also the green firecrackers initiative needs to be implemented by all,” she added.
“We all have to work together to make our world a better place for us, as well as for plants and animals. Because all of this plays a major role in our ecosystem,” she concluded, promising that she will continue campaigning for reduction of noise pollution as well as for animal care.
After a hattrick this year with Padmaavat, 102 Not Out and Mulk, National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh is once again on a high with the success of AndhaDhun. Here’s an interesting tête-à-tête with the lady.
What was so special about AndhaDhun compared to the other films you have handled makeup and prosthetics for?
This movie did not require heavy prosthetics like many of the other movies that I have done, but giving Ayushmann (Khurrana) a blind look required a special kind of lens. The lenses were custom-made for the character to make it seem realistic. These are not the ordinary lenses that you get in the market, these are ‘Scleral lenses’ that cover the entire visible part of your eyes. The only downside to these are that they blur your vision, but Ayushmann was really co-operative and did an amazing job considering he actually couldn’t see much.
Is it easier or more difficult to design characters where the character does not have a prototype; like caste, creed or historical relevance?
I wouldn’t say difficult, but it is more time consuming, as they don’t have pre-set look-traits that I can use to build up a character. It’s the little background details like where they grew up, what is their religious background, what are their habits, what do they like or dislike — small things like this help maneuver and create a character design.
Did the fact that you have worked with Ayushmann Khurrana earlier make your job easier?
Ayushmann is a fantastic actor to work with. The fact that I’ve worked with him in the past has helped build a rapport with him that makes the environment more comfortable to work in, for both him and me. He is a very positive and fun person to work with. There were a lot of constraints on him due to the lenses, but he still worked brilliantly with them and made it all seem so easy.
Sriram Raghavan is considered to be quite a meticulous director. Was he very demanding with the looks?
Working with Sriram Sir was like a dream come true, because I grew up watching his movies like Ek Hasina Thi and Johnny Gaddar. And working on a thriller was on my check list which is finally ticked off. He had a very clear vision in his head as to what he wanted and when I presented him with the designs, we both were on the same page. So that made both the discussion and the execution very smooth.
How was it working on the other characters in the movie?
It was really interesting creating the different characters because every character has a significance in the movie. Going through the script, I could slowly visualize what the characters would look like based on the role they had. And there was a lovely lineup of actors cast for the movie that fit the characters perfectly making my job a lot easier, as it’s easy to conceptualize something when you have a face in mind. And having worked with many of them on previous projects, it was a smooth sailing in terms of execution.
Were you expecting such rave reviews for a movie with such an unusual storyline?
Guess the tradition created with Sriram Sir’s movies lives on. He always comes up with brilliant stuff and it shows on screen.
Runaway successes put more pressure on everyone. How do you deal with that?
The pressure sometimes becomes very overwhelming when the expectation levels continue to shoot up. The best thing to do is keep creating with a steady and calm mind with regular de-stressing breaks.
Which was the most difficult character to work on for AndhaDhun?
Ayushmann’s character was a little tricky, especially working with the lenses. I wanted to design something that would justify the character and give it a very realistic look, so that took a little time. And every character was important in their own aspect so due diligence was given to each character.
How are you going to celebrate the success of AndhaDhun? Do you take breaks after each success?
I would love to take a break, but sadly my work is not permitting of that. I am currently working on a couple of other projects and they’re keeping me busy. Maybe a nice little dinner with my team to celebrate the success of AndhaDhun is something that I see happening soon.