National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh who has designed the looks for actors like Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, recently got to work with superstar Nagarjuna.
Starting off curating his look for a promo of Telugu Bigg Boss some time ago, she looks forward to work with him again. “Till last year, I was really looking forward to meeting Nagarjuna Sir, as I have grown up watching quite a few of his movies. When I finally did meet him, I found him to be such a warm and welcoming person,” says Preetisheel, complimenting the superstar who will be completing 35 years of his career next month.
“You wouldn’t expect such humility from a person of his stature but he is one of the most humble and grounded stars I have ever met. It was a pleasure working with him and I really hope that we work together again,” she adds.
For the record, Preetisheel Singh has earlier worked for many popular Bollywood films such as Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Chhichhore, 102 Not Out, Mulk, Bala, Andhadhun and Housefull 4. Along with her work partner-husband Mark D’souza, she has also set up India’s first makeup and prosthetic lab called Da Makeup Lab in Versova, Mumbai.
Today, Preetisheel Singh is a super-accomplished lady. The makeup, hair and prosthetics wiz who received a National Award for her work in Nanak Shah Fakir has worked with the who’s who of the industry, including Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh. The No. 1 look designer of Bollywood has been an integral part of huge box-office successes such as Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Chhichhore, 102 Not Out, Mulk, Bala and Housefull 4.
Recently, in an article in the famous Indian-American publication India West, Preetisheel revealed how she started out and how Kamal Haasan’s look of a woman in Chachi 420 inspired her to enter the world of makeup, hair and prosthetics. Here is an excerpt from the article by veteran journalist Rajiv Vijayakar:
Born to a Sikh family in Pathankot, Singh repeatedly calls her parents “brilliant” for their unconditional support and encouragement at all times. She exults, “After I completed my B. Tech. in Engineering (Electronics & Instrumentation) in 2004, I was hired by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), but I soon realized that I was not wired for such jobs. I was giving my 100 percent, but there was nothing standout that was really happening! I told my mom I wanted to quit, and she just said, ‘Do whatever makes you happy!’”
Her parents are film fanatics and that led to Singh being floored by the 1997 “Chachi 420.” “I was blown by Kamal Haasan’s look as a woman! I came to know that they had to call in foreign technicians for it. I also started digging online into what goes into such prosthetic make-up, initially only just for knowledge. And then I thought, ‘What if I myself do all this?’”
At that time, as luck would have it, TCS had posted her in the US, and Singh resigned, invested all her savings into an expensive six-month course at the Cinema Make-Up School in Los Angeles, and in 2010, arrived in Mumbai, putting up with her sister. She made strategic rounds of producers every day, with contacts derived from JustDial—the Indian search engine.
Predictably, the response was disheartening. Most filmmakers had no clue about her special skills and no requirements either because they did not understand how different she was from the average make-up artiste. But make-up veteran Anil Pemgirikar, who is 70-plus, saw her work, praised her and promised that he would put in a word for her wherever possible.
In 2012, came her first small assignment: of a swollen eye for Akshay Kumar in “Joker,” a film that went unnoticed by the audience. That portion was shot in Chandigarh, and then came the designing of the mutants in “Krrish 3,” under U.S.-based make-up whiz, Mike Stringer.
After finishing her work on the film, in which she helped on the mutants, the production person offered her peanuts as payment and Singh refused to accept the meager remuneration. The person was furious and demanded, “Who do you think you are? Miles Stringer?” Singh recalls, “I told her not to talk to me that way, I don’t owe her anything. But she went on shouting, so I went and told Mike. He got so furious he blasted the person, saying that without me, the mutants would not have been ready on time.”
Gradually, word-of-mouth spread and she got “Nanak Shah Fakir” and “Haider.” The former needed six months prep and she was given a bungalow where she set up a full lab. “I had to do aging for men, make someone’s face fat, show a leper, a chopped off part of a body and so on.”
National Award-winning look designer Preetisheel Singh, who has designed looks for Bollywood biggies like Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, John Abraham, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shahid Kapoor, Ayushmann Khurrana and Ranveer Singh, has now teamed up with South style icon and superstar Allu Arjun for his upcoming film Pushpa, creating a look which already has the masses anticipating more.
The makeup and prosthetic designer has done a lot of detailing, including colour, tan, and a hairstyle to match the rugged bearded look of Allu Arjun with piercing eyes. The actor recently shared the first look of the film on social media and the poster instantly went viral.
What’s more! The poster emerged the most liked first look on Twitter with more than 84.k likes in 24 hours. Currently, it has 17.3k retweets and 98k likes on the micro-blogging site.
According to the grapevine, the film is based on red sandalwood smuggling and set in the backdrop of Seshachalam forest, the hilly ranges part of Eastern Ghats in southern Andhra Pradesh. Directed by Sukumar, Pushpa is touted to be an action entertainer, with the shoot being planned after the nationwide Coronavirus lockdown is lifted.
Known for her transformational work in Bollywood, Preetisheel also owns and operates India’s premier outfit Da Makeup Lab along with her partner Mark D’souza.
While Chhichhore has crossed the 200 crore mark, and Housefull 4 is roaring at the box-office with a collection of 53.22 crore in just three days, another movie of National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic character designer Preetisheel Singh is doing stupendous business.
Bigil is the latest blockbuster from Tamil film industry Kollywood’s megastar Vijay, who has become synonymous with Diwali releases in the South, as Rajinikanth is with Pongal or Salman Khan is with Eid in Bollywood. Recently, Shah Rukh Khan described Bigil as Chak De on steroids.
For the movie, Preetisheel has designed two looks for Vijay in a double role, one a footballer and the other as a gangster. “Bigil was a very exciting project as we had to do two different generation looks,” says Preetisheel.
“Vijay Sir doesn’t speak much but is a gem of a person. My experience with him has been amazing. He is very welcoming and very easy to talk to,” she quips, adding that she has curated another look with him for a movie which will go on floors soon.
Preetisheel has earlier achieved a hattrick a year ago, when three of her movies Padmaavat, 102 Not Out and Mulk hit the bulls eye. In recent months she has also garnered abundant praise about her work for Andhadhun and Thackeray.
She has been behind some of the best looks of a plethora of top Bollywood stars like Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Deepika Padukone, Kangana Ranaut, Madhuri Dixit, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Ranveer Singh, Salman Khan, Shahid Kapoor & Sunny Deol.
Her work will soon be seen in forthcoming movies like the Nawazuddin Siddiqui-Radhika Apte-starrer Raat Akeli Hai, Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer Bala, Kartik Aaryan-Bhumi Pednekar-starrer Pati Patni Aur Woh, Sunny Singh-starrer Ujda Chaman, Kangana Ranaut-starrers Panga and Dhaakad, and Bhansali Productions’ Tuesdays and Fridays.
As Shah Rukh Khan’s Chennai Express rolls in this week, select cinema halls in the country will have audiences getting a taste of some delicious snacks from different Indian states.
If you are wondering how, we can let you in on a little secret. The exhibitor chain Rathi Group of Cinemas has tied up with the 60-year-old Kolkata-based company Mukharochak Foods to offer popular snack dishes like jhaal muri from Kolkata, kabuli chana chaat from Delhi and bhel from Mumbai at some of their theaters in their cinema hall chain.
Starting with Rohit Shetty’s Chennai Express starring SRK and Deepika Padukone with a special song dedicated to none other than Rajnikanth, the mouth-watering experience will extend to Milan Luthria’s Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Dobaara! (OUATIMD) starring Akshay Kumar, Imran Khan and Sonakshi Sinha; closely followed by Prakash Jha’s Satyagraha starring Amitabh Bachchan with Ajay Devgn and Kareena Kapoor.
OUATIMD producer Ekta Kapoor is kicked about the idea! “It’s a novel initiative in elevating the viewer’s movie-watching experience,” she quips.
Akshaye Rathi, the brain behind the association with the Kolkata-based company, sums it up saying, “Indians are passionate about films and food, so it can’t get better than offering the best of both worlds”. Indeed, with path-breaking marketing concepts such as these, Bollywood sure is on a fun romp.