Preetisheel Singh D’souza’s multiple avatars for Chiyaan Vikram in Cobra captivate imagination of fans!

Southern superstar Chiyaan Vikram’s fans are going berserk over his varied intriguing looks in the upcoming film Cobra. The actor has been sporting multiple getups and the trailer of this much-anticipated multilingual action thriller has created a kind of frenzy with his followers. Directed by Ajay Gnanamuthu, the film has music by AR Rahman released on Sony Music South.

Moreover, with the recent pan-India mega successes of Southern blockbusters like KGF and Pushpa, the anticipation has reached even further. The striking transformational avatars of Chiyaan Vikram have been curated by none other than character designer Preetisheel Singh D’souza, who heads India’s No.1 hair, makeup and prosthetic studio Da Makeup Lab.

Sharing her thoughts on social media, Preetisheel had earlier posted a video of some of the appearances with a caption that read, “One man, different avatars.”


It gave a little insight about what went into the making of the various look transformations the actor underwent for the movie.

Earlier, the National Award-winning character designer Preetisheel has given us stunning makeovers for stars in films like Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Gangubai Kathiawadi, Housefull 4, Chhichhore as well as Pushpa: The Rise.

In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that her efforts for Cobra has taken the creative work to an all new level, matching Hollywood standards. Chiyaan Vikram is unrecognizable in his various avatars, with his unique looks contributing to an amazing screen presence — something seen to be believed.

Da Makeup Lab elated at the super success of Ranveer Singh’s transformative looks

A few weeks ago India’s foremost hair, makeup and prosthetic studio Da Makeup Lab (DML) embarked on a new mission — to curate unique looks for Ranveer Singh for the FreshToHome #NoShortcuts ad campaign having funky ads.

 

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The studio is very happy that not only were Ranveer’s looks accepted by the public, but that the ad campaign was a huge hit with people. “It’s really great to see that our work has been appreciated and the ads are such a huge success,” says Mark D’Souza, business head and partner at DML.

 

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“Ranveer is always a pleasure to work with as he is open to new ideas to experiment. Plus, he is a very easy-going person and gives complete freedom when it comes to curating looks,” adds Preetisheel Singh D’souza, creative head and partner at DML, who character-designed his looks for the ads.

This is not the first time Da Makeup Lab has woven magic with Ranveer. They first designed his looks for the Sanjay Leela Bhansali superhit Bajirao Mastani, where Ranveer played the role of the Maratha warrior Peshwa Bajirao I. Then, for another Bhansali blockbuster Padmaavat, where he played the intimidating pre-Mughal era emperor Alauddin Khilji. His character design as Khilji was a rage and Ranveer rocked in the role.

 

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Apart from FreshToHome, DML has also worked on Ranveer as an adi-manav for the Set Wet hair gel ad, as well as a character with a large head and swollen nose for the Vicks Inhaler ad.

 

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Moreover, DML has provided its services for some of the biggest box-office blockbusters including movies such as Chhichhore, Housefull 4, Bigil, Master, Gangubai Kathiawadi and Pushpa: The Rise, which has made it the undisputed leader in makeup and prosthetics for the entertainment industry in India.

The outfit, run by the National Award-winning character designer Preetisheel Singh D’souza along with her partner-husband Mark D’souza, has its state-of-the-art studio situated in the upmarket Mumbai suburbs of Versova.

What’s more! The coming months are expected to be as exciting for the studio as the earlier years. Coming up are thrilling looks for Shah Rukh Khan in the much-awaited movie Jawan. SRK’s unique character with his bandaged and bruised look in the teaser has already got fans curious and excited for more.

Da Makeup Lab rolls like an unstoppable juggernaut

The success streak of India’s No.1 hair, makeup and prosthetic studio Da Makeup Lab (DML) has been no less than amazing. The outfit, run by the National Award-winning character designer Preetisheel Singh D’souza along with her partner-husband Mark D’souza, is a state-of-the-art studio situated in the upmarket Mumbai suburbs of Versova.

DML has provided its services for some of the biggest box-office blockbusters including movies such as Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Chhichhore, Housefull 4, Bigil, Master, Gangubai Kathiawadi and Pushpa: The Rise.

But that doesn’t stop Team DML from constantly experimenting and upping the bar. Moving like an unstoppable juggernaut, the studio keeps creating and innovating at a pace like no other.

Check out the studio’s Instagram page and you will realize the quantity of unique projects they are working on. Here are a few from their monthly activities.

One of the most interesting things DML has done in recent times is the wounded warrior look of Shah Rukh Khan in the upcoming film Jawan. SRK’s unique character with his bandaged and bruised look in the teaser has definitely got fans excited and curious.

 

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In fact, DML has designed all the characters for Jawan directed by the famous Atlee. This is also the first time the studio is working with Shah Rukh Khan.

 

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Talking about variety of character designs, yet another interesting flick to watch out for, is Cobra. In this Tamil action-thriller, Southern superstar Chiyaan Vikram will be seen in many astonishing avatars designed by DML.

 

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Even the new poster of Cobra is no less stunning. Sporting a retro avatar here, Vikram is seen adorning a funky printed shirt with suspender pants, stylish glasses and hair tied backwards, adding just the right amount of retro vibe to his overall ensemble.

 

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DML recently created a stubbled look for Ranveer Singh for a quirky character of a salesman he plays in advertisements for the fish and meat delivery marketplace FreshToHome. Check one of the ads here:

 

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But that’s not all. As a regular practice, DML keeps working on different experimental projects as a warming-up for the lab’s in-house team. And some of these projects are really interesting and intriguing. Like the creation of this cute silicone baby prop. It’s really fascinating to see how a mould is filled up, followed by the process of unveiling the prop.

 

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A similar video about how a body double prop is created for movies. Just imagine the scenes in movies where such props come of immense use.

 

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And last but not the least, is this scary prosthetic character of a tantric-turned-rakshasa created for Qayamat Ki Raat on Star Plus. As the Insta video caption goes, there is “terror in his eyes and evil in his bones!” You gotta see it to believe it.

 

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Versatile actress Pranali Sanghmitra Bhagwat dreams of working in offbeat cinema

“We are in a diverse country with a diverse social history. Films are a very strong medium of spreading awareness and strengthening the fabric of society,” says the versatile actress Pranali Sanghmitra Bhagwat justifying a reason to seek out offbeat films.

Pranali, who recently made a debut in the commercial mystery-comedy Ek Number Super, remarks that she wants to play all kinds of characters, but also has a liking for unconventional films with a strong social message.

Ask her about her favourite directors and she promptly replies that she dreams of working with filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap, Nagraj Manjule, Mira Nair, Gauri Shinde and Neeraj Ghaywan.

“They make such wonderful socially sensitive movies which have entertainment value, along with portraying deep and strong realities. It’s like showing the mirror to society and making the journey entertaining at the same time,” says Pranali.

And what does she like to do in her spare time? “I love to dance,” says the actress who actually began dancing at the age of two. She danced at home and then in school and later did workshops in Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Bollywood dance.

She even got selected and trained by Shiamak Davar’s dance academy in a Special Potential Batch. Pranali has taken formal training in Hindustani classical singing for four years during her school days, performed in various theatre plays later, trained in contemporary dance and even learnt acting at Kishore Namit Kapoor’s acting institute.

In fact, Pranali is so attached to dance that she frequently attends international dance workshops with Shoonya Dance Centre in Belgium.

We wish this focused and talented actress the best and hope she fulfills all her dreams.

How to get a work-from-home journalism internship in India?

By Smriti Tuteja

The web is your best friend when looking for a work-from-home journalism internship in India. LinkedIn and other job portals are ripe with internship opportunities for journalism freshers and students.

Alternatively, students can also look for internships through websites of media groups. Dale Bhagwagar Media Group is currently offering a 2-month online internship opportunity in India.

While it is an unpaid internship, there is unlimited scope for learning and growth. It is a great chance to work from home and gain exposure to the functioning and operations of the media industry.

If war shapes boundaries, art shapes cultures, says Pratyusha Chhajer

Dance should be above politics and wars, she feels.

Ballet dancers and academies all over the western world have been protesting against the random sanctions put on them due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Concerts, dance recitals and exhibitions have been postponed indefinitely after the recent Russian intervention in Ukraine.

“It is unfair to sanction an academy in the West or Europe just because they have a Russian name or follow a Russian style of dancing or have Russian dancers training there. That is arbitrary but that is what is happening with many right now. We are all being judged for having any Russian connection,” says the owner of an academy in the West who does not want to be named.

Entrepreneur Pratyusha Chhajer of SS Ballet Academy in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, concurs. “The conflict is not good. No one is disputing that. However, I agree that to sanction a place, just because some of the teachers are Russian or they follow a Russian style of ballet dance, is misplaced.”

Though there are no sanctions on any Russian form of dance in India, Pratyusha is disturbed by this trend of ‘cancel culture’, especially when it comes to cancelling art forms. “Dance, just like music, is a universal language. Without having to speak, humans can express themselves through dance. Let’s not forget that if war shapes boundaries, art shapes cultures. Thus art should be above politics and wars.”

“Dance is the rhythm of moving leaves, dance is the rhythm of flowing water, dance moves to the rhythm of breeze — dance is  everywhere. Dance is within you, dance is outside you. So we should work in the direction of preserving culture, performing arts, traditions and heritage for our future generations,” she concludes.

India’s SS Ballet Academy leading the way with online dance classes

Who thought there would come a time when the world would almost be stranded inside their homes. But the pandemic and its lockdowns brought in new realities and even ushered in a new era of Work From Home.

But as the old saying goes, ‘All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy,’ people soon realised the ill effects of a sedentary virtual lifestyle. And that’s when, out of the blue, a whole new concept of an online education of dance took birth.

Online learning suddenly seemed to be more exciting than ever. And though dance requires more of a person-to-person interaction in teaching, dance teachers and academies around the world, did find ways to teach it through the computer and mobile screens.

One such academy is SS Ballet Academy (SSBA) headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Founded by entrepreneur Pratyusha Chhajer, SSBA follows the Vaganova Method of ballet dance, which was made internationally famous by Russian ballerina Agrippina Vaganova.

Starting out in Indore, SSBA shifted its headquarters to Ahmedabad recently and plans to expand, with branches in Mumbai and Delhi in the near future. It is a member of the internationally prestigious Conseil International de la Danse (CID) certification, which is an official partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (popularly known as UNESCO).

Talking about the online dance classes boom, SSBA’s founder Pratyusha Chhajer says, “Online classes not only offer a great opportunity to learn a new dance form, but also build confidence of the students, that too, while they enjoy the comforts of their home atmosphere.”

“Though it’s not the most ideal way of learning dance, it offers an opportunity to many outstation students who can’t manage to come to a new city to learn,” she remarks.

SS Ballet Academy aims to train newcomers and continue to take professional dancers under their wing, to help them reach a world stage.

“The online classes have given them a new chance to opt for distance training and continue their dream of becoming ballet artists,” adds Pratyusha. She further informs, “Inspite of the challenges, we are happy to have a good strength of ballet dancers joining SSBA and continuing their practice with us. They have been participating in different examinations and getting onto the next level.”

As soon as the pandemic situation gets completely normal, SSBA will restart the regular classes, but has decided to also continue with online classes.

Da Makeup Lab expands workspace with additional studio

Da Makeup Lab (DML), India’s number one makeup and prosthetic design studio, is in an expansion mode. Located in the posh Versova locality of Mumbai, it has fast emerged as the leading outfit for makeup and prosthetic requirements in the entertainment industry.

The premier state-of-the-art studio has opened a new workspace to incorporate more projects. Apart from its main facility, a workforce of around 25 skilled workers have begun lending their talent at the new facility in Versova itself, to create some of the amazing looks produced by the lab.

The rising

Led by makeup and prosthetic character designer Preetisheel Singh D’souza along with her work and life partner Mark D’souza, DML has curated looks for some of the biggest movies in Bollywood.

It’s profile includes names such as Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, 102 Not Out, Housefull 4, Mom, Bala, Chhichhore, Bunty Aur Babli 2, the Southern megahit Master and the recent blockbuster Pushpa: The Rise. The lab has also curated looks for various advertisements featuring names such as Madhuri Dixit, Akshay Kumar and Ranbir Kapoor.

Creative genius

Preetisheel Singh D’souza has won the ‘National Film Award for Best Makeup’ for the pre-Mughal historical epic Nanak Shah Fakir. She has been featured by international media among the top 5 makeup and prosthetic designers in the world, along with Hollywood stalwarts such as Kazu Hiro, Christian Tinsley, Jordu Schell and Neill Gorton.

Her creative genius in the field has worked like a Midas Touch for many a movies, some of them emerging as the biggest box-office blockbusters of recent times.

Force behind the workforce

The company’s co-director Mark D’souza has a degree in Design Studies from the prestigious Griffith University in Australia. Earlier, he dabbled in VFX and animation. While his wife Preetisheel handles the talent and artistic departments of the studio, he handles the business and is the backbone of the company.

Mark’s guidance and expertise has helped DML witness tremendous growth in clients and has led the transformation from its initial days, to the full-fledged state-of-the-art makeup and prosthetics company today.

The future is here

The coming year will also see Da Makeup Lab launching a school for select students of the art. And as if all this isn’t enough, DML has various new projects lined up for release in the coming months. The firm has handled the makeup and prosthetics for top artistes in upcoming films like Gangubai Kathiawadi, Bachchhan Paandey, Ram Setu, OMG 2 and more.

SS Ballet Academy raises bar for ballet dancers with CID certification

The SS Ballet Academy (SSBA) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat has just revealed some interesting secrets that their students can benefit from. SSBA is a member of the internationally prestigious Conseil International de la Danse (CID) certification, which is an official partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (popularly known as UNESCO).

SSBA students are now privileged to benefit from a whole lot of advantages. They can work on dance activities and events in India and have joint projects with students of other countries. They can take part in CID programmes as well as in meetings and activities of CID members.

In fact, CID encourages and forwards news for interaction with other CID members to their colleagues and students for more growth opportunities for their members.

Pratyusha Chhajer of SS Ballet Academy

SSBA students can even contact CID members before travelling to another country. They can seek a briefing and get assistance about dance programmes ahead of their journey to those countries. This is possible as CID has a vast network of professionals and operates like one big family.

But probably the most important benefit the students of SS Ballet Academy get from the CID certification is that CID validates the SSBA dance classes and provides a universal stamp of legitimacy to the academy’s students.

For the record, SS Ballet Academy was launched by its founder-director Pratyusha Chhajer four years ago to train and develop professional dancing. Named after Pratyusha’s children Samyan and Shonaya, SSBA follows the Vaganova curriculum method of ballet. It is a style of ballet training created by Russian ballerina Agrippina Vaganova, who became a highly renowned ballet teacher and has authored the book Basic Principles of Classical Ballet.

This curriculum method is marked by a fusion of the classical French style (specifically elements from the romantic era), with the athleticism of the Italian method, combined with the soulful passion of Imperial Russian Ballet.

SS Ballet Academy focuses on virtual dance classes to tide over pandemic

Dancing through the pandemic, literally

Ballet in itself is a unique dance form for India. On top of it, the pandemic presented a huge challenge to the newly launched SS Ballet Academy (SSBA), which started out in Indore, Madhya Pradesh and shifted headquarters to Ahmedabad, Gujarat. But its business model has fast evolved with the introduction of online classes.

“Although we all hoped that lockdowns wouldn’t come, we quickly prepared for them and transitioned to online classes via virtual methods such as Zoom and Google Classroom. Its worked out fine for now,” quips entrepreneur Pratyusha Chhajer, director of the academy.

She admits to have drawn inspiration from a lot of other people in the industry and dance schools across the globe, who were all forced into lockdowns. “Initially it seemed difficult. But gradually as we started believing in the idea, there was this shift in mindsets that dance classes could be conducted virtually,” she remarks.

Pratyusha also mentions that the dance industry is actually lucky that online classes can be so successful with the right teacher and right programme. “To keep making headway, learn and succeed in these exceptional times, is a huge challenge in itself,” she adds. True! It’s not only helpful to students to keep their minds creatively occupied, but also in learning a new universally acclaimed art form.

“Though virtual dancing lessons may not always be an ideal choice, it sure has opened new avenues for now and given opportunities and hope to many who feel stagnated or had their growth stunted due to the pandemic,” points Pratyusha. “They have now got this unique chance to train and grow, dancing through the pandemic, literally. And that’s an opportunity they are cherishing,” she concludes.

SS Ballet Academy follows the prestigious Vaganova Method in ballet dance. Recently, Pratyusha also conducted an informative interview with a prominent award-winning ballet teacher Fethon Miozzi of Vaganova Ballet Academy, based at St. Petersburg, Russia.

It can be noted here that SSBA has recently received certification from the internationally prestigious Conseil International de la Danse (CID); an official partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (popularly known as UNESCO).

The academy is offering certification courses and classes to students who wish to excel in ballet dance. Though the classes are currently being conducted online, the academy is gearing up to resume offline certification courses soon. After Indore and Ahmedabad, SSBA plans to expand its branches to Mumbai, Delhi and other cities across the country.

Preetisheel steals hearts with Bunty Aur Babli 2

Bollywood’s most lovable crooks are back with Bunty Aur Babli 2. The trailer is out and the film is about to release soon. While Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan are playing the senior con artistes, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Sharvari Wagh are the upstarts who are out to rob the ‘brand name’ of the original pair.

While the various looks of the much-awaited film are the talk of the town, one person who is really really happy with the tremendous response is makeup and prosthetic character designer Preetisheel Singh D’souza. The lady who is known for creating transformative looks for actors in numerous films like Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Housefull 4, Haider, Rangoon, Mom, 102 Not Out, Thackeray, Bala and Chhichhore, has once again outdone herself curating various looks for Bunty Aur Babli 2.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride,” quips Preetisheel, who recently also acquired a lot of critical acclaim for the various characters played by Divya Agarwal in the ALTBalaji web series Cartel. “When the pandemic hit, everyone was worried about the pace of the film industry. But the way things are picking up, it’s as if we are rolling at double the speed. And I for one, am not complaining,” she cheerfully adds.

Of course she has all the reason to celebrate. It’s been one of the most momentous years for her. Chhichhore won a National Award for best film, her Tamil action thriller where she curated the look for Southern superstar Vijay broke box-office records, and apart from Bunty Aur Babli 2, she has got yet another huge project in Allu Arjun’s multilingual Pushpa: The Rise – Part 1 coming up for release.

For the record, apart from being the No. 1 hair, makeup and prosthetic look designer in Bollywood, she runs India’s premier outfit Da Makeup Lab along with her partner husband Mark D’Souza. The lab’s building is a landmark in the posh Versova locality of Mumbai.

SS Ballet Academy proud to follow the Vaganova Method

Entrepreneur Pratuysha Chhajer who is the director of SS Ballet Academy (SSBA) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, is proud that her academy follows the prestigious Vaganova Method. Recently, she also conducted an informative interview with a prominent award-winning ballet teacher Fethon Miozzi of Vaganova Ballet Academy, based at St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Indian academy has recently received certification from the internationally prestigious Conseil International de la Danse (CID); an official partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (popularly known as UNESCO).

The Vaganova Method is a ballet technique and training system devised by the Russian dancer and pedagogue Agrippina Vaganova (1879-1951), who became a highly renowned ballet teacher and has authored the famous book The Foundation For Dance (more commonly known as Basic Principles of Russian Classical Dance).

Representational image

The method was derived from the teachings of the Premier Maitre de Ballet Marius Petipa, throughout the late 19th century. Agrippa Vaganova who perfected and cultivated this form of teaching classical ballet, turned it into a viable syllabus.

The Vaganova Method fuses elements of traditional French style from the romantic era with the athleticism and virtuosity of Italian Cecchetti technique. The method emphasizes development of strength, flexibility, and endurance for the proper performance of ballet.

The training system is designed to involve the whole body in every movement, with equal attention paid to the upper body, legs and feet. Vaganova believed that this approach increases consciousness of the body, thus creating a harmony of movement and greater expressive range.

Pratuysha Chhajer, director, SS Ballet Academy

In India, the SS Ballet Academy (named after Pratyusha’s children Samyan and Shonaya), was founded three years ago, to develop and train professional dancers. Starting operations in Indore, it became the first academy to introduce ballet to Central India. SSBA has now moved its headquarters to Ahmedabad, an economic hub with great cultural diversity in the vibrant state of Gujarat.

Certification courses and classes are available for students who wish to excel in ballet dance. In view of the pandemic, classes are currently being conducted online on Zoom and Google Classroom. However, the academy is gearing up to resume offline certification courses soon. After Indore and Ahmedabad, SSBA plans to expand its branches to Mumbai, Delhi and other cities across the country.