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.”
The nation is facing the probability of a longer lockdown than 21 days, or even curfews during the Coronovirus aka COVID-19 outbreak. While people are stuck in their houses, they are increasingly watching movies and surfing the net. Most Indians are looking up to their idolized Bollywood personalities, who are cheering them up once again this week.
Quoting Charles Darwin, megastar Amitabh Bachchan wrote the following lines on Twitter: “It’s not the strangest who survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Not to forget to mention that Big B is one of the most active desi filmstars on social media and his tweets and posts are revered by fans.
T 3483 – "It's not the strangest who survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. " ~ Ef k
असमान्य होने से आप अपने आप को जीवित नहीं रख सकते ; न ही बुद्धिमान होने से ; जो बदलाव के लिए सम्वेदनशील होते हैं , वो अपने आप को जीवित रख सकते हैं ~ अब pic.twitter.com/4qYTHtOVcq
Katrina Kaif, who earlier posted videos of her mopping and cleaning her house and even doing the utensils during the social distancing of Coronavirus times, said, “Hope everyone is staying safe… please follow all precautionary safety measures as recommended by the health professionals… exercise and meditation help your body’s immune system… keep your environment clean and happy.”
Ace makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh asked everyone to show restraint and compassion in these tough times. “The world is going through troubled times right now and it seems like we cannot do anything about it, but remember, it’s the little things that will get us all out of this big difficulty,” she wrote on the Instagram account of her company, Da Makeup Lab.
“It’s the care, the love, the strict adherence to social distancing, and a sense that together we can overcome it. That is what will ultimately bail us out. So keep calm and fight on,” added Preetisheel.
Leading filmmaker Karan Johar tweeted: “You know what to do! You know how critical it is! You know about self isolating, washing hands, social distancing, you know it all!”
You know what to do! You know how critical it is! You know about self isolating, washing hands, social distancing , you know it all! Then ….do yourself a favour and just don’t read any more corona updates for a few days! Just happy and elevating news! Do this for yourself !
“Actress Kajol kick-started her career in the showbiz in the 90s when the PR machinery was not in force. In the 90s, it was all about how actors conducted themselves in front of the media without the help of any PRs,” says an article on Bollywood Bubble.
However, Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar has reacted in disagreement. “It’s incorrect to say that strong PR didn’t exist in the 90s. I’ve myself handled more than a dozen clients at any given time during the 90s too,” he tweeted.
“Though Kajol is a diva, Bollywood Bubble seems to be bumbling with ignorance about entertainment PR,” laughs Dale, who has handled the media for Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty, Priyanka Chopra and films like Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Don and Farhan Akhtar-starrer Rock On!!, apart from being a crisis management specialist to umpteen Bigg Boss contestants over the years.
“During the 90’s, there have been great PRs such as Gopal Pandey, RR Pathak, Raju Kariya, Ajit Ghosh, Hilla Sethna, Keshav Rai, Harish Sharma, Susheel Sharma, Peter Martis, Parag Desai, Indermohan Pannu, Shahid Khan, Arun-Gaja and Rajendra Rao.”
“They have planned elaborate publicity campaigns, advised and guided actors with image-building, have been an integral part of PR strategies, and wielded much more influence on media than most of the current publicists. I know, because I have been there,” says the publicist who started out in PR in the 90s and went on to become a trendsetter.
Dale is one of the few actively surviving Bollywood publicists of that time and still leads the PR brigade in innovation. A simple search with his name brings up thousands of web results. The PR expert points out that public relations existed in tinsel town much before the 90s. “Bollywood PR has been thriving since the days of Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Sunil Dutt and Dilip Kumar,” remarks Dale, who also handled personal PR for Dev Anand as well as his last film Chargesheet.
“We have had PR greats such as VP Sathe whose publicity agency had a monopoly over media campaigns in the 50s and 60s. And then Bunny Reuben, who handled the PR for Raj Kapoor and films of Yash Chopra, BR Chopra, Basu Bhattacharya and GP Sippy. It’s been boom-time for PRs all the way since then.” Point taken.
Soon after Tripura’s new Chief Minister Biplab Deb launched a scathing attack on Miss World 1997 Diana Hayden, her ex-publicist Dale Bhagwagar has come to her defense. Dale counters Deb on Diana saying, “I am not in touch with Diana from a few years, but I bet she is way too much smarter than how the Tripura CM wants to portray her.”
A few days ago, Biplab Deb had claimed there were internet and satellite communication systems in Mahabharata era, with his comment causing much debate on Twitter as well as national media.
This week, the CM launched an intense attack on the fashion designing and cosmetic industry and taunted women who have won international beauty pageants. “In all of Tripura, I see so many beauty parlours. It’s an industry, it’s a business,” he remarked.
Speaking at a public event, Deb singled out Diana saying, “Even Diana Hayden got it (the world title). See, everyone is laughing. Tell me, was Diana Hayden supposed to get it?”
“Aishwarya Rai got it. That’s justified, because she carries the essence of the beauty of Indian women. Indian beauty is all about Goddess Laxmi, Goddess Saraswati. Diana Hayden does not fit to that class of beauty,” Deb stated.
Bollywood PR Dale Bhagwagar who has worked with Diana for a long time promptly reacted saying, “I don’t know why Mr Deb is suddenly targeting Diana, but what he is stating, lacks merit. Diana is a complete new-age woman — smart, caring, intelligent, intellectual, well-read, attractive and beautiful. She has a magnetic charm and warmth in her personality.”
“After being crowned Miss World, she has actually gone and done real charity work for years together, something many pageant winners only speak about during their crown-seeking days,” he added.
It can be noted here that Dale has handled the PR for maximum number of title holders, including names such as Diana Hayden (Miss World 1997), Nikita Anand(Miss India Universe 2003), Pooja Batra (Miss India International 1993), Priya Gill(Miss India International 1995) and Priyanka Chopra (Miss World 2000).
According to monthly rankings of celebrities on ‘mobile social media’, Amitabh Bachchan, John Abraham and Neetu Chandra have featured among the top ten voice bloggers of the country.
“Voice blogging is not only a fantastic concept but a unique opportunity for actors to directly connect with their audiences. When I began, I had no idea it would be so much fun and such a huge success. Now sometimes, I even reveal little secrets about my life and career on my voice blog,” says an elated Neetu Chandra.
The other names in the top ten category include Sonu Nigam, Lara Dutta, R.Madhavan, Ravi Kishan and Harbhajan Singh. Closely following the top ten names, are celebrities like Priyanka Chopra (a new entrant to the concept), Emraan Hashmi and Riya Sen.
The results are based on Bubble Motion’s voice blogger rankings and showcase India’s most popular voice bloggers based on their number of followers across top of the line service providers like Reliance Communications and Bharti Airtel.
To follow a voice blogger, fans dial a short code on their mobile phone and pay a monthly subscription fee. They are notified by SMS whenever a voice update is recorded by the bloggers they’re following.