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.”
India West, the numero uno publication for the Indian-American community in the US has featured India’s No.1 makeup and prosthetic wiz Preetisheel Singh, showering praises on her “exceptional innings” in Bollywood.
Giving references of Akshay Kumar’s character of Bala in Housefull 4, Ayushmann Khurrana as the hero in Bala, Sunny Singh in Ujda Chaman and many more, the article by veteran journalist Rajiv Vijayakar points out that look designer Preetisheel “specializes in making up the faces of those we know to look like someone we do not!” Adding that with Preetisheel, “it is not just about faces but the entire body, the persona.”
The article goes on to give more details. “Look at Bhumi Pednekar’s appearance as a dark and simple social worker in Bala and contrast her va-va-voom looks in Pati Patni Aur Woh and you know what Singh is up to in film after film. Remember also the plump body-suit of Maanvi Gagroo in Ujda Chaman.”
“The complete look design of every actor in Housefull 4 in the period portions and of every artiste in Chhichhore both in their 1990s youth and current middle-aged versions, the Tamil hit Bigil featuring Vijay in a dual role, and a treasury of past excellence in films as diverse as Bajirao Mastani, Shivaay, Padmaavat, 102 Not Out, Mulk and PM Narendra Modi shows that Singh is no ordinary achiever.”
“Exceptional innings in less than eight years sees Singh have no predecessor in Indian cinema,” the article analyses.
For the record, Preetisheel is a National Award-winner, having worked for huge box-offices successes such as Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Chhichhore, 102 Not Out, Mulk, Bala and Housefull 4, and designed looks for all the A-listers including names like Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor. What’s more! After conquering Bollywood, she is now exploring the Southern industry more and more.
When it comes to transformational looks and makeovers, National Award-winning hair, makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh is the undisputed No. 1 in Bollywood. She has also set up India’s first make-up and prosthetic lab called Da Makeup Lab at Versova, which has emerged a landmark. Here’s a list of the Top 10 looks she’s designed, which impressed every Bollywood buff. What’s more! Most of the films have emerged big money-spinners at the box-office.
The film had many characters which needed character designs as well as ageing. Preeetisheel had to keep that in mind while curating the looks. Plus, all the characters in the film were being drastically transformed in looks for the first time, which made her job all the more special. But she made sure that the looks matched their characters and also kept them as realistic as possible, which was loved by the director Nitesh Tiwari. Preetisheel designed multiple young and old-age looks for an ensemble lead cast. The film turned out to be quite spectacular. It went on to cross the Rs 200 crore mark at the box-office.
Designing the looks for Padmaavat led to creating the look of the evil ruler Alauddin Khilji (played with aplomb by Ranveer Singh), which turned out to be one of the most iconic villainous characters in Indian cinema, not just for the performance, but also for the look. Preetisheel’s looks for Deepika Padukone (as the legendary queen Padmavati) and Shahid Kapoor (as the Rajput ruler Ratan Singh) and the other cast of the film also earned her tremendous praise. Viewers and film critics alike, were awestruck with the results. Working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali was always special to Preetisheel (she had worked with him on Bajirao Mastani earlier), because she got all the creative freedom she needed. He trusted her work and that gave her the confidence to design something very unique and different. The film is reported to have earned Rs 585 crore at the box-office.
Bala was a film where Preetisheel designed the looks for both the main leads, which were totally transformed. The balding look of Ayushmann Khurrana was enjoyed by the audiences and so was the dusky look of Bhumi Pednekar. The film became a hit and was hugely accepted by the audiences all over the globe, grossing Rs 171.45 crore worldwide.
4) Nanak Shah Fakir
This film is very special to Preetisheel as it was her first film as a hair, makeup and prosthetic designer, and even bagged her the National Film Award for Best Makeup. A pre-Mughal historical epic Nanak Shah Fakir based on the life of Guru Nanak, required the most amount of prosthetics done in Preetisheel’s career. She designed the looks for all the characters in the movie. The film released and re-released amid controversy, but went on to become an landmark for its subject and theme. Reminiscing about it gives Preetisheel immense creative satisfaction.
5) Housefull 4
For Housefull 4, looks for all the period characters including those of Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Bobby Deol, Kriti Sanon, Pooja Hegde, Kriti Kharbanda and Rana Daggubati were designed by Preetisheel. Media went ga ga over Akshay Kumar’s bald look in the film and it received a huge opening. Akshay also complimented Preetisheel for her work. The song Bala Bala Shaitan Ka Saala too, emerged a rage. Housefull 4 grossed Rs 280 crore worldwide.
6) Bajirao Mastani
This was Preetisheel’s first movie with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. It gave her a chance to prove herself to him, as the maker focuses on the minutest detail. All the characters in Bajirao Mastani turned out outstanding and that’s what gave Preetisheel a masterful footing with period films. Especially, Ranveer Singh’s look as the Maratha Peshwa Bajirao earned Preetisheel good recognition. The film was reported to have grossed Rs 356 crore at the box-office.
24 was the first time she got a chance to work with Southern superstar Suriya. Preetisheel found him extremely down-to-earth to work with. 24 was hailed as one of the classiest movies in terms of looks and special effects, and went down in history as great fine art. She got to work with Suriya in more films later. The film earned 150 crore at the box-office.
8) Romeo Akbar Walter (RAW)
RAW had a lot of disguises on John Abraham who plays a spy in the film. That by itself was super exciting for the makeup and prosthetic whiz. She found him amazing to work with as he was very open to the idea of prosthetics and very patient getting into the various looks. Some of his disguises in the film were so good that even his fans could not recognize him in the movie stills which were released before the film.
9) 102 Not Out
Creating super-aged looks for Amitabh Bachchan (as a 102-year-old man) and Rishi Kapoor (playing his 75-year-old son) is yet another highlight of Preetisheel’s career. Working for this Umesh Shukla film was interesting for her, but she also admits that it was tense. Apart from their seniority, Preetisheel knew that both Bachchan and Kapoor had worked with some of the best international names in makeup and prosthetics. She did her best. Luckily, they loved the looks and so did the audience. Though the film was not a typical Bollywood potboiler, it earned a handsome 115 crore at the box-office.
Mom had an amazing script to start with and transforming the look for Nawazuddin Siddiqui for the first time was quite exciting for Preetisheel. His receding hairline and buck tooth look in the film, almost made him unrecognizable. The film was a success, earning 175 crore at the box-office. Preetisheel later worked with Nawazuddin again for the film Thackeray, where she transformed his looks into that of the Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray
India’s most bankable superstar Akshay Kumar never ceases to surprise his fans with various astonishing looks and avatars nowadays.
Starting with his Pakshi Rajan look in 2.0, Akshay once again stunned his audiences with his bold and bald look as Bala in Housefull 4. Earlier, he had also aced a ‘pregnant’ look for The Great Indian Laughter Challenge.
And now Akshay is back, with not one, not two, but three different looks, that too spanning generations — one of a son, another of a father and yet another, a grandfather.
The actor surprised and tickled his fans this week, when he put up a collage of the three new looks on social media with a tongue-in-cheek caption: “Ek se bhale do, do se bhale teen… Baap Re Baap, A Masaledaar entertainer coming your way soon. Watch out! #BaapReBaap”.
What’s more! Akshay has got everyone wondering in anticipation, keeping his fans guessing what the new looks are for and when we would be able to see more.
But grapevine has it that the three looks have been designed by National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh, who also curated the ‘pregnant’ look for Akshay in The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, as well as the sensational bald look in the superhit Housefull 4.
A master with makeovers, Preetisheel who has emerged as the most sought-after look transformation specialist in Bollywood, runs India’s premiere outfit Da Makeup Lab along with her partner Mark D’souza.
Close on the heels of the stupendous success of Nitesh Tiwari’s Chhichhore, National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic character design specialist is coming up with not one, two, but three stunners. And all the three films have taken the film industry imagination by storm.
Yes! We are talking about none other than the three baldie looks of Bollywood, which are the talk of the town from a while now. The wiz behind the looks of Akshay Kumar as Bala in the Farhad Samji-directed Housefull 4, Ayushmann Khurrana in Amar Kaushik’s movie Bala and Sunny Singh in Abhishek Pathak’s Ujda Chaman, is look designer Preetisheel Singh.
What has particularly surprised many, is the fact that inspite of all the three looks being of men going bald, Preetisheel has deftly designed them in a way that all of them look ending different on the screen. While Akshay has an imposing mouche to go with the look, Ayushmaan has a receding hairline, and Sunny Singh has a moustache and stubble to match his balding look.
It can be noted here that Preetisheel even received accolades for her transformational look makeovers in movies like Padmaavat, Mom, 102 Not Out, Mulk and Thackeray some time ago.
She is now excited for her forthcoming releases which include an interesting mix of movies like the Nawazuddin Siddiqui-Radhika Apte-starrer Raat Akeli Hai, Kartik Aaryan-Bhumi Pednekar-starrer Pati Patni Aur Woh, Southern superstar Vijay’s next Bigil, Kangana Ranaut-starrers Panga and Dhaakad, and Bhansali Productions’ Tuesdays and Fridays.
What’s more! The talented lady is also preparing to launch the ‘Preetisheel School of Character Design’ at her new sprawling office and workshop of her company ‘Da Makeup Lab’ at Versova, Mumbai.
If the trailer of Nitish Tiwari’s Chhichhore and teaser of Amar Kaushik’s Bala are anything to go by, the audiences are in for a visual treat in terms of look transformations of the main cast. And the lady behind the looks of the entire lead cast in the films — India’s numero uno makeup, hair and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh — has good reason to feel proud.
Both the movies have actors in their aging avatars and Preetisheel’s work has been receiving a new wave of accolades, after all the recognition it received earlier for films like Padmaavat, Bajirao Mastani, Andhadhun, Mom, Mulk, 102 Not Out, Thackeray and many others.
“Look transformations are an integral part of the storylines of both these movies, and it was a challenge and responsibility for me to make them look convincing and believable. I am so happy people are appreciating my work,” says a modest Preetisheel, who’d won the ‘National Film Award for Best Makeup’ for her very first film — the pre-Mughal historical epic Nanak Shah Fakir based on the life of Guru Nanak.
She makes it a point to thank the filmmakers of all her movies for putting their trust and faith in her work. “Without their faith, I wouldn’t have been able to do all this,” she says. Having taken her career graph a few steps further towards more recognition and glory, the lady has no time for a breather. The next few months have her working on a dozen films back-to-back, as well as starting the ‘Preetisheel School of Character Design’ at Versova, Mumbai.
Some of the forthcoming movies in her kitty include the Akshay Kumar-starrer Housefull 4, Nawazuddin Siddiqui-Radhika Apte-starrer Raat Akeli Hai, Kartik Aaryan-Bhumi Pednekar-starrer Pati Patni Aur Woh, Southern superstar Vijay’s next Bigil, Kangana Ranaut-starrers Panga and Dhaakad, and Bhansali Productions’ Tuesdays and Fridays.