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.
The list of achievements for National Award-winning makeup and prosthetics designer Preetisheel Singh haven’t stopped from the day she set foot in the world of make-believe.
“They say, Bollywood is a place where dreams are made. So what better than a profession which helps makes those dreams a reality,” quips Preetisheel, who has designed the looks of actors for some of the topmost movies in Bollywood like Umesh Shukla’s 102 Not Out and Sajid Nadiadwala’s Housefull 3, along with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat.
Her work for the pre-Mughal epic Nanak Shah Fakir directed by Sartaj Singh Pannu bagged her the coveted National Film Award for Best Makeup, while her talent will soon be showcased again in Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk, where Rishi Kapoor will appear in the look of a devout Muslim. Then there is the Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Thackeray — the biopic on Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray, presented by Sanjay Raut and directed by Abhijit Panse.
So what does it take to create different looks? “Prosthetic has a lot of parts involved in it. You first take the life cast of the actor in 3D measurement after which you sculpt and make moulds, running silicon pieces in it,” explains Preetisheel.
“The silicon pieces are then applied on the actor and are merged with the actor’s skin so that it doesn’t look artificial. So tomorrow if a filmmaker comes up and has the requirement for an alien creature, we can do it. In fact, it will be good fun and I’d love to create aliens for Bollywood.”
Is the whole process very time-consuming? “When we look at characters with prosthetics on screen, we do not realize how much time and effort goes behind the scenes. The whole process involves a lot of visualization, planning, detailing, art and finally time. But the end result is worth the energy spent,” she concludes with a smile.
Bollywood has been raging with the debate on nepotism ever since Kangana Ranaut struck uneasy chords about it in her confrontation with Karan Johar. Talking about how the Indian film industry has a bias towards talent born into industry families, she begun a discussion which refuses to die. But amidst all the mud-slinging on the topic, one never imagined it would be portrayed in the form of a story.
But that’s what theatre and film actor Ashok Chaudhary’s character in the American Off-Broadway play The Music In My Blood is all about. The play has the Indian-American playing a character of Vikram; an aspiring singer who does not belong to any affluent musical family, but dreams of becoming a famous singer like the yesteryear greats Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar.
“Vikram goes through the journey of a careless student hailing from a lower strata of society, persevering to learn Hindustani classical music and finally transforming himself into a great musician,” informs Ashok.
“His character redefines the play’s title The Music in My Blood and proves that one does not have to be born in an artistic family to be a great performer. With sheer talent and dedication, the character proves that nepotism can be crushed,” he adds.
Interestingly, the play’s narration is creatively moved forward in the form of a ghost of Walter Kaufmann, a Jewish refugee to India during the Second World War, who gave India the iconic All India Radio signature tune and fell in love with the music of the land.
Ashok is touched by the audience response. “After the play, viewers come up to me in a very emotional state, some even with moist eyes. They identify with the character which seems to rake up their pent up emotions and unfulfilled dreams. Such a soul-stirring response is heart-warming and heartbreaking at the same time,” remarks Ashok.
He will next be seen playing a spy in Eshwar Gunturu’s Bollywood film Code Name Abdul which stars Tanishaa Mukerji in the lead.
Following the wrap-up of the Dus Ka Dum Sony TV press-conference on Monday night, addressed by actor-host Salman Khan, senior film journalist Chaitanya Padukone had a nasty accidental fall from the reality-show elevated stage-sets into a freak vacant space at Film City, Mumbai.
With a deep bleeding gash-wound on his right knee, Chaitanya was administered first-aid and later rushed by fellow film journalist Bharati Dubey, to a nearby hospital, where he was required to undergo multiple surgical stitches and medical treatment.
Currently he is discharged and gradually recovering. Incidentally, Chaitanya happens to personally know Salman even before the mega-star-actor made his acting debut with the movie Biwi Ho Toh Aisi (1988).
Basking in the glory of the success of 102 Not Out, its makeup, hair and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh is almost in a daze from a week. The Amitabh Bachchan–Rishi Kapoor starrer brilliantly directed by Umesh Shukla has been a runaway hit with audiences and critics alike.
Ace film reviewer Kunal Guha of Mumbai Mirror points out that both (Bachchan and Kapoor) “internalize their screen personas to an extent that one often forgets the actors are under the layers of prosthetic.”
“Speaking of which, makeup and prosthetic artiste Preetisheel Singh is meticulous in her vision and execution and drafts faces that elaborately convey both their personalities. Even the strands of hair that sits on their head seem to be custom-woven to the brief—the father’s — unkempt and carefree, while the son’s — usually neatly parted, keeping with his orderly manner,” he writes.
Bollywood Hungama echoes, “The review would be incomplete without the mention of Preetisheel Singh’s makeup, hair and prosthetic. She gives a great look to both the veteran actors which also turns out to be the film’s USP.”
Covering Preetisheel for News18, journalist Mugdha Kapoor Safaya says, “It would be an understatement to only call her a makeup and prosthetic artiste. Perhaps, the term makeover whiz seems more appropriate.”
“While Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor are to be credited for getting into the vibe of the characters, prosthetic artiste Preetisheel Singh deserves credit for the amazing physical transformation the actors underwent. With each look that she designs, Preetisheel provides an accurate physical aid to the characters being portrayed,” writes Urban Asian journalist Diana Lydia Parmar on social media.
“I’m humbled by the stupendous praise. 2018 has been a breathtakingly amazing year for me,” says Preetisheel, who emerged Bollywood’s No.1 look designer after she curated the looks for Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor and Deepika Padukone in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s blockbuster Padmaavat.
This year also saw the re-release of the Sartaj Singh Pannu-directed Nanak Shah Fakir which got Preetisheel the National Film Award for Best Makeup. But the lady has no time to slow down. Her work will soon be showcased in the Harshvardhan Kapoor-starrer Bhavesh Joshi Superhero directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, followed by the Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Thackeray — the biopic on Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray, presented by Sanjay Raut and directed by Abhijit Panse. For Preetisheel, it looks like the year has just begun.
“The market for casting in Bollywood films, short films and television serials has grown manifold after the dominance of internet,” says the Indian film industry’s leading casting director Ahana Mohammed.
The lady who has been in the business of casting actors and actresses for many top projects and assisted in arranging select key artistes in movies like Bang Baaja Baaraat, Yaariyan, Grand Masti and Agneepath, feels its boom time for her business.
A mass media graduate in advertising and marketing, the sought-after casting director has a rich experience of nine years in the business of casting and artist management. Along with handling the casting for film, television and music artistes, she often manages a lot of models for the fashion circuit as well.
“We have around 500 Bollywood films being made every year and almost the same amount of television serials, daily soaps and entertainment programmes across the wide spectrum of TV channels. The best part is that now there are even a whole lot of short films and music videos to be tapped on the internet. It’s never been a better time for actors to get work, expand their horizons beyond movies and earn more,” analyzes Ahana. She makes it a point to add that inspite of this boom, “the film and modeling industry has a tremendous potential for growth.”
“Earlier advertising was restricted to print media and television. But that has changed over the last three years. Online advertising is fast catching up and many companies are now allocating almost half of their publicity budget to internet advertising. Thus the market is expanding rapidly and so is the need for established as well as newer faces,” concludes Ahana.
Recently, while preparing for the shoot of Umesh Shukla’s102 Not Out, makeup, hair and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh got busy working on the look of veteran actor Rishi Kapoor.
The much-awaited film has Kapoor playing a 75-year-old grumpy son to a 102-year-young cheerful Amitabh Bachchan. Its trailer and songs, including Badumbaa and Bachche Ki Jaan Loge Kya, are already a hit.
“Rishi Sir said he found the look seamless and flawless,” recalls Preetisheel. Saying that it looked extremely real, the veteran actor called her a “magician”. “A comment so flattering from a person of his talent and stature is something I will cherish for life,” quips the makeover wiz.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for Preetisheel this year. After garnering acclaim for her work in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat where she designed the looks for the complete cast along with Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, she went on to win the Power Brands – Bollywood Film Journalists Award too.
Meanwhile, her film Nanak Shah Fakir, which bagged her the National Film Award for Best Makeup, has been re-released by Viacom18 Motion Pictures, albeit amidst controversy.
Next, the lady is looking forward to Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi Superhero starring Harshvardhan Kapoor and working on Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s look for the Abhijit Panse-directed movie Thackeray; the biopic on Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.
POINTERS: National Award-winning make-up, hair and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh
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:
Preetisheel has created the look for Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s in Thackeray… the biopic being made on Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray. Its teaser was released some time ago by Uddhav Thackeray and Amitabh Bachchan and received widespread critical acclaim.
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 and the Tamil/Hindi film 24.
After Padmaavat, Preetisheel has also begun receiving a lot of offers down South. She has just accepted a Tamil film called Boomerang, where she is working on the looks for famous Tamil actor Ataharvaa Murali.
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 designed the looks for all the characters in the movie. The film has recently re-released through Viacom18 Motion Pictures amid controversy.
Preetisheel’s work 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 her work.
For the upcoming film 102 Not Out directed by Umesh Shukla, Preetisheel has designed the looks for Amitabh Bachchan as a 102-year-old man, as well as for Rishi Kapoor playing his 75-year-old son. Its trailer and songs, including Badumbaa and Bachche Ki Jaan Loge Kya are already a rage.
Apart from Mulk and Thackeray, her work as a make-up, hair and prosthetic designer will soon be showcased once again in upcoming movies such as Vikramaditya Motwane’s film Bhavesh Joshi Superhero starring Harshvardhan Kapoor. Its teaser has just released, revealing Harshvardhan’s look as a vigilante and it’s been the talk of the town.
After this, there is Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, the debut film of Sunny Deol’s son Karan Deol.
Preetisheel has 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.
At the onset, I should mention that the views in this article are my own and the website may or may not agree with them. I am starting with this disclaimer because what I am about to say could ruffle feathers. And if it doesn’t, then a lot of media people should delve into their conscience.
Journalism, like PR, is turning into a business
We all know that in the advertising, marketing and PR agencies, copywriters write phrases, articles and catch-lines in favour of clients who pay them. In contrast to the copywriter, the more ethical profession of journalism has always attracted a lot of respect and privileges.
However, in recent times, most top newspapers are officially selling editorial space under what has come to be known as Paid Media or Paid News. The profession of journalism is turning into a business; just like my PR business. It’s simple — the client pays and in return, good things are written about and publicized, mostly in a glorifying and exaggerated manner. The moneyed people and projects get premium coverage, while others, more than often, are treated as not important; however credible their news might be.
Be a thought leader, not a policy follower
What I am about to ask now, is a very difficult question to ask. A painful one too. But someday soon, someone or the other is gonna ask it. So I thought to myself, why not me and why not today. Now the tricky part here (or call it irony) is that I am a publicist. And publicists are supposed to be media manipulators, spin doctors, schemers. Yeah, of course I am all that and more. I do plan, plot and plug content all the time.
Just like the old-school journalists, PR guys are the ones who build perceptions, remodel and remake them. Which makes them no less than thought leaders. And from this perspective, I feel I am equally suited to ask this question: Should Paid Media journalists be termed and credited as copywriters?
When it all started a couple of years ago in the print media, it began with one paper beginning to charge for articles and editorial space. Over the years, when it met success, one by one, other print media began charging for articles. They began competing in best pricing for articles and features in bulk packages. Patronising the payers and giving second-hand treatment to the non-payers became management policy. And now a time has come when it is difficult for the reader to differentiate news from promotional pieces. More than often the advertisement departments dictate terms to the editorial departments.
Print Media losing its spine
How ethical is it for a journalist (one who is expected to be fair in reporting news) to write an objective piece when his/her publication is busy patronising the paying clients? Of course, it’s not possible and many-a-times, ethics are dammed. And since quite a few media are involved in this whole process, the remaining ones stay quiet about it. I’d say, both Paid Media and their silent watchers have lost their spine. It’s just a matter of time and a spark, when some top celebrity, politician or business tycoon points fingers at them, followed a national controversy about it.
Print journalists turning into puppets?
When a journalist echoes the sentiments of the paper’s advertising department, or of the owner of the publication, one does wonder if the journalist is actually a copywriter… or maybe, even a marketeer or publicist. And the list of such articles and journalists is growing.
A wake up call
If the Paid News trend goes on, the day wouldn’t be far when there will emerge a lot of Donald Trumps in India, crying foul and screaming, ‘Fake News, Fake News’ for what he calls “dishonest and biased media.” Let this article written by a PR on a PR website be a wake-up call for print journalists.
Last but not the least, do note that this piece is not written to make any scribe feel bad. Its written for the sake of insight and introspection. Take it in the right spirit. If you are a journalist and can’t change the industry, maybe you could change yourself or the job. After all, self-esteem and pride has been synonymous with journalism and I am sure every aspiring journalist gets into the profession to enjoy that pride.
After spending your years in journalism, when you grow old and your grand-children ask you, ‘how did you contribute in the great information and communication age?’, you don’t want to say, ‘I pushed articles for those who paid’.
Wow, what an exposing article. Mr Dale Bhagwagar is what PR legends are made of. He talks about things no PR ever dared. Super entertaining fellow too. Talks as if he is narrating stories. I have him on my google alert from where I got this article. Follow this guy like a bhakt. Once he came to my college for a guest lecture. Before the lecture our coordinator said she will show a video of Mr Dale before he comes in to talk. Lights went off and someone entered the classroom and sat besides me. When the video was playing the guy told me this speaker in the video is talking bullshit. I said yes and wondered who this colleague was. When the lights came on I realised that it was the speaker sitting besides me. He cheekily smiled at me and went to the podium to begin his talk. I was so so so embarrassed. He turned out to be mind blowing in his lecture. Best part was when he was asked about PR fees. All wanted to know what a Bollywood PR charges. He told us his fees bindaas. That was something no one had told us earlier. We also never knew Bollywood PRs were so well paid. Some decided on our profession only after he spoke at my college. But throughout the talk, I was only wishing he wouldn’t mention about that yes I’d said.
By Pragati Naik on 31st January 2018 – 2:43PM
Hopefully your spark of idealism will trigger a few fires and spread more light in a grey world of media/ journalism
By Sam Mohan on 31st January 2018 – 10:01PM
Yes. Paid journalists should be called copywriters But TOI Where the practice of paid news began, has done the reverse . In the good old days the bylines of the journalists would be followed by Times News Network And that of the writer reporting for the response department would have No Such tagline. This would at least differentiate between a journo and a response department writer. But now that distinction has been removed: so now response writers bylines that say ABC@timesgroup.com the same as that of a journalist.
By Kingshuk Nag on 31st January 2018 – 10:10PM
Dale has been the most famous Entertainment PR man from almost two decades in Bollywood. Plus, his website says, he was a journalist for more than a decade before he turned PR (something I wasn’t aware about earlier. I know Dale personally but he never mentioned that). I guess that also makes him the longest surviving journalist-publicist in Bollywood. No wonder he writes with so much depth about journalism and the malice of paid news. Top class analysis for the best in the business. You got an ace, PR Moment. This article is indeed a revelation for all those you do not have the privilege of knowing how corrupt journalism is becoming.
By Pramod Muntashir on 1st February 2018 – 9:29AM
the difference between dale and other bollywood publicists is that dale is fiercely loyal to his clients, even to the extent of defending them publicly and so many times in media. he is fearless. this has been his nature from many years. and that is why “ironically” (as this article says, he is also the one to point out media’s follies in paid journalism. sach bolna koi dale se seekhe. journalists have a lot to learn from this publicist.
By Ritwik Banerjee on 1st February 2018 – 11:56AM
I have know Dale from the days where he started his career in journalism. I remember an occasion, where I was alone with him in the editors cabin. He said, you know what I will one day be on the other side of the table. And surely he has come a long way. He has the guts to go ahead and voice his opinion. Well Dale, paid not paid, journalism will always have a grey side to it. It has been for decades, the growing technology of media and the medium, no one will have any control on it whatsoever. The upper hand will always be with the one who will negotiate well, how glorified it projects the news and last but not the least protects well if backfired. And don’t worry about the grand children as they will be much much ahead to all of us, to even question such credibility of ours.
By Vineeta Banerjee on 2nd February 2018 – 4:25PM
Good going Dale! Since we also worked together so you know I was a Journalist in the era when we worked for RP (Reader’s Pleasure) & not PR.
I left journalism the day I was asked to write a ‘positive’ article about an actor who was also a criminal & a bad human being.
Then I was on the other side, as a Film Producer/Director & I was asked to pay for every word that was printed. Couldn’t afford so my films suffered because of lack of promotion.
Today “Twitter” is Journalism, paid or otherwise! Every tweet makes a story for a journalist & sometimes its retweeted for publicity. Either way nothing is believable anymore!
Wake up my fellow Bollywood PRs. And do it like Dale does. 😉
1 Press Release / 24 hours / 40 links for my PR client Preetisheel Singh. Covering leading outlets The Times of India (and no, Dale never does Paid News. NEVER), Mid-Day, Times Now, Zoom, Santa Banta, Koi Moi, Yahoo, Bollywood Dhamaka, Bollywood Hungama and The Quint. And this without the help of UNI, PTI, IANS or Reuters.