Makeup and prosthetic look designer Preetisheel Singh who created all the young and old looks for Chhichhore, feels Sushant Singh Rajput would have felt vindicated if he was alive today.
Congratulating Team Chhichhore on bagging the Best Film National Award, “There is hardly any bigger satisfaction to cherish for a creative people, than getting due recognition. The National Award has etched Chhichhore looks in public memory forever.”
Talking about Sushant Singh Rajput and his untimely demise, Preetisheel says, “He sure deserved much more and had a lot to achieve. This National Award for Chhichhore might have made him feel vindicated.”
In fact, Preetisheel herself won the National Award for her first film Nanak Shah Fakir. Apart from Chhichhore, she has earlier worked for huge box-offices successes such as Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, 102 Not Out, Mulk, Bala and Housefull 4, and designed looks for many A-listers including Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor.
Preetisheel has also set up India’s first makeup and prosthetic lab called Da Makeup Lab at Versova, Mumbai. Her goal is to bring standards of makeup and prosthetics in India at par with Hollywood.
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.”
For quite some time National Award-winner Preetisheel Singh has been the leading makeup and prosthetic designer in Bollywood. From box-offices successes such as Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Chhichhore, 102 Not Out, Mulk, Bala and Housefull 4, she has 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.
After conquering Bollywood, Preetisheel is now looking at exploring the Southern industry more and more. She has designed for movies such as 24, Boomerang and Bigil earlier, but is now gearing up to work with many other superstars of the South.
And the lineup of movies she’s been signed up for and working on, is stunning. Starting with South style icon Allu Arjun-starrer Pushpa, there is Vikram-starrer Cobra, Thalapathy Vijay-starrer Master and Nagarjuna-starrer Wild Dog.
Preetisheel has even designed a grandfather look for Nagarjuna for the promo of Telugu Bigg Boss, and has also done an experimental bald look for Chiranjeevi which the actor posted on social media recently. The way she is exploring new avenues, looks like the makeover wiz is all set to give a whole new dimension to the world of make believe.
Meanwhile in Bollywood, Preetisheel’s work is about to be showcased in upcoming movies like Yash Raj Films’ Bunty Aur Babli 2, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi, the Kangana Ranaut-starrer Dhaakad and Bhansali Productions’ Tuesdays and Fridays.
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
National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh who curated Rishi Kapoor’s looks for 102 Not Out and Mulk, and worked with Irrfan Khan for Haider, is overcome with grief after their sudden demise.
“Working with Irrfan Khan and Rishi Sir has been a journey I will never forget,” says Preetisheel. She mentions that it’s rare to have such accomplished artists always willing to experiment with their screen appearances.
Preetisheel recollects, “When I first got a chance to work with Rishi Sir on 102 Not Out, I was a bit nervous as he had been working with international prosthetic artists earlier. But once I had finished the process of his look in the film, he was very impressed .”
“Moreover, he would give me interesting advice while narrating his experiences with international makeup and prosthetic artists. He was like a father figure to me and I will always miss him a lot.”
“I got a chance to work with Mr Khan during Haider and the experience was fabulous, as he was one of the most patient actors on the makeup chair,” reminisces Preetisheel.
“Apart from being among the best our industry has had, both Mr Khan and Rishi Sir were amazing and very down-to-earth human beings. And that is what made them so special. Today, when I think of all the times spent working with them, it brings tears of fondness. It is really sad to lose such amazing talent and good human beings.”
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.
So you have seen actors in a double role and even triple roles. Now hear this!
National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh, who has designed the looks for actors in movies such as Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Chhichhore, 102 Not Out, Thackeray, Bala and Housefull 4, has curated SEVEN different looks for South superstar Vikram for his upcoming film Cobra.
A first-look poster of the film which will be released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, shows Vikram in as many as seven avatars; ranging from a professor and politician to what seems to be a scientific mastermind, connecting all the different people together in some way.
With a musical score by none other than A.R.Rahman, Cobra is a thriller directed by Ajay Gnanamuthu and scheduled for a May 2020 release.
It can be noted here that just a fortnight ago we saw an advertisement for Kurkure starring Akshay Kumar where he played a triple role of son, father and grandfather. The three looks, also designed by Preetisheel, received a lot of attention.
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.
Working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali for the first time in Bajirao Mastani, National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh curated Ranveer Singh’s look in the film. She got a second chance to work with the prolific filmmaker with Padmaavat.
Here, she not only worked on the stunning looks of Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor, but designed the look once again for Ranveer Singh, this time transforming him as the intimidating Alauddin Khilji.
And now, Bhansali has repeated Preetisheel to curate the look for Alia Bhatt for his upcoming saga Gangubai Kathiawadi.
“Working with Sanjay Sir is one of the most important milestones of my career,” says Preetisheel. “It feels surreal. You always feel part of something larger than life. I cannot express in words how grateful I am to him for showing so much faith in my work,” she adds.
A master with makeovers, Preetisheel has emerged as the most sought-after look transformation specialist in Bollywood. Apart from Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat, she has attracted acclaim for her deft work in numerous movies including Haider, Mom, 102 Not Out, Thackeray, Shivaay, Hawaizaada, Housefull 3, Rangoon, Brothers, Parched, Romeo Akbar Walter (RAW), Pati Patni Aur Woh, Mulk, Bala, Chhichhore, Malaal, Andhadhun, Panga and Housefull 4.
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.
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.
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.