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.
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.
The South-Indian film industry is often considered to have more finesse than Bollywood. It is often said that many Southern movies are technically savvier than Bollywood flicks. Thus a lot of South directors and other technicians are sought after in the Hindi film industry, but not the other way round.
But that’s not the case National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh is witnessing. Ever since her work received critical acclaim in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, Preetisheel has been getting loads of offers to handle the looks of artistes from Southern industry.
Currently busy with handling the makeup and prosthetic for the Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Thackeray (the film on the legendary Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray), the makeover wiz has accepted famous Tamil actor Ataharvaa Murali’s movie Boomerang in the South.
It can be noted here that Preetisheel’s work had garnered tremendous praise for another Tamil superhit 24 earlier. Her next Bollywood film to hit the screen would be the much-awaited Amitabh Bachchan-Rishi Kapoor starrer 102 Not Out directed by Umesh Shukla. Its promos and songs, including Badumbaa and Bachche Ki Jaan Loge Kya are already a rage.
Meanwhile, Nanak Shah Fakir which won Preetisheel a National Award (she designed the looks for all the characters in the movie) has re-released amid controversy.
And as if all this is not enough, the lady’s work will soon be seen in Vikramaditya Motwane’s 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. What more can Preetisheel ask for!
Bollywood PR guru Dale Bhagwagar is the Rajinikanth of Bollywood PR. Over the years, the publicist has made his own rules, own styles and own world. Apart from being widely quoted across all Indian media, he is the only publicist from the country who has been quoted in international media such as BBC World, BBC Radio, Sky News, Channel 4, The Times, Guardian, The Independent and many more.
Among some 200-odd clients he has worked with, Dale has also been instrumental in shaping images of Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty, Priyanka Chopra and movies like Don and Rock On!! Plus, some 20 scandalous names who have been on Bigg Boss. We grill him on some sensitive topics here and he answers with great honesty.
You have always been in favour of the digital media. Do you think the print media will be over soon?
Dale: It may come as a surprise to you, but let me tell you that while Print Media is a dying medium almost all over the world, India is one of the only countries where it has been thriving and sometimes even growing. This is mainly because India has such a wide variety of languages and language newspapers. So while the urban readers are slowly shifting to checking their daily dose of news on desktops, laptops and mobile phones; there is still a humongous chunk of readers in the rural segment who boost the readership and circulation of newspapers, newspaper supplements and magazines. Having said that, Print is indeed a dying medium. Because the youth is slowly stopping to patronize it. So the coming generations are not going to subscribe to newspapers at their homes… unless they do it online. But language newspapers will survive much longer than English papers. So vernacular Press has nothing to worry for now. Plus, certain English newspapers like The Times Of India, DNA, Hindustan Times and Mid-Day; which sell advertisements in package-deals along with their sister publications and brands (including television channels, radio stations and film award shows) across the media spectrum, will also survive. As for me focusing on online media, it has been the case from almost a decade now. I like to change with the times, as I have seen many PRs perish because they could not change. I am the longest surviving publicist in the film industry in India. And I intend to keep things that way (winks). So I have to always keep ahead of time and change and evolve. I have to always beat the current lot of PRs at their game if I want to keep being a leader of things. That’s how it’s always been, and that’s how I intend to keep it. (smiles)
From managing PR of debutantes to superstars, what has been the most cherished moment?
Dale: I have often stated that my PR clients are like my children. And just as a mother loves all her children equally, I love to work for my PR clients with equally devoted energies and passion. All have been interesting and challenging; otherwise they wouldn’t have been my clients in the first place. However, there are certain projects and personal PR assignments that have interested me more. Handling the work for names such as Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra has been a pleasure. Whereas handling the media publicity and hype for more controversial brands such as Shilpa Shetty, Vivek Oberoi, Rakhi Sawant, Swami Nithyananda and Global Advertisers (the patrons of Radhe Maa) has been more challenging at times. One of my current clients is makeup and prosthetics designer Preetisheel Singh. Handling her work is also very interesting as it is quite different from my regular assignments which involve actors and movies. Doing PR for movies like Don and Rock On!! too have been good fun.
Bollywood PR guru Dale Bhagwagar addressing a press conference in Mumbai
What are the things that you would like to see among the new generation of PRs?
Dale: Integrity is the number one thing that seems to be missing in the current lot of PRs. That is one very important reason for loss of trust. Second is street-smartness, which every PR needs to possess — that quality of being sharp and scheming to the extent of being manipulative with the media. Ha ha. Ya, it is important for a PR to be a manipulator. Because that is the job. One has to know how to strategize, play, plot, plug and plant news in the media. The better the manipulator, the better the PR. Another thing that Gen Next needs to keep in mind is media ethics. Manipulative PRs need to also have a lot of PR ethics. They need to know and understand where to draw the line. They need to be pro’s at doing a balancing act between ethics (a demand of the times) and exaggeration (a demand of the spice and sensationalism-hungry media). Otherwise they can end up influencing society in a bad way. See, PRs have the advantage of being able to reach the public at large through the voice of celebrity clients. So if they misguide their clients or misuse their clout, it can spell mayhem from the cultural point of view. Thus PRs need to be deep-rooted in media ethics even while they plot and plan to promote their clients using national and international media platforms at their disposal.
How important is social media for celebrities and PRs?
Dale: This is a very good question. Especially because many celebrities tend to focus too much on Social Media. So much so, that they often sideline mainstream media. Social Media is a pillar of the media; a means of support. However, it is NOT the main media. The real media is Online Media (websites), Television Media, Print Media, Radio Media. These have more credibility; as before a news is carried on these places, it is written by a trained and experienced writer/reporter; goes through checks of a sub-editor, news editor, deputy editor or the executive editor, before it is finally published. So that news will definitely carry much more credibility compared to self-published and self-generated news on Social Media. Plus, when one is featured on websites, the news gets archived and is searchable for all time. This archive-value of the news, along with some good Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO), can help a celebrity much more in the long run, as it provides more consistency and value than a post or picture which will be lost on Social Media within a day, unless it goes viral. And as we know, just one out of thousands and thousands of posts have the potential to go viral. So the chances of getting noticed on social media is miniscule, compared to building a strong image through website articles and write-ups. News on websites last longer and can have a consistency to it, which can’t be found on Social Media. To sum it up, Social Media is fantastic, but it has to be used as an add-on to actual mainstream media.
Do you use social media to reach and impress traditional media?
Dale: Yes, I do. But I feel Social Media becomes unsocial at times and is gradually losing credibility. When it began, it gave a voice to millions. But many started to misuse it and abuse it. Twitterati is well-known for being rude and abusive to people… resulting in a lot of celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan complaining about the negativity on it. Actor-singer Sonu Nigam got so disgusted with it that he ultimately quit the platform. These things say a lot about changing trends. Moreover, the recent Cambridge Analytica data-breach scandal has everyone worried about Facebook privacy and stability. Whereas Social Media could have brilliantly focused on citizen journalism, and even educating along with informing. But it went on to create the demon of ‘fake news’ in many instances. Even the concept of ‘Paid News’ and ‘Paid Media’ which has been the domain of Print Media until now, is creeping into online media, including Social Media. One is asked for monies to improve the visibility and boost posts. If one can pay and be famous, then the people with monies will be the ones to be. What about the deserving? What about the ones with creativity? These money-making tactics have marred Social Media’s credibility as a platform for information dissemination. However, it still remains a very strong segment. And I feel that with time, it has an enormous potential to refine, redefine and mature.
What fascinates you most about PR work?
Dale: Like journalism, public relations is one of the few professions where there is constant activity. News happens 24×7 and one has to always be on toes. Moreover, muck also happens 24×7 and people need crisis management via PRs all the time. This is a very interesting part of the profession, as there is never a lull. One is always in the thick of things. I feel like a ringmaster of the grand media circus. No day is ever boring.
What makes you happy in your professional life?
Dale: The choice to live life the way I want to live it.
Who has been your favourite client and why?
Dale: Now! Now! Are you trying to put me into trouble by having me to take just one name here? Ha ha! But seriously, if I were to answer that question honestly, it might sound narcissistic. But the fact is that I, myself have been my most favourite client. Yes, I treat myself as a client — a brand — a PR brand who can be relied upon, trusted; one who delivers and who is consistent with growth. In my eyes, there is no further satisfaction to know that your work helps others grow and be famous. That you are able to propel people into the limelight and strengthen their image and brand by influencing the media. That you have the means to make their careers better. That’s what gives me the ultimate high.
National Award-winning makeup, hair and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh won enormous critical acclaim when she designed the looks for Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat. But this doesn’t seem enough for her roller coaster ride to success.
The lady has quickly gone ahead and consolidated her position as the No.1 in her field of work with the Amitabh Bachchan–Rishi Kapoor starrer 102 Not Out directed by Umesh Shukla. The teaser of the film in which Big B and Rishi play father and son, has been creating quite a stir and the movie is expected to generate much more.
Speaking about the magnetic appeal of the legendary actors, Preetisheel says, “I was a baby when they were shining bright and they are still ruling hearts. So yes, you got to toughen up and think beyond the aura they exude. Designing their looks was a hard task. More so, as I was aware that combined with their talent, the looks would go way beyond visual appeal.”
“Plus, at their age and stature, it takes a lot of patience to sit and allow so much makeup to happen and then go out and perform. Even after all these years in the business of entertainment, their child-like enthusiasm and devotion to their art is awe-inspiring. Their energy and intensity is infectious and exhilarating, so much so that one can compare it with the current heartthrobs,” she adds.
Preetisheel’s repertoire includes projects such as Housefull 3, Mom, the Tamil film 24, Brothers, Rangoon,Parched, Shivaay, Talwar, House Next Door, Haider, Ghayal Once Again, Finding Fanny, Hawaizaada as well as the pre-Mughal historical epic Nanak Shah Fakir, for which she won the ‘National Film Award for Best Makeup’. And she has no plans of slowing down.
Her work will soon be showcased once again in upcoming movies such as Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi, Sunny Deol’s son Karan Deol’s debut film Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, Rishi Kapoor-starrer Mulk and theNawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Thackeray to name a few.
Got a video interview done for my PR client Preetisheel Singh on Chetna Vasishth’s ChetChat. Makeup, hair and prosthetic designer Preetisheel reveals a lot that goes behind the scenes in transforming actors into characters.
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.