Makeup and prosthetic look designer Preetisheel Singh may be the best in what she does. She may have worked with the who’s who of Bollywood including all the A-list actors such as Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor.
But when it comes to compliments, she almost gets teary-eyed when she recalls a time she took her mom to meet the majestic filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
For the record, Preetisheel has done a hatrick with Bhansali, having worked for the awe-inspiring maker, first on looks of Ranveer Singh for the superhit Bajirao Mastani, then on looks of Ranveer (who can forget that Alauddin Khilji getup), Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra for another blockbuster Padmaavat. And she is working with the prolific filmmaker once again where she is curating Alia Bhatt’s look for his upcoming Gangubai Kathiawadi.
“Sanjay Sir is a gem of a person,” says Preetisheel. “He understands my work and gives me space,” she adds, stating that she has had some of her best experiences working for his movies. In a recent interview, Preetisheel recalled a time, when once she took her mom to meet Bhansali.
“When I took my mom to meet him, he told her — She (Preetisheel) does not need people like us. We need people like her!”
“Imagine how proud that made me. And imagine how proud my mom felt. It was one of the best moments of my career,” adds the look transformation wiz.
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
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.
Got my PR client Preetisheel Singh speak to Hindustan Times for a feature which appeared as a front page lead in HT City. Special thanks to Shreya Mukherjee for it.
PS: Sorry friends, HT has been putting more and more restrictions on its free epaper, as it expects people to pay and login et al for full functionality. So I wasn’t able to download a good resolution image for the article.
My PR client Preetisheel Singh has made a rocking start this year too. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Last year, she handled the makeup, hair and prosthetic for actors in Padmaavat, 102 Not Out, Mulk and Andhadhun. 🤩 She’s started this year with the look for Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Thackeray. Coming up are RAW, Chhichhore, Housefull 4, Bharat, Panga, Raat Akeli Hai, Boomerang, Om and PM Narendra Modi. 🎯 Audiences…. dil, jigar aur chair handles thaam ke baitho. 🎞 🎲 -Dale Bhagwagar
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.
National Award-winning makeup, hair and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh won tremendous acclaim when she designed Ranveer Singh’s look as Alauddin Khilji in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat.
This week, she has recreated that look for actor Ravi Dubey for Sabse Smart Kaun; a game show on Star Plus, which aims to test people’s common sense. Ravi is donning various looks for the show’s promotions, one of them being Alauddin Khilji and another one of yesteryears’ villain Ajit.
The Jamai Raja actor recently shared his Khilji look on Instagram with a caption, “the magician behind the look is the awesome Preetisheel.”
The transformations Preetisheel carried out with Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor and Deepika Padukone’s looks in Padmaavat had the industry and media hailing her as the undisputed No.1 makeup, hair and prosthetic designer.
However, it can be noted that this was not the first time she worked on a historical. Her work in the pre-Mughal epic Nanak Shah Fakir bagged her the coveted National Film Award for Best Makeup. Re-released amidst controversy this year, the film has once again created ripples.
The lady’s work also received abundant praise for the recently released Amitabh Bachchan-Rishi Kapoor starrer 102 Not Out. Her talent will soon be showcased in films like the Harshvardhan Kapoor-starrer Bhavesh Joshi Superhero and also in Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Thackeray, where Siddiqui plays the role of Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray.
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.