Meet the magicians who turn actors into believable characters
Hindi cinema is always on the hunt for a good real story, but when the protagonist is iconic or has imprinted mass culture in a significant way, the challenge is to somehow match their charisma and to his unique personality on celluloid. This is where stylists, makeup gurus and fitness trainers come in to work their magic and turn mere actors into Kapil Dev, Milka Singh, Indira Gandhi, MS Dhoni and Silk Smitha.
Here is our selection of some of these magicians:
Darshan Yewalekar: The image of Kapil Dev on the balcony of Lord’s Cricket Ground, lifting the World Cup trophy is indelible in history and in our memories. When Ranveer Singh recreated the same moment in Kabir Khan’s film ’83’, it not only brought back a wave of nostalgia, but also caused goosebumps among the audience because Singh looked the part, thanks with the distinct mustache and wavy curls of the Indian skipper. Rich praise is now being reaped by famed hairstylist Darshan Yewalekar who has worked tirelessly to research old videos and photographs to achieve the perfect look. Yewalekar is also the man who styled Ranveer Singh’s many avatars in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s cinema, but it was the first time in their decade-long association that they had worked together to mold a character to a living legend. .
Samir Jaura: A critical aspect of Farhan Akhtar’s performance in ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ was having the right physique. After all, Milkha Singh was a running machine and in order to be able to look like the legendary Flying Sikh, Farhan put in 6 hours a day of intense training for over 13 months and was skillfully guided through this difficult task by his fitness trainer and sports nutritionist Sameer. Jaura. The two worked in tandem to build strength and endurance for the grueling workouts and athletic sequences in the film. Improving muscle tone, working on correct stride and posture as well as histrionics helped Farhan do justice to the recently deceased athlete after valiantly battling COVID-19.
Vikram Gaïkwad: The man who turned Lara Dutta into Indira Gandhi in “Bellbottom” is none other than national award-winning veteran makeup artist Vikram Gaikwad. From researching multiple photos and videos, to studying the late Prime Minister’s most distinct features, to using custom make-up and prosthetic techniques, Vikram and his team went to great lengths to ensure that Lara Dutta be as convincing as possible. As the actress studied voice modulation and body language from videos, she was expertly helped by the makeup team to achieve the Iron Lady “look.”
Sapna Bhavnani: Sapna is one of the most successful hairstylists in the industry and was the woman behind Sushant Singh Rajput’s convincing transformation as MS Dhoni in ‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story’. Sapna, who also styles Dhoni’s famous locks, was the perfect choice for the film as she matched the actor’s look with specific phases of Dhoni’s life and career. She has also worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif, Bipasha Basu, Hrithik Roshan, Virat Kohli, John Abraham, and counts and has a very forward-thinking approach to hairstyling.
Niharika Bhasin: Niharika Bhasin rose to prominence when she designed the costumes for the stars of “Rock On!!” then won the National Film Award for Best Costume Design as well as the Filmfare Award for “The Dirty Picture” where she styled Vidya Balan in keeping with the many chapters of the late Silk Smitha’s turbulent life. It wouldn’t have been easy to recreate the popular appeal of a star who starred in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi films and, over a 17-year career, appeared in more than 450 movies. Yet, Niharika succeeded and Vidya Balan also won a national award for this role.