Bollywood movies

From 83 to Bob Biswas, here’s how the prosthesis in Bollywood movies is created to help modern storytelling- Entertainment News, Firstpost

In recent years, as actors and directors wanted their characters to be different and the demand for a movie or show to look realistic, the use of prosthetics has increased dramatically.

What kind of food is served on a movie set? Who chose the paintings for the hero’s bedroom? What does an executive producer do? Karishma Upadhyay’s monthly column Bollywood Inside might attempt to answer these and other questions you might have on anything Bollywood-related but were too shy to ask.


On the top floor of an old building near the edge of the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad is the Dirty Hands Studios. In different areas of the space, you could find a severed head, a baby hanging out to dry, a pregnant belly coloring itself and next to the carton of milk on the kitchen counter, a burnt hand. .

Led by Zuby Johal and Rajiv Subba, the team here, which includes engineers, sculptors, painters and machinists, create prosthetic makeups and props for movies and shows using silicone, fiberglass. , marble, glass and metal casting. The appointment with prosthetic design and makeup happened by chance for the two former students of the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, but they haven’t looked back since their split in the movies with Anurag Kashyap. Wasseypur Gangs 1 & 2 (2012).

Prosthetic makeup is nothing new to Bollywood. There is a famous story of Zeenat Aman sticking an “omelet” (a piece of latex with a burn scar) on her face, and showing up to Raj Kapoor to show him that she would be perfect for. Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978). For Chehre Pe Chehra (1981), makeup artist Shashikant Mhatre created a different look for Sanjeev Kumar who played a dual role in the film, with facial hair, leathery skin and jagged teeth.

As budgets and creative ambitions increased, producers began to hire makeup artists from Hollywood. Kamal Hassan’s transformation into Chachi 420 (1997) was courtesy of American artists Michael Westmore and Barry Koper while Oscar-winning artist Christien Tinsley was credited with Amitabh Bachchan’s look in Paa (2009).

Kamal Haasan to Chachi 420

Prosthetic work is broadly divided into three categories – prosthetic makeup which turns an actor like Rajkummar Rao into a 324 year old oracle in Raabta; props like dead soldiers in Padmaavat; and action sequences like blood spurting from a wound. “Take AK vs. AK (2020) for example. The story takes place over one night but we shot it over three months. Anil (Kapoor) gets injured during the night, so when there is an injury, you have to determine not only how much blood is going to come out at that moment, but also how that injury will heal overnight. You have to maintain continuity, ”explains Johal.

In recent years, as actors and directors wanted their characters to be different and the demand for a movie or show to look realistic, the use of prosthetics has increased dramatically.

In the last two months of this year we have Bunty Aur Babli 2, who had Saif Ali Khan and Siddhant Chaturvedi in disguises that included spots on the nose and cheeks, and bald caps. In Bob Biswas, a few extra pounds and a wig helped Abhishek Bachchan transform into a younger version of the character that Saswata Chatterjee made popular in Kahaani (2012). And later this month we will see Kabir Khan 83, where subtle changes were made to everyone to get as close as possible to the World Cup winning team led by Kapil Dev.

Get into the skin

It all starts with the script. When Diya Annapurna Ghosh found out she was going to make a spinoff film about Bob Biswas, the bizarre undercover killer who has become iconic despite his brief screen time, it was understood that the actor playing the main character should look like the original. “Abhishek’s look is also meant to be close to the original Bob of Kahaani as possible, even in the glasses he wore and the plaid shirts. In terms of prosthetics for him, we only needed the wig because Abhishek had gained the necessary weight, ”says Ghosh. She roped up British makeup artist Simone Beyleveld, someone she had worked with before (Badla, 2019, where she was an assistant director), who not only created the wig, but also did all the gunshot wounds and blood work for the film.

From 83 to Bob Biswas this is how the prosthesis in Bollywood movies is created to help modern storytelling

Abhishek Bachchan in and as Bob Biswas

Accessing the script is so integral to the process that Johal insists she “won’t work with people who don’t share their script.” “I need to know the exact situations for which prosthetics are needed,” says Johal, adding, “If someone just tells me they need a corpse, then on the day of the shoot I’m told that the “body” died from drowning, the dummy I made will not work because it is not made of a material that floats. These details are important because there are a lot of constraints when working with prosthetics. Unlike regular makeup, where an artist can start over immediately, with dentures from scratch it means waiting days for the part to be cast and painted.

It’s a similar process for award-winning makeup artist Preetisheel Singh D’Souza, who prefers to be called a “character designer”. “As I read a script, I start to think about what a character should look like. It comes from his environment, his education and his profession. Gone are the days when an actor looked like a middle-class dad, coolie, or don. I combine prosthetics with beauty work (hairstyle and makeup) to design the whole look, ”explains D’Souza, who studied at Cinema Makeup School in Los Angeles and runs Da MakeUp Lab with her work partner and of life Mark D ‘Souza.

From 83 to Bob Biswas this is how the prosthesis in Bollywood movies is created to help modern storytelling

Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat

When she got the script for Padmaavat, his first instinct about Ranveer Singh as Sultan Alauddin Khilji was “beast mode”. “This look is a combination of little details, like his hair is unshaven and his beard is long and tousled. There are scars of all lengths on her body, and her complexion is tanned. D’Souza’s credits also include Bala (2019), Chhichhore (2019), and Haider (2014), and she also has several Akshay Kumar films (Bachchan Pandey and Ram setu) on the floors.

Once the gaze is locked, an important step is to explain to the actors involved how much time they would be spending in the makeup chair. “Some actors are just excited about the process. I remember after working with the late Rishi Kapoor on 102 Not released (2018), he was very curious about the process. After that movie, every time he signed to a movie, he would call and say, “Let’s do something different,” Singh shares. The duration of the process depends on the degree of ignorance of the actor at the end. In Bob Biswas, Bachchan’s character has baldness in the middle of the scalp. Instead of giving the actor a bald spot and then adding a wig, Beyleveld fused the two together. “I think we saved a lot of time by doing just one piece. It would take about an hour and a half a day to set up, ”adds Beyleveld.

Try the challenge

Most makeup artists work with silicone, a material that is not breathable and retains heat. Add to that our tropical climate, and it is clear that working with prosthetics is a challenge, especially when the transformations are as drastic as Amitabh in Paa, 102 not released, or more recently, Gulabo Sitabo (2020). Right before the latter’s release, Bachchan blogged about the set in the scorching heat of Lucknow with several pieces of silicone glued together with medical glue. He wrote, “.. prosthetic makeup is always a problem in hot weather .. it tends to melt sticky glue and destroy the prosthesis. department .. one that I abhor .. the cooling systems on set, yes provide the air conditioning, but with the frequency of the shots, the continuous entry and exit of the cold into the heat is a bad precedent for me .. either i stay cool or stay hot .. and if that can be called a metaphor, a figure of speech, it is completely unintentional .. !! ”

On the other side of the spectrum are movies like Kriti Sanon-starrer Mimi (2021), for which D’Souza shaped a pregnant belly in the shape of a corset. “All she had to do was shut it up.”

From 83 to Bob Biswas this is how the prosthesis in Bollywood movies is created to help modern storytelling

Amitabh Bachchan as Auro in Paa

Bollywood continues to have an alien fixation across departments on a movie set, and prosthetic makeup is no different. “We are still so in love with foreigners. So directors and producers think they would do a better job, ”says Johal, without mince words. D’Souza agrees: “The automatic assumption is that a foreigner would be better than an Indian technician. ”

But the two ladies, who not only have years of experience but have also worked with big names like Kashyap, Vishal Bhardwaj and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, believe things are about to change. “Since travel became restricted due to COVID, we’ve got a lot of work to do, both for movies and series,” adds Johal, who is planning nearly a dozen releases over the next year, including the untitled Shakun Batra movie starring Deepika Padukone. , Ananya Panday, and Siddhant Chaturvedi, the Homi Adajania series Saas Bahu aur Cocaine, and the series by Abhishek Chaubey Soupe.

Author of Parveen Babi: A Life, Karishma Upadhyay has been writing about films and movie stars for nearly two decades. On Twitter, she goes through @karishmau.