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41 years of rocking business

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IN THE FAMILY Fariyal Murtazai and Laila
IN THE FAMILY Fariyal Murtazai and Laila

Fariyal Murtazai shines bright in the legacy of the city's first beauty salon and tells SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO that beauty is all about personalised service.

She has said this when she was17 and at the risk of soundingrepetitive, Fariyal Murtazaisays it again: "The city hasgrown tremendously, but wehaven't grown much in terms ofbeauty sense. We are still reluctantto experiment."Much before the mushrooming ofbeauty salons in the city, Fariyal hadthe last word in the beauty business.Miracle, founded by her mother 41years ago in 1967, was the city's firstsalon. "Back then, my mom had toconvince a client for an hour to gether eyebrows done. Most Hyderabadiswere new to the concept of facials,pedicures and manicures,"laughs Fariyal.Fariyal's staff is busy at work inher Banjara Hills salon as Fariyalrecollects, "We are Iranians. Mymother moved to India after marriageand ever since, we have been inHyderabad. My mom felt that Hyderabadlacked a beauty salon andstarted Miracle as a one-room centreat our home. She made her ownproducts, we still follow her formulatoday. As the clientele grew, shebrought down a few Chinese hairdressers from Kolkata and startedthe salon at Fateh Maidan."Fariyal took to the business whenshe was 14. "I studied at St Ann's tillX standard and wasn't interested instudying further. My mother gaveme an ultimatum and asked me toeither study or get into the businessand help her. I chose the latter. Peoplestarted liking my work and someeven insisted that they wanted theirhair cut only by me, then I thought Ihad it in me to take my mom's workfurther. Now, at 42, I am glad withwhat I've done. And my daughterLaila has joined me."Laila and Fariyal juggle their appointmentsto meet clients at theirthree centres - Fateh Maidan, Secunderabadand Banjara Hills."Beauty is serious business. Youcannot ask someone to choose ahairstyle from a brochure and gochop chop. You need to know whereyour client is coming from - his orher work profile, family backgroundand lifestyle. The hairstyle you givethem has to suit all of these." Shedoesn't buy the idea of following thetrend of celebrity hair stylists openingoutlets across the country. "I'vebeen approached several times togive out franchisees to other placesin AP. Salons are about giving personalisedservices. I don't want toopen too many centres where eitherI or Laila may not be able to go andlook over personally."Fariyal loves to dress up the stars."While working for films, you don'tdeal with the person but the character;this gives you scope to experiment,"she says. Prabhas, Ileana,Ram, Siddharth and Charmme aresome of the actors who are happy tobe subjected to Fariyal's expert scissors.Here too there are a few restrictions,she grumbles. "For youngactors, we suggest a funky hairstylewith spikes minus the moustache.But the actors are reluctant becausethey are told by the directors andproducers that the masses will notlike their heroes to be seen withoutthe moustache. And you can't experimentwith colours too. Bollywoodhas broken free from restrictions.For girls, the hottest hairstyle is theshort bob. People immediately associatethis with Bipasha's bob. Fashionin India starts from films andfilm stars. Since Telugu film starsdon't experiment much, people heredon't have a reference point."She shreds the myth that the BanjaraHills clientele is higher on thestyle quotient. And she adds, "Peoplein Banjara Hills may claim thatthey don't watch Telugu films butthey watch the films more thananyone else and ape the film stars.For instance, a client of mine spottedactress Ramya Krishna at mysalon once and asked me who shewas. She then said she didn't knowmuch about Telugu actresses. Butafter a few minutes she went up toRamya and told her how good shewas in a film with Nagarjuna andeven took her autograph. That's theBanjara Hills crowd for you!"Regular trips to London and Singaporeare part of Fariyal and Laila'sroutines twice a year to updatethemselves on the latest hairstylesand colours. "There's always theneed to Indianise what you learn atTony and Guy and other places. TheIndian skin tone, hair texture andsocial context are different."Fariyal is glad that the Miraclelegacy will be looked after by Laila,who took to the salon in her teens. "Imarried very young and had Lailawhen I was 17. I was divorced at 18.Ever since, it's been me and her.We've been happy," she says.

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