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Readying the boss

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FINISHING TOUCHES Banu with Rajnikanth on the sets
FINISHING TOUCHES Banu with Rajnikanth on the sets

Make-up artiste Banu on working in ‘Sivaji - The Boss’

If you have watched ‘Sivaji - The Boss’ and loved the way superstar Rajnikanth looked, thank make-up artiste Banu.

The special looks weren’t achieved by sleight of hand . “We did a lot of trials — make up, hairstyles, wigs (all imported from the U.S.) — before we decided the look. After trying 40 hairpieces, we decided on the side parted, back combed look. For the song sequences, we chose various get ups — the Roman look and the MGR, Sivaji and Kamal Hasan spoofs,” says Banu.

For her, working with director Shankar was a pleasure because, he knew what he wanted. “It is about understanding the story and what your director wants, and giving the actor a different look in each film.” She says: “The basic idea is to highlight the assets of the person and downplay the minuses. Not everybody comes with a flawless skin so we cover the blemishes. You must also know what lighting your cameraman is planning and it’s easier when you work around it. A rapport with the camera person, hairstylist, costume designer etc. will help achieve good results. Normally, we have a photo session prior to the shoot, in which we try out different looks.”

What was it like working with the superstar? “There was a lot of pressure because Rajini sir is used to certain people doing his make up.”

A few of his fans actually told her to make him look good or else... Adds Banu: “It was a treat working with him. He patiently sat through all the trials and shoots, never cribbing or throwing a tantrum. Since we had done a test and he was happy with the results, he trusted our judgment.”

Talking about the song “Oru koodai sunlight” she says that a lot of work was done on the computer to make the superstar Rajini look fair.

“We had to present him with the hair style, the whole look, and with the help of technology they changed the skin tone too.” Banu points out that make up techniques have changed over the years in keeping with technology.

“We were so used to Eastman colour (when the make up was heavy), then when daylight took over, camerapersons would tell us to keep the make up minimal. Now with digital cinema, a lot of tests are needed to see what works.”

Trained at the Mariam Zaveri school in Mumbai and under Bob Kelly of New York, Banu has done the make up for models and stars in scores of ad films.

Currently, she is working with Gautam Menon in a film starring Surya.

SUDHA UMASHANKER

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