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Readying the boss

Make-up artiste Banu on her experience of working with the superstar in “Sivaji - The Boss”



FINISHING TOUCHES Banu with Rajnikanth on the sets

If you have watched “Sivaji - The Boss” and loved the way superstar Rajnikanth looked, there is one person who should be given the credit, apart from director Shankar, and that is make-up artiste Banu.

But all those looks for the superstar weren’t achieved by sleight of hand or a magic wand. “We did a lot of trials — make up, hairstyles, wigs (which were all imported from the U.S.) — before we set 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 Kamalhasan spoofs,” says Banu.

Is make-up just about dabbing grease paint?

“It is about understanding the story and what your director wants, and giving the actor a different look in each film.”

What was it like to work with the superstar?

“As is to be expected, there was a lot of pressure on me because Rajini Sir is used to certain people doing his make up. He patiently sat through all the trials and shoots, never cribbing or throwing a tantrum. He left the job of making him look good to the director and the crew. Since we had done a test and he was happy with the results, he trusted our judgment.”

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 who has done the make up for models and stars in scores of ad films was not exactly sold on the idea of working for feature films. She has set the looks for other stars in the past — Jyothika (“Chandramukhi”, “Kaaka Kaaka” and “Mozhi”), Surya (“Ghajini”), Vikram (“Anniyan”) and Trisha (“Bheema”, “Kreedam” and all her commercials) among others.

Currently, she is working with Gautam Menon in a film starring Surya. She refuses to reveal more than that “it is challenging”, about her work in the film. Banu looks forward to doing prosthetic make-up some day.

For a make-up artiste, Banu’s face is scrubbed clean. “Use as little make as possible. We all look good the way we are,” she smiles.

SUDHA UMASHANKER

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