Internationally-acclaimed makeup artists, Natasha Nischol and Virginia Holmes, have worked with leading designers to create the looks that sell their clothes for various Fashion Weeks. They are now in the news for creating the illusion of time jumps for the film, Baar Baar Dekho. With films like Slumdog Millionaire and Dil Dhadakne Do to her credit, here is Natasha Nischol in a free-wheeling exclusive chat with THN on the trials and tribulations of working with prosthetics.
How was your experience working with prosthetic expert Mark Coulier for Baar Baar Dekho?
Very humbling. In spite of the fact that he is a two-time Oscar winner – he is completely down to earth and very open to collaboration with no ego whatsoever. It completely put me at ease and allowed me to do my job and he was an absolute pleasure to work with and very open – not to mention oh so talented.
How will you define prosthetic make-up? Is it similar to the regular makeup?
No, it’s completely different, it’s very specialised form of make-up which as you know can transform people. It’s time and labour intensive as there are lots of different stages involved before it actually gets applied on an actor. It’s a very creative as well as technical process.
What do you think is the future of prosthetic make-up in India? How is it different from the ones abroad?
Huge. I think India is waking up to prosthetics and there is suddenly a big demand for it as people have realised the possibilities it offers. I think what people however still don’t understand is that it is different to regular make-up and it is an extremely specialised form of make-up which entails a process that takes time, skilled people trained in the field to execute the various stages. And costs quite a lot of money.
What were the challenges faced while creating these looks?
I think it was just a process of trying out various things to achieve what the director wanted that would work for the film. So there is always tweaking and look tests etc, and when you are trying to age multiple actors and make them look very young to old, that in itself is a challenge you’ve got to keep the actor and the character in mind and keep them recognisable through that journey. The actor doesn’t change through the shoot – so there lies the challenge.
Also, we were dealing a lot with the UK on skype whether it was for prosthetics or facial or teeth, lenses etc. and sometime that can be a bit of a challenge when you’re working with such detail – as nothing beats a face to face meeting at the end of the day.
Which is your favourite look from Baar Baar Dekho which was created using prosthetic elements?
I would say the divorce phase. I loved the sudden jump from young to old and loved the subtlety of the prosthetics to portray the time passed. Plus I think both Sid and Kat looked really good in it.
What are some of your favourite prosthetic character looks from other Hollywood/Bollywood movies?
Bollywood I would say Paa and Hollywood – I have to say the Lord of the Rings series.
Text by Aarti Kapur Singh