Cosmetic Company

The National Award has given make-up artist Vikram Gaikwad the coveted recognition of his behind-the-scenes hard work

All those hours of visualising the film's character, working on the actor's make-up and paying attention to intricate facial features have paid off for make-up artist Vikram Gaikwad. On Thursday, this city-based artist won the National Award for Best Make-up Artist for his work in the Bengali film Moner Manush. It was Gaikwad's job to transform the actor into Fakir Lallan Shah, the 19th century philosopher, spiritual leader and musician from Bengal on whom the film is based.

"The film tells the story of the life and times of Fakir Lallan Shah. So through the make-up, I had to show the fine changes in his facial features as he grew from a 24-year-old man to a 70-year-old," says Gaikwad who has been in the industry for two decades. He made use of prosthetic make-up for Moner Manush. "Throughout the film, I chose not to use wigs for the character's hair. Instead, I stuck actual hair which gave the appearance of a wanderer to Lallan," he adds. Thrilled at his win, an acknowledgement of his hard work, the artist says, "A National Award is an important benchmark for any artist connected to the film-making business. These awards honour talent. I was hoping to win but with the good work done by so many artistes across the country, I wasn't very sure that the honour would be mine."

Moner Manush, directed by acclaimed Bengali director Gautam Ghose, is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Sunil Ganguly. It stars Prosenjit Chatterjee in the lead role and focuses on the Baul style of music that was popularised by Fakir Lallan Shah. Gaikwad, who has also worked as a make-up artist at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Pune from 1983-1988 says that a make-up artist should have a fixed idea about how the finished character will look. "When I was showing Lallan as an old man, I knew I wanted to depict a godlike aura on his face. I had famous historian Babasaheb Purandare in mind while doing the make-up. It took two hours to achieve the desired effect through prosthetic make-up," he reveals.

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