Hand to mouth

Remember the grisly spectacle of Fazlu's decapitated head after Faizal Khan kills him to avenge his father's death in the second installment of Gangs of Wasseypur? Or the close-up shot of Nagma Khatoon's pregnant belly in the first edition of the series? While the first scene is remembered for its dramatic effect and the gore, the second has amazed the audience with how realistic Khatoon's pregnancy looks.

Behind both these scenes are the designing duo, 32-year-olds Rajiv Subba and Mamta Gautam and their expertise with silicon prosthetics. But ask them about it and they will tell that it all began in sheer accident. NID students, Rajiv Subba and Mamta Gautam launched their Ahmedabad-based design studio, Dirty Hands in 2008 to bring art and design together in a place where they would craft products spanning home décor, commercial products and other such works. When Subba heard that the Darshan Museum in Pune, an exhibit that depicts Sadhu Vaswani's life, was looking for artists who could create life-like mannequins for the displays, he decided to try his hands at it. "There was nowhere to learn the art; no institutions taught it. We watched videos online and imported silicon from Canada," says Subba.

After a span of two years, Dirty Hands completed the assignment in 2011, having mastered the art of making silicon mannequins and prosthetics. Little did they know how 'handy' their skills would prove later. "I suddenly realised that silicon work had immense potential in Bollywood as well and I decided to pay Anurag Kashyap a visit," recalls Subba. Director Kashyap, on viewing some samples of their work, immediately commissioned the pair to begin working on the Gangs of Wasseypur (GOW) series. "So, while earlier movies would use cloth or a pillow to stuff around the tummy to make it look pregnant, we made a prosthetic pregnant stomach. The camera zooms in on the stomach and you can see that it looks quite realistic," says Subba. Since then, the team has gone from strength to strength, working on the second part of GOW, then Raaz 3, Malyalam film, Dancing Death and Anurag Kashyap's Michael among others.

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