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'Making-up' Amitabh

Friday, October 11, 2013
By Chaitanya Padukone

On the glorious occasion of Amitabh Bachchan’s 71st birthday today, his acclaimed loyal make-up man for the last 40 years Deepak Sawant speaks his heart out in an exclusive to ADC.

Having won a prestigious award as an Outstanding make-up man both for your excellence and exemplary loyalty, has it made a difference?
It was an emotionally overwhelming morale-booster for me especially since I received the esteemed award instituted by Bharat and Dorris from my Boss, superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Generally its dress-designers who are invariably grabbing the lime-light. Make-up men rarely get recognition for their valuable work. In my acceptance speech, I shared the credit entirely with Amit-ji. It is because I have this prerogative of handling his facial make-up, for the past four decades, that I am recognised and respected everywhere. Never have I taken leave while Amit-ji is required to face the camera. Whenever he is ‘not’ shooting, by default I get my ‘holidays’.

Even after having turned a Bhojpuri movie’s superhit ‘showman’ producer, you continue to handle ‘make-up’ for your own productions?
Guess am the only successful producer-cum-make-up ‘dada’ in Bollywood who has to make up his mind too (laughs). Since Amitabh-ji has been the supreme casting coup in my Bhojpuri movies, I had to handle his ‘make-up’ as well. Initially, Bachchan-saab was skeptical about making his Bhojpuri debut. But once he went through the script and was convinced, he was co-operation personified. The entire Bachchan parivaar including Jaya-ji, Abhishek-ji and Aishwarya-ji treat me like their family member. Their bonding and apnaapan is among the major reasons behind my dedicated commitment to them. On Amit-ji’s 71st birthday today, I wish him a long, healthy, active glorious life ahead. Even in my aagle janam, I should be working with Amit-ji as my benevolent Boss, is what I what I always pray. We are planning to release, in the near future, a biographical DVD album on AB-Sir’s illustrious life and times.

To what extent does facial make-up play a role in adding credence to the screen-characters, as in Amitabh’s case?
Actually it is supposed to be 25 per cent, but I feel it’s much more. During close-up shots, the visual impact of the scene-wise facial make-up is maximum. Take the ideal instance of Amitabh as the dockyard ‘coolie’ and then his overnight transformation to a debonair suave underworld don in Deewar. Almost every movie of the versatile super-actor Big B offers me a creative challenge. Be it Khuda Gawah, Black or Paa or the recent Satyagraha where with his 60-plus-aged look, many felt he reminded them of an on-screen alag avataar of Anna Hazare. Now as the ongoing KBC’s charismatic host, he looks dashing, rejuvenated and in his early 50s with the bright cosmetic touch-ups. This I guess is the sheer magic of make-up.

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