The make-up man

For a make-up man in the entertainment industry, the job of giving a makeover the actor depends on the character he plays.


Saadia Qamar June 17, 2010

For a make-up man in the entertainment industry, the job of giving a makeover to an actor depends on the character he plays, be it a beggar, a farmer or a feudal. Every role requires an in-depth research that makes the work of a make-up artist extremely important to the success of a television serial.

From figuring out how a fake moustache and beard will look on a character to defining the make-up for an artist, nobody seems to play the role in a better manner than Pakistan Television’s (PTV) make-up artist Shakir Ahmad Khan, associated with its Karachi studios since the 1980s.

Khan has done make-up of the cast for Haseena Moin’s iconic plays “Dhoop Kinaray” and “Tanhaiyan”. In recent times, he has worked on actors in the cast of “Akhari Chatan”, “Lyari Express” and “Tipu”.

Khan found “Tipu” to be one of the most challenging projects in his entire career. ““Tipu” was one of the most difficult plays, for which the characters in a historical setting were different from those in an ordinary play,” Khan told The Express Tribune.

Unlike the current crop of popular make-up artists who hold formal qualifications in their field, Khan learnt the art from his seniors, “Kamal sahab, the make-up artist of PTV, is considered a pioneer in this field and I have certainly learnt a lot from him.”

Khan describes how the look of drama serials is decided in Pakistan. “We sit with the producer, read the script and discuss at length how the character will look like. Sometimes, the research has to be done to a great extent. We then have to go look out for an actual person who has been playing that role in real life.”

“Rural people are simple souls. So the make-up too is kept simple and not glamorous (for the actors playing such characters).”

About PTV, which he considers his second home, Khan said, “It has given us respect and the place has literally bred us.” He is positive that despite the current move of artists towards private channels, talented actors will return to PTV soon.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 18th, 2010.

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