Brad Pitt's cheeks, VFX wizardry: How Shah Rukh Khan got his 'Gaurav' look in 'Fan'
Brad Pitt’s cheek and jaw structure, a nose that was shrunk down to size, lots of face tape, layers of make-up and the magical touch of VFX — these were just some of the tricks used to make Shah Rukh Khan look the part of Gaurav in Maneesh Sharma’s Fan.
In a special 15-minute video released by YRF on Wednesday, the film’s team provides an in-depth look at how Gaurav’s look was achieved.
The problem with conceptualising Gaurav’s look Maneesh says, was to create a lookalike “of a face that people have loved for 20-25 years now”. Gaurav’s face had to look similar to, and yet different from, Aryan Khanna’s.
As Maneesh recounts, even the biggest VFX artists from abroad felt it couldn’t be done. But VFX producer Keitan Yadav felt that a mix of prosthetics and computer-generated effects could achieve the look. And noted make-up artist Greg Cannom decided to take up the challenge.
In the video, Greg explains his thoughts about the project initially: “It sounded like fun, but what shocked me was the number of days he (Shah Rukh) had to work in the ‘young’ make-up. At that time, it was 70 days. Usually, we do this kind of make-up maybe for 10 days, at the most 20 times.”
Even with Greg’s considerable expertise, there were lots of questions to be considered. Making a person look older with make-up, prosthetics is easier — not the case when it comes to making a person look younger. As the team points out, a younger person’s skin is smoother, it has a layer of fat that you lose as you grow older and your face becomes more toned. Then there was the fact that all of this make-up and prosthetic work was being carried out in Indian weather. Would it even work?
Greg started to work on several moulds in his workshop. Maneesh sent him photos of Shah Rukh from his Fauji, Circus and Deewana days as a frame of reference. But Maheesh wanted Gaurav to have chubbier cheeks, and Greg felt the effect was too lumpy. What could be done?
“I looked around my studio and I have the heads (moulds) of all these different actors and I saw Brad’s. Brad Pitt is very good looking but he has a very unusual cheek and jaw structure. So I gave him (Gaurav) Brad’s cheeks,” says Greg.
Sitting patiently through it all was Shah Rukh. As he explains in the video, getting Gaurav’s look involved sitting through four-five hours, every day, while Greg and his team taped up his face, attached fillers to his eyebrows, inserted plumpers in his mouth and applied layers of make-up over it all. The team also had to ensure that despite the cheek fillers, Shah Rukh’s iconic dimples weren’t hidden!
After the scenes were shot, the VFX team got to work — making Gaurav’s nose smaller than Aryan’s, making his build slighter – narrowing the shoulders, straightening them, bringing in the chest, removing the muscle. Several full-body scans had to be carried out on Shah Rukh while he tried on all of Gaurav’s costumes, so the scale could be derived correctly.
Says Shah Rukh, “As an actor you know what your face looks like when you do certain scenes, but with Gaurav, I had no idea. I had to completely rely on the others to tell me if it was a good shot or not.”
The actor also says that the night before the film’s first look was to release, the team was terribly anxious — would people think Gaurav looked too “fake” or not different enough from Aryan? They all heaved a sigh of relief, however, when the mother of one of the VFX team members, who saw the first look, told them, “You’ve done good work, and you’ve got a great duplicate (for Shah Rukh) too!”
Watch the full "making of Gaurav" video by YRF here: