From Vijay Sethupathi to Dileep, prosthetic makeup allows stars to get under the skin of their characters

Haricharan Pudipeddi

June 24, 2018 13:23:13 IST

What’s common between Vijay Sethupathi, Atharvaa and Dileep apart from the fact that they’re all popular actors? Recently, they all underwent extensive prosthetic make-up for the sake of their roles. As exciting as it sounds to picture these actors in roles that hardly resemble them, we try and understand the challenge behind the process of literally getting under the skin of their characters.

Vijay Sethupathi and the word versatility go hand-in-hand. Having played a variety of roles in his short but highly impressive career so far, he will be seen playing a septuagenarian character in upcoming Tamil drama Seethakathi, which according to its director Balaji Tharaneetharan, is not a biopic on the popular Tamil philosopher.

Vijay Sethupathi in Seethakathi poster. File image

Vijay Sethupathi in Seethakathi poster. File image

This is not the first time Vijay Sethupathi has played an older character in his career. In Soodhu Kavvum, he played a 40-something man who makes a living out of low-profile kidnappings. He played a much older character in Orange Mittai. While it doesn’t come as a surprise he’s essaying a 70-something character in Seethakathi, the effort that he has put in to play the character does catch one’s attention.

To play the septuagenarian character, Sethupathi underwent a complete make-over via prosthetic make-up. “It’d take four hours to put on the make-up and another two to remove it. I was stunned by Vijay’s patience, and all that he can do to get under the skin of a character,” Balaji had told Firstpost.

Academy Award-winning makeup artist Kevin Haney, known for his work in films such as Driving Miss Daisy and Planet of the Apes, formulated Sethupathi’s on-screen look that was released in January 2018. He was seen sporting grey hair, wrinkled skin, and glasses – which could be best described as a cross between Kamal Haasan’s look in Indian and Raghuvaran’s look in Mudhalvan.

For upcoming Tamil action-thriller Boomerang, actor Atharvaa underwent prosthetic makeup for one of his looks in the film. Atharvaa sports three looks in the R Kannan directed flick. Talking about the Atharvaa’s prosthetic transformation for the role, Kannan told Firstpost, “We approached popular makeup designers Preetisheel Singh, who has worked in films such as Mom and Padmaavat and Mark Troy D’Souza. We flew them down to Chennai and it took them two days of work to finalise the look. Another month was spent on making the prosthetic cast”

One of Atharvaa's looks from the upcoming film Boomerang. Twitter/@Riaztheboss

One of Atharvaa's looks from the upcoming film Boomerang. Twitter/@Riaztheboss

Talking about the experience of donning prosthetic makeup for the first time in his career, Atharvaa told Firstpost, “Initially, I was quite excited about the idea. I was interested to know how differently I’ll look on screen. Once the makeup process started, I could barely move in my seat because even the slightest movement would affect the look. I sat in statue mode for about five hours over a course of few days. The process was extremely challenging but looking back I feel proud. I can’t wait to see how audiences will receive the look.”

It is also being speculated that megastar Chiranjeevi will be briefly seen playing his character from upcoming Telugu period-drama Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy with the aid of prosthetic makeup.

In recently released Malayalam period thriller Kammara Sambhavam, actor Dileep played a nonagenarian character Kammaran. According to director Rathish Ambat, it took the makeup team five hours each day to transform Dileep into the character.

Dileep in Kammara. Facebook

Dileep in Kammara Sambhavam. Facebook

“He had to sit through gruelling makeup sessions. To transform him into the 90-year-old character it took us about five hours. The shoot would usually begin at 8 am and this meant the make-up process would start from 3 am. Dileep would be up by 2 am and keep himself ready. We had shoot scenes featuring Dileep in the older character as quickly as possible because the prosthetic makeup would last five hours after application,” Ambat had said in a pre-release interview.

Updated Date: Jun 24, 2018 13:23 PM