'Madhuri's features have not changed but she has aged'
Make-up artist with magic hands, Pandhari Juker has done a marvellous job on many famous faces, making older actresses look younger, and younger ones older to suit their on-screen personas.
From the time he entered the film industry in 1948, Juker has worked with the who's who of the film industry, from Meena Kumari and Nutan, to Manisha Koirala and Madhuri. He worked with Yash Chopra for 27 years.
Juker, 80, speaks to Patcy N fondly about the stars he's worked with, and what they were like.
(Director) Khwaja Ahmed Abbas had started Char Dil Char Raahein, with Meena Kumari playing the main lead. She wanted her own make-up artist but Abbas said why don't you try my make-up artist; if you don't like him you can bring your own.
I did her make-up and then we did the photo shoot. I had made Meena Kumari look dusky-complexioned, which was very difficult to achieve in a black-and-white film.
Those pictures were used in Filmfare and another magazine, which captioned the photographs 'Black Princess'. My work was appreciated and that was when I got my first big recognition.
Meena Kumari loved my work and would not do a shoot without me. Her projects that were already on the floors, like Pakeezah, also came to me.
Meena Kumari would treat me like a family member. She knew I was never free in the mornings as I had other shoots, so she would always keep her shoot in the afternoon for my convenience.
Meena Kumari could play tame and homely characters very well. She had a very beautiful face.
Once when we were shooting Chitralekha, Meena Kumari has to faint in one scene and Ashok Kumar, who plays a sadhu, picks her up and takes her to his cave. Meena Kumari told the director "Let Ashok Kumar not carry me; let Pandhari carry me to the cave." I was asked whether I would do it, and I agreed, so I did Ashok Kumar's duplicate.
In fact, I have done Kishore Kumar's duplicate in some films too.
In Chitralekha, I had to do the make-up for a scene in which Meena Kumari looks into a mirror and gradually starts ageing. She was very young then. I used nose putty and applied it to her cheeks, took a comb and just did lines with it, and made some dark circles around her eyes. It was just one shot and did not require continuity and that's why it was possible to do it faster.
We were shooting in Ranikhet (in Almora, Uttarakhand) for Bheegi Raat when some people came to meet Meena Kumari and asked her to visit TB patients at Kasturba Hospital. Nobody wanted to go, but Meena Kumari decided to go and asked me to go with her. It was so much fun; she read her shayaris to the patients -- she always wrote poems.
In the end, when she was very ill, it was I who took her to the hospital. We were shooting for Komti Ke Kinare near Gowalia Tank. I took her to Walkeshwar where she would normally go for her treatment. She died of jaundice.
Image: Meena Kumari in Chitralekha. Inset: Pandhari Juker
'Sadhana's mother would give us this drink of eggs, brandy and milk to beat the cold'
I started getting big artistes like Balraj Sahni, Sadhna, and Raj Kumar, when I was doing B R Chopra's Waqt.
Sadhana was very loyal to her make-up artist from the film Mere Mehboob and wanted to stick to him.
B R Chopra said, 'Let's take a trial of your make-up artist and mine, with the same lighting and background and then take photos and then decide.'
The two photographs were shown to her without revealing who had done which make-up. She selected the photograph for which I had done her make-up.
I had a good relationship with all my actors. I would enjoy applying make-up on Sadhana. We would shoot late at night in Kashmir, in snow, and it was so cold. Sadhana's mother would give us this drink of eggs, brandy and milk to beat the cold and only then would we start work.
I loved applying make-up on Nutan's face too. She had a perfect face. Her mother, Shobhana Samarth, was also beautiful.
Image: Sadhana in Waqt
'I can do a plastic surgery in make-up'
In the film Chandragupta, Dilip Kumar played the role of Chanakya. I had to make him look bald. Dilip Kumar had sent me to London to be trained in how to make a person look bald without shaving his head. I went and learnt but that movie got shelved. Later, I used the same make-up on the Onida devil character (in the TV advertisement).
Dilip Kumar had sent me to London once before too, to learn how to get a person to look like they had been burnt by acid.
I heard they took five to eight hours to do Amitabh Bachchan's make-up in Paa. I don't think that much time is required to get that look. If it takes so much time to do the make-up, how many hours can he shoot? Just an hour; it is a waste of time.
Recently, I went to the premiere of Jab Tak Hai Jaan and saw Dilip Kumar there. I was told that he doesn't recognise anyone now. But when I spoke to Sairaji (Banu), Dilip Kumar told me, 'Kya Pandhari tum kaise ho'.
I was amazed and so was Sairaji. I was Dilip Kumar's favourite. He loved working with me.
In the old days actors would treat make-up artists like god. This is still so in the South film industry. When the make-up artist enters the make-up room, the actor will touch his feet out of respect before he starts the make-up.
I can do a plastic surgery in make-up (I can make anyone look younger just by make-up) Look at Asha (Bhosle), how young she is looking now (Juker did her make-up in the TV show, Sur Kshetra).
Image: Dilip Kumar in Kranti
'Amitabh said he would not wet his face, but just bathe from his neck down!'
I was very busy when I got a call from Khwaja Ahmed Abbas. He needed make-up to be done for Amitabh Bachchan. I went to Goa where the film Saat Hindustani was being shot. They were shooting for a scene where Amitabh is running through the jungle from the Portuguese soldiers and he had to have a beard. I also had to do make-up on his feet which were penetrated by pieces of glass.
The feet shot was just for one day, so that got over the same day, but the beard had to be done for the next six days, and I had to leave.
I told Amitabh I am leaving now, what will you do for continuity? He said not to worry he would not wet his face, but just bathe from his neck down!
Image: Amitabh Bachchan in Saat Hindustani
'I am upset with Madhuri'
I have taken a lot of care of Madhuri Dixit, but when she became a star she changed. The way Madhuri looked, if she was without make-up, nobody would recognise her.
It is better if I don't speak about Madhuri's make-up today. Her features have not changed, but she has aged. I can make her look like the old Madhuri. So many people told me to go back to Madhuri and do her make-up again but I will never go to her.
I was working on Saudagar and the next day, I had to go with Madhuri to Amsterdam for another shoot. I missed my flight. The very next day I told her secretary Rikku (Rikku Rakeshnath) to give me a ticket so I could join her. He told me 'Abhi jaane ki zaroorat nahi, you did not come yesterday, she was crying a lot.'
Rikku never liked me because I was close to Madhuri so he must have created some misunderstanding. But now Rikku is also out. Dr (Nene) has removed Rikku from his job.
I am upset with Madhuri because she never called me to ask me what had happened; she just stopped working with me. When she needed me, she was always here at my house to get her make-up done. She used my car when she had to go out. When I did her special make-up I charged her only Rs 250.
Image: Madhuri Dixit in Tezaab
'When Yash Chopra started his company, we all backed him'
When Yash Chopra started his company, we all backed him. I was with him since day one when he produced his first film Daag, upto Mohabbatein.
During Mohabbatein, the costume designer said that Shamita Shetty should get another make-up artist.
Aditya (Chopra, the director) got another make-up artist. Till then, I was the only make-up artist with whom they had worked. Yash Chopra told me, 'Puri company tumahari hai'.
But I told him it is a matter of my prestige, why can't I do her make-up? How can anyone come and say I can't do the make-up, get someone else? I left after that. I never worked at Yash Raj again.
Just before his death, when I met him, he told me 'Mazaa nahi aaya is baar kaam karke, artisto ke bahut nakhre hai, pehle ka zamana kuch aur tha' (it's no fun working any more. Artistes are too finicky. The old days were different.)'
Image: Sharmila Tagore, Rajesh Khanna and Rakhee in Daag
'I was paid Rs 250 a month plus I was allowed to work at other studios'
B R Chopra
Destiny was good to me. Nana Phalsikar was in B R Chopra's Kanoon (1960). The shooting for the film was over but a small part had to be re-shot. Nana had a beard in the film, which he had removed after the shooting was over, but now it had to be put back. So Nana called me and took me to B R Chopra.
They gave me a picture (of the beard) and I copied it and showed them how it can be done. They all loved it because it looked ditto to the picture. After that, I became a permanent name at B R Chopra. I was paid Rs 250 a month plus I was allowed to work at other studios.
There was much hard work required to make a beard or a moustache. We did not use the beard as one whole piece. We took hair little by little and stuck it on the cheek.
We did this for Rajesh Khanna in the film Ittefaq. We shot for 30 days and every day we would remove the hair and again stick it back on, one by one. The hair was made from the hair of wild cows. We would dry the hair, colour it, and make it thin or thick according to requirement.
Image: Rajesh Khanna in Ittefaq
'I had started with Rs 70 in 1948 at Rajkamal studios'
My entry into the film industry is accidental, I was just 15 when my father was very sick and I had to do some work. I was in school, but was also working as a commercial artist. I would go for evening classes to JJ School of Arts.
Since our financial condition was not sound, I had to give up my education and my best friend's father, Baba Vardhan, who was a make-up artist at Rajkamal, forced me into this profession.
Since I had knowledge of colours, I learnt make-up in a day. Working with V Shantaram was a learning experience. I was fortunate that Shantaram Bapu himself took my test. I passed and immediately got the job.
I started working at Rajkamal in 1948 with Amar Bhopali and Parchhaiyan. In Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje, I got the chance to work with Jimmy Vining, a British make-up artist. I learnt a lot from him. I left in 1956.
Shantaram Bapu started a Marathi film with Arun Sarnaik and Sandhya, and I got my first break as a solo make-up artist. That movie was shelved but it was made in Hindi as Navrang. I did not get a chance to work in Navrang as I had left Rajkamal Studios in 1956.
Khwaja Ahmed Abbas had started work on a film called Pardesi, an Indo-Russian collaboration. He was looking for a make-up artist and Nargis suggested my name as she has seen my work in Aadhi Raat and liked it.
I was called to Kardar Studio for a trial. They liked my work and I was offered the job.
I was paid Rs 100 a month at Rajkamal Studios. I had started with Rs 70 in 1948. Here, I was offered Rs 500 a month and till the time I worked in Russia, my Rs 500 salary would be given here to my family and they would take care of my expense in Russia. So my first job as an independent make-up artist was with Pardesi.
But when I left Rajkamal Studio, Shantaram Bapu got so upset that he told everyone in the studios not to let me enter the studio. Till his death he was upset with me because he loved me a lot -- I had worked with him for seven years.
After the shooting for Pardesi got over, the Russians asked me to stay back and gave me a chance to learn more about make-up. I did a one year course at Mosfilm Studios. After a year of training, I came back to India.
Now I only do workshops and seminars and train students.
Nowadays make-up artists get around Rs 25,000 to 30,000 per day. When I left, it was Rs 500 per day.
But today I get paid Rs 1 lakh for a seminar. For students I take Rs 20,000 for 20 days and teach them whatever I know.
Image: Sandhya in Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje