Monday, July 15, 2024

A Conversation with Biswajit Kalita- Makeup Artist

Robin Bhuyan

Like many behind-the-scenes crew members in the entertainment industry, movie makeup artists
also play an important role. Despite their importance, their work often goes unnoticed. The job of a
movie makeup artist or special effects makeup professional is never easy. It takes years of training
and incredible dedication to work consistently and find success as a film makeup artist. A make-up
artist needs to plan and apply the theatrical makeup designs for actors in feature films and television.
The complexity and type of design vary depending on the production, direction and character but
good makeup artists can execute a wide array of looks across various genres. Such a skilled makeup
artist in Assamese film industry is renowned Mr. Biswajit Kalita. We present here a conversation that
Enigmatic Horizon had recently with Mr. Kalita, who had worked in the recently released Dr
Bezbaruah 2.

EH: What factors or incidents attracted you to the field of makeup art?

BK: I used to love acting and theatre from a very early age. I got involved in it when I was just in the
sixth standard. I also got involved in various kinds of competitions, where I used to be an actor as well
as a director. I also won multiple awards. However, due to lack of good opportunities, I left the world of
acting and began running a business. However, things took a turn when years later my elder brother
Ghanashyam Kalita, who is involved in the field of cinema, offered me a chance to work as a make-up
artist.

EH: When did you begin your professional career as a makeup artist in the film industry?

BK: I began my career in the year 1999. The biggest hurdle was that unlike today, makeup art was a new
concept at that time, and therefore, I had to learn by working on film sets. My brother also helped me by
getting me acquainted to several senior make-up artists.

EH: What do you think are the core principles that a film makeup artist should follow for various
characters?

BK: A makeup artist needs to deeply study the role, situation and personality of the character that the
actor is going to portray, as per the script. Obviously above everything is what the director wants and
asks any crew member to do, including the makeup artist. The makeup artist needs to study the
individual and the personality of the one going to portray a given character.

EH: What is your opinion about the makeup products that contain harmful chemicals?

BK: Yes, that is an important question. Actually, before applying a makeup product to the skin of a
person, I see and check the applicability of the product. If a person has any type of allergy from certain
elements and informs me about this, then I avoid makeup products that contain those elements. There is
a general perception that makeup products damage the skin. But usually this is not true. If the product is
right for that skin type or hair, then it will not cause harm. However, there are definitely exceptions,
especially in cases where a person has any kind of allergy.

EH: When a make-up artist receives an award, on what basis is it provided?

BK: When you look at the characters of a film, and you are unable to determine that any of the actors
are using make-up, the credit goes to the make-up artist. This is the basis for providing the award. I
had received an award for ‘Best Make-Up’ artist for the movie Beautiful Lives.  
 
EH: Is there anything directly related to the field of makeup artist that you dislike?

BK: There are some points that I really dislike in this field. First, doing a perfect makeup for a character
to fit into the situation or environment that the script demands, is a tough act and needs complete
sincerity, scrutiny and attention with no interference from any person. And this needs a certain amount
of time that varies from character to character as per the script. As a makeup artist, I should get that
time. But often this does not happen. Sometimes I do not get the calm and silent environment that I
need to perform my work without any flaw. The actors and other crew members sometimes fail to arrive
at the spot at the given time. Secondly, there are two seriously disturbing things- the callings for the actor
when the lights and film set is ready and interference in the work by other people or the actor
himself/herself in the form of phone calls, tea breaks, unnecessary gossips, etc. Therefore, I definitely
get much lesser time than what I need, to prepare the character.

EH: How do you handle such stressful and sometimes unpleasant situations?

BK: There are times when I got angry and almost lost my cool. Over time, the people around me learnt
not to disturb me when I am focusing on the work.

EH: Last question, how is your experience in working for the movie ‘Dr. Bezbaruah 2’?

BK: My overall experience was good. This was the first time I had worked with Adil Hussain. Despite
the fact that he is an internationally known actor, we felt quite comfortable around him, since he also
hails from Assam. However, when it comes to work, Mr Hussain is quite serious. He is not going to
compromise on the work, just because we hail from the same place. However, I am experienced in this
field for a long time, so I could work without fear, although I was working with an actor of international
level.

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