Make-up artist Ranjith Ambady has bagged three Kerala State Awards for the movies Makalkku (2004), Thirakkadha (2008) and Palerimanikyam (2009). Widely commended for the realistic nature of his work, Ranjith is having busy days creating new looks. City Express gets him talking on his art and challenges it throws
What inspired you to this field?
Actually, I was fascinated by the work and interviews of make up man Pattanam Rasheed and that made me want to become a make-up artist. Initially, I assisted his films and later it was Blessy Sir who gave me an independent identity through his film Kaazhcha (2004). The State Award for Makalkku came the same year made me think seriously about approaching every character.
How important is the research behind every work?
Research and homework is the key to success. Every character, its lifestyle, along with the skin tone of the actor, should be kept in mind before approaching them. If possible, similar characters from real life should be studied for it can add to the originality.
Which is the most challenging character that you have faced?
Every new character I face is a challenge, be it of any importance. Anoop Menon’s character in in the upcoming project Pavada was quite a challenge as I had to alter his usual get-up to that of an old man. Make-up for the movies like Pranayam, Palerimanikyam and Thirakkadha had always posed a challenge to my creative side. I had to visit cancer patients and get advices from oncologist to understand more about their look while doing make-up for Priyamani in Thirakkadha for which I got State award in 2008.
What satisfies you?
I always feel proud when I see a look of satisfaction in the face of the actor and even in the director. During the shoot of Palunku, Jagathy Sreekumar asked for a still of his bald head. He rarely takes stills for his personal use though he has done more than 1,000 films.
How different is make up in Hollywood or Bollywood compared to that of our industry?
We have talent and creativity to compete with other industries. Our directors are ready to go upto any level for the perfection of the characters. But, the fact that we are a small industry with limited budget clips our wings.
You are working in Charlie and how are things in it?
It would be a milestone for Dulquer Salman who appears in a totally different get-upr. The first look poster released in August was noticed, especially the curled beard. I believe it would set a new trend here.
Any plans to focus on other fields than make up?
Production and design have always interested me as it is a space where one can be creative and challenging.