KOCHI: Remember the scene in hit Tovino Thomas-starrer Minnal Murali when antagonist Shibu emerges with a half-burnt face and deep burns all over his body? The artist behind it, Pradeep Vithura who hails from a village in the capital city, is a natural at transformations like that. He has been a make-up artist for the past 20 years but got his golden break on the Basil Joseph directorial.
The burnt images of the antagonist played by Guru Somasundaram could have easily scared kids and adults. But Pradeep took the utmost care while putting it together, to ensure that it doesn’t give people nightmares. “In most cases, the special make-up effects are performed by international professionals. But veteran Hassan Vandoor managed the make-up department of Minnal Murali and director Basil put their confidence in me to deliver the prosthetic segments which are mostly the fake burnt injuries on villain Shibu and wound scars on Tovino Thomas. Basil was adamant that the burnt images on characters must not terrify the audience, especially children,” says Pradeep.
It was the biggest challenge he faced in 20 years of his career. Pradeep says good knowledge of colour tones and experience as an artist helped him come up with a good prosthetic finishing of fake burnt injuries on the climax scene. Pradeep devoted an entire day and night during the 20 days to take care of the prosthetic makeup division for the climax.
“The products used for the special make-up effects are imported and can melt if exposed to extreme heat. I was tense when got to know that Shibu’s character is exposed to fire with his burnt look. I must thank Guru Somasundaram for the height of his patience and down-to-earth character. Every day a total of three hours is needed to complete Shibu’s burnt look during the climax shoot. And takes more than an hour to remove it. The prosthetic mold is made of silicone substance and can be sticky if not removed properly. The actor was very understanding while removing the leftovers in his mustache and eyebrows even though it was very painful for him. That showed his acting dedication and respect for other artistes,” adds Pradeep.
Also, he is excited to explore the unknown make-up department, prosthetic makeup. He says with his work in Minnal Murali he was able to give a new definition to make up in films. Pradeep who was a former artist and self taught make-up artist says he was flooded with inquiries on prosthetic makeup.
“In the film though VFX is used for the action sequences, the make-up of Shibu is free from VFX effects and that gave me confidence and feel success in my art. Many including common man who watched the film are asking on usage of prosthetics cosmetics which is new to them. Rather than tagging as a department which puts foundation and lipsticks for actors, the public is now aware that make-up department has other in-depth possibilities and usage in films also,” concludes Pradeep