Today when a woman is working in every field, even flying an airplane, and doing a very good job in her profession, why can’t the Bollywood have women make-up artistes? As long as they are fearless and ready to accept any challenge, I think they should be allowed to work. While this is a long-standing issue, the problem is also that the Cine Costume Make-up Artists and Hair Dressers Association (CCMAA) is a single association handling three departments, namely, costume designing, make-up and hairdressing which has been delegating work, mostly to women costume designers and hair dressers, but until recently, women make-up artistes were not licensed to work.
I personally feel that lifting the ban is a very good move and women can now work as make-up artistes. Even my daughters are in the same profession. What I have noticed is that when it comes to work, women are very responsible and diligent. They give it a lot of importance and are experts in their field while men tend to be laidback at times. They are perfectionists in whatever they pursue. However, having said that, the problem in this case could be that a woman make-up artiste may not entirely know how to apply make-up that is needed for films. She may be good at regular make-up and the kind needed for weddings, but this could be rectified with the association taking the initiative to conduct classes with talented senior make-up artistes from our industry on the panel. Taking lessons at a beauty parlour is not the solution as only basic skills are taught there. Moreover, a trained artiste can now get a license easily from the association to pursue their profession.
This is not to say that there have not been people who have been working on the sly without a license. Thus, while women make-up artists earlier worked in disguise, other bonafide members of the association were jobless due to actresses prefering to work with women make-up artistes.
Now, with this lift in the ban, the problem, if I may call it that would be with woman also being good at hairstyling, the film artiste will prefer one person to do both, their hair and make-up. While this may reduce the cost factor, it also means that one more person is out of work. Another important issue here will be whetherwomen are willing to work till late, stay back on night shoots and work outdoors which may not be possible for mothers and married women. This is just the beginning. They have to learn to tackle problems. Moreover, this will also depend on how much leeway the artiste they are working for is willing to give them.
However, our’s being a huge industry, there is enough work for everyone so there is nothing to fear. I have been Amitabh Bachchan’s make-up artiste for 41 years. It is trust and loyalty that has cemented the bond between us, and I hope women make-up artistes continue this trend.
As told to Namita Nivas