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Meet The Man Behind Lara Dutta's Mind-blowing Transformation in 'Bell Bottom'

Vikram Gaikwad, the man behind Lara Dutta's transformation to Indira Gandhi, tells us how he got the look right.

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Bollywood
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Ever since the makers dropped the trailer of Akshay Kumar-starrer Bell Bottom, fans can't stop talking about the 'unrecognisable' transformation of Lara Dutta to Indira Gandhi. Social media is flooded with discussions about Dutta's near-perfect look.

The man responsible for this amazing transformation is four-time National Award-winner and ace make-up artist Vikram Gaikwad.

Speaking to The Quint Gaikwad says, "Bell Bottom is a period film, which means all the characters in the movie have to belong to a certain era and look a certain way for the audience to believe in them. The result, you see, is the outcome of a very thorough and thought through process."

The Quint also caught up with Lara Dutta to share her experience.

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Fans are going crazy over Lara Dutt's look in 'Bell Bottom. Have you read the comments appreciating your work?

And Lara, did you expect this kind of reaction from people on social media?

Vikram Gaikwad: I am really happy for the appreciation and recognition that we are receiving from fans. I feel very proud to see fans from today's generation having knowledge about prosthetics and taking interest in the process of transformation through make-up.

"I didn't expect this reaction from people. I have to be honest, the last 48 hours since we released the trailer have been overwhelming. I am very grateful. I am happy and content with the way I portrayed Mrs Gandhi on screen and I am very excited for people to see it".
Lara Dutta, Actor

This is not the first time an actor is playing Indira Gandhi. What was the kind of brief given before you decided the final look. How long did it take? Can you take me through the process?

Lara, how were you offered the role, and as an actor tell us what your journey was like getting into the skin of an icon like Indira Gandhi.

Vikram Gaikwad: To start with, replicating the look of a character in a period film, and that too of a personality like Indira Gandhi is a humongous responsibility. The responsibility of executing the mannerisms and the way someone looks falls on the shoulders of an actor and the make-up team. As you rightly said, this is not the first time we have been faced with such a challenge. I strive on challenges as it makes my work interesting and helps me get better each day. Make-up is an art and art requires practice and gets better only when you push your limits.

"Around 2-3 trials were conducted before shooting started. During the first trial we were able to get as close as how Indira Gandhi looks, and then we started refining the features. The make-up took three hours. An intensive transformation like this cannot happen without the dedication, sincerity and co-operation of the artistes. I would really like to thank Lara and appreciate her for the same. I have a fully-equipped and trained team too. We make prosthetic pieces ourselves. I would like to mention Jagdish Yere, who supervises the team and Prashant Doiphode for his expertise in making the prosthetic pieces".
Vikram Gaikwad, Make-up artist
Vikram Gaikwad, the man behind Lara Dutta's transformation to Indira Gandhi, tells us how he got the look right.

The fake nose that was made specially to transform Lara into Mrs Gandhi. 

(Photo Courtesy: Pooja Entertainment)

"When Akshay called and said he wants me to play Indira Gandhi, I kept laughing. Because I have worked with him in so many films and I know what a prankster he is. I thought this was another prank of his. He was like, 'Why are you laughing? I am serious'. And I was like 'Why are you thinking of me? I don't look like Mrs Gandhi from any angle. We have no resemblance. He then said, 'We need an actor who has a certain kind of body language, poise and someone who can bring a certain gravitas to the role.'"
Lara Dutta, Actor
Vikram Gaikwad, the man behind Lara Dutta's transformation to Indira Gandhi, tells us how he got the look right.

Vikram Gaikwad: I read the script, and then the casting and direction teams informed us Lara is going to play Indira Gandhi. If you compare Lara Dutta to Indira Gandhi there is no likeness between their faces. However, Lara is a brilliant actor and fit for the role, hence I had to do my best to deliver the look. To start with, we looked up several pictures and videos of Indiraji and compared them with Lara’s features. Indiraji has three prominent features - eyebrows, nose and the face, along with her hair style. If you see, we have changed the shape and style of the eyebrows to make them look more dominant. We have done prosthetics on the nose. The wig was also worked out meticulously. Wrinkles have also been created along with a lot of shading.

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How did people on set react when they saw Lara's transformation for the first time?

Vikram Gaikwad: From the first trial itself, everyone was shocked. When Lara saw herself in the get-up for the first time, she said she was unable to recognise herself. She was convinced with the look and that is very important for me. That's the moment my work is successful.

Vikram Gaikwad, the man behind Lara Dutta's transformation to Indira Gandhi, tells us how he got the look right.

The wig was alos made by Vikram Gaikwad's team.

(Photo Courtesy: Pooja Entertainment)

Lara Dutta: None of us imagined that this would be the result when we sat down on the first day of the look test. None of us knew what it will turn out. When we were done and I was dressed, I looked in the mirror and couldn't recognise myself. Now that people tell me that they can't recognise me in the trailer, I don't blame them. I mean there is no way I could see Lara in the face that was looking back at me.

"Once I realised that none of us expected the resemblance to be this close, there was an added pressure on me when it came to the performance. I needed to up my game to make the character completely believable. And then started the prep of getting into skin and the mind of Mrs Gandhi to portray her accurately".
Lara Dutta, Actor

Vikram Gaikwad: Producer Jackky Bhagnani and director Ranjit Tiwari saw Lara and they were taken aback. Even when Akshay Kumar saw the pictures, he was surprised. The most important thing was that Lara, Akshay, Ranjit and Jackky trusted me and cooperated throughout.

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When you are getting your artiste ready everyday what can be nerve- wrecking for you, and how do you make things easy?

"When it comes to prosthetics, our work involves a lot of trail and error. Sometimes due to weather conditions outside, we have to re-do stuff. If the actors we are working with are not supportive and are impatient or irritated our morale goes down".
Vikram Gaikwad, Make-up artist

Vikram Gaikwad: The most difficult part of prosthetic make up job is pasting and matching prosthetic pieces like the nose and cheeks on an actor's face. After you paste a piece, the edges have to be matched with the whole skin, and that requires a lot of skill.

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