Evolution of makeup art in Manipur
By Dr. R.K.Nimai
Gone are the days of the black and white movie era, where in Manipur a facial foundation, powder and a light touch of mascara, rouge and lipstick were the make-up for an artist. After colour films came, there was an evolution in the art of make-up, but there was a tendency to overdo it. With higher definition camera, makeup has to be perfect so that even very minor blemish do not show up and mar the face. No doubt many artists had gone under the scalpel, either for rhinoplasty or blepharopasty for correction of the nose and eyelids. Nose job has become quite popular but the most common is double eyelid surgery, which are so popular in East Asia. In fact, worldwide, it is the third most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in 2015 after breast augmentation and liposuction. In China, South Korea and Japan, even 9 year old have gone under the scalpel on the insistence of their parent for double eyelid surgery, though the Korean style of a natural looking thin crease that is less noticeable than the European style of wide fold on the eyelid had overtaken in popularity. Some in Manipur had reportedly undergone face-lift surgery to remove double chin.
Experts say that cosmetic have been with the humans since about 7000 years. Cosmetic are generally substances or products that are applied externally that enhance or alter the appearance of the face or the body or the aroma (perfumes). Cosmetics are earlier derived from natural substances but now-a-days many of the ingredients are artificial or synthetic. Use of some of the old cosmetics like ceruse (white lead) led to serious health problem and even in the early 20th century, blindness was caused by use of the mascara Lash Lure. Some of the old ingredients still in use are kohl, castor oil as protective balm, beeswax, olive oil, rose water and later on addition like Vaseline and lanolin. Presently any ingredients used in cosmetics have to be first tested for their safety and now most of the cosmetics in the market are prepared using safe ingredients. In USA the Federal Drug Agency is the agency to give the go ahead for use of any ingredient. Cosmetics for males have also come up in a big way.
When films was first shot in Manipur, the brands of cosmetics available was very limited and that mostly manufactured in India but down the years any cosmetics manufactured by the top companies are available or if not can be ordered online. The types of cosmetics are mind-boggling but it can be divided into two types; decorative and care cosmetics. Decorative are used for occasion while care for everyday use. Primer is use on the face before makeup is applied to prevent acne and clogging of the pores. It creates an even tone. Concealer covers imperfections of the skin like acne, pimple blemishes, under eye circles, etc. Foundation smooth out the face covering spots, acnes or even uneven tone of the face. Face powder sets the foundation white giving a matte finish while covering blemishes. Rouge and blush brings out the colour on the cheeks and make the cheekbone more defined. Highlights usually applied on the cheekbones, below the eyebrows, nose, upper lips and collar bones tries to draw attention to these points. Bronzer very popular with pale skin gives skin a tan look and brings out a more defined look. Lipstick, lip gloss, lip liner, lip balm, lip conditioner, lip primer, lip boosters and lip butters all for the lips are available in different colours and different finishes such as matte, satin, gloss and lustre. Mascara for the eyelashes darkens, lengthens and thickens it to draw attention to the eyelashes and is available in different colours and some may contain glitter flecks. Eye shadow, now a part of the daily routine is to accentuate the eye areas, above and under the eyelids now comes in different colours. Eyeliners is use to apparently alter the length and size of the eyes. Eyebrow pencil, cream, waxes, gels and powders alter the length, size and colour of the eyebrows and are used for the once very popular “instagram look” which is now no longer after challenges from influencers. Nail polish in use for quite sometimes is for colouring the fingernails and toenails and come in different colours. It is one of the most popular cosmetics and used by almost every girl or woman. Now it comes in different colours, some even with glitter. Setting spray, sets the makeup and is used at the last and was suppose to make the makeup last long. False eyelashes are now the norm in Manipur for female actors and come in different shapes and sizes but in many of the film sequences, it just don’t look natural but artificial. For a makeup artist contouring is the art to redefine the face. The last but not the least is the cleansers to remove the makeup so that the skin can breathe after the makeup is removed from the face.
The above was just to give the types and products available to the makeup artist to apply makeup and with so many products and brands, identifying the right cosmetics for an individual becomes both a science and art. Some of the leading manufacturers are YSL Beauty, Clinique, Fenty Beauty, Giorgio Armani Beauty, NARS, Estee Lauder, Maybelline, MAC and so on and so forth. Even a manufacturers releases different brands or lines such as Estee Lauder markets Victoria Beckham range, ANR Range, Double Wear and Pure Colour Envy besides Aerin beauty, Aramis, Aveda, Beauty Bank, Bobbi Brown, Bumble and Bumble, Clinique, darphin, Donna Karan, MAC, etc. Nearly a decade back, a late very popular female actor once mentioned that they are slowly learning the art of makeup after watching Korean soaps. Further when a three member all girl K-pop group came down to Imphal some years back, when they arrived at the hotel I was introduced to them and they just look like ordinary college kids. But after makeup, and when they come out for the show, they all look gorgeous and stunning. I learned from one of them who speak English that in Korea, companies pick singers at a young age and train them in the various arts like makeup, dancing, etc besides singing and provide them the support to perform. The artists have a long contract with such companies.
These two incidents made me try when I was with the state government to bring a well known Korean makeup artist to interact with our makeup artists for a week or so, to enable ours to learn the art for our mongoloid features. Our face is different from the Indo-Aryans and the area to highlight or mask is different from theirs. Most of our makeup artists are trained within India and the training is on the Indo-Aryan features. But the project could not see the light as the cost was prohibitive. The improvement in the quality of makeup in the films and music albums point that our artists are adopting the more correct approach, but it need a caution that makeup is not stand alone and need to mesh with the dress, etc. In a recent song sequence from a film, the female actor in a long yellow dress with big red and green flower print look stunning and vivacious but in the next frame in a black dress she does not look so stunning. The makeup and the black dress just do not mesh and does not complement each other. I am not criticising the makeup artist but tries to highlight the difficulty for a proper makeup for a specific scene, with the vast array of materials available. Further in a fashion parade recently, where quite a few of our well known female actors walked the ramp, the makeup was so heavy that there was a surreal feeling and it is like watching a Kabuki or Noh theatre of Japan, where the artists wear masks. For those with fair skin, it is easier but for a dusky actor, putting makeup on the face making it fairer with the neck, collar bones and the hands one or two shades darker leaves one dumbfounded. Dark is also beautiful. Can anyone say that Tyra Banks, Halle Berry, Ashley Murray, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Arlenis Sosa, Naomi Campbell or Alicia Keys not beautiful? The hang-up of “white is beautiful” need to go as black or brown are equally beautiful. Those with pale skin try to tan using tanning lotion or bronzer to darken the skin tone. A case of other side of the fence is always greener!
The makeup art in Manipur has slowly evolved to the present position, but it needs to go further to equal the international or national level. The makeup artist has to be involved as a part of film shooting so that the requirement of each frame is discussed and understood. Further, there is big business in beautifying the bride in any marriage and thus it has become a paying profession and one need to put their creativity and skill to the utmost. Even the bride’s mother is done with makeup. This article emphasises on the commercial films in Manipur as .the female actors are the trendsetter for fashion and glamour and youngster pick up what their favourite actors wears or apply. Yes, the artists of yesteryears are there for their love of the art and not for money. Now, there is money and the artists worked hard to maintain their body, dresses fashionably, doesn’t go out without makeup, etc. For the makeup artist, the face is the canvas and they can explore and come up with different application for each individual as the uniqueness of each individual has to be brought out. They ought to remember the words of the French photographer Francois Nars who started NARS Cosmetics “Foundation should unify tone, but it shouldn’t take away the individuality of the skin”. And the result of makeup must be such that onlooker should assume that there is little or no makeup.
(PS. The portion on the types of cosmetics in Para 3 above was condensed from Wikepedia)
IMPHAL | Oct 12 The State Cabinet today approved the ‘Stand Up Manipur’ scheme under the existing Start Up Manipur Scheme. The scheme will provide subsidy and soft loans to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, OBC, Women and Minorities of the State for se.....
IMPHAL I Oct 12 The Government of India representative and interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, RN Ravi, who is also the Governor of Nagaland will hold a consultative meeting with the “primary stakeholders, Church leaders and civil societies” at 2.30.....
IMPHAL | Oct 12 “Every community in the State should be consulted by the state government before placing any political aspiration and demand to the Centre. We are all prepared to resist if the NSCN (IM) peace talks outcome compromises state’s territori.....
IMPHAL | Oct 12 More than 150 passengers were left stranded for nearly 24 hours at Bir Tikendrajit International Airport (BTIA) after one of the rear tyres of a Delhi bound Air Asia flight deflated before taking off yesterday. When IFP went to enqui.....