Abhijit Chanda is an extremely well known name in the make up industry in India. The Calcutta based, much sought after make up artist has worked with countless celebrities, actors and models on platforms across films, television, fashion weeks, magazines and events. I got the chance to interview him at a Make Up workshop organized by Circle Workshops and Events.
How and why did you choose to be a make up artist?
I can’t precisely say why, but when you are in school you tend to decide what you want to pursue in life, like medical or engineering. I wanted to do something different. I did my first make up look when I was 16 years old, in the year 1999 and at that time this career choice was beyond most people’s understanding. They simply couldn’t comprehend the fact that a man was venturing into Make Up. Even today some people don’t understand when I tell them that I am a make up artist by profession!
I used to paint a lot throughout my childhood and teens so that in a way also helped me get a better grip at make up, because the face is also just like a canvas.
I have seen a lot of ups and downs, non acceptance, hatred, love, acceptance and respect in my career and I am at a good place today. I believe that one should never look back at what that person has gone through. Instead, we should always look forward in life and try to get better at what we do,by investing all our energy, time, money and hardwork into our profession.
What do you enjoy the most about being a make up artist?
Every part of it! In the make up industry, you either make it or break it. You either do a fab job at making your client look fantastic, or you simply fail. There is no scope for mediocrity here.
Each client of mine is a different person with a different notion about make up. Some are very open to trying out new looks and experimenting while others are very conservative and apprehensive. It is my job to break that barrier of consciousness and insecurity and help them achieve the best look possible for them. It’s a daily challenge that I thoroughly enjoy!
With hundreds of beauty gurus and blogs on the internet, make up is a hot topic and as easily accessible. What is your take on the present state of knowledge about make up among women in Calcutta today?
In Calcutta, people really are interested in make up. But as I just said, many are still not open to experimenting. I work with brides across the country and abroad and most of them don’t mind a dark smoky eye or a bright lipstick on their big day. But here in Calcutta, the one phrase I get to hear very often is, “Too Loud!” But then when I meet them the next day, they say everyone loved and praised the look! This insecurity with make up needs to go away.
Which are the most basic rules a beginner should follow when starting out with make up?
Understand your personality. You simply can’t do random things on your face which don ‘t go with your overall personality and expect to look good. Don’t follow celebrities or hot trends blindly and decide for yourself, what looks good on you or what doesn’t.
Everyone now seems to know about international and professional make up brands like Nars, Bobbi Brown, Urban Decay, Ben Nye, Sigma, Real Techniques and so on, all thanks to the internet and online shopping. But do people really know how to use these products well or should they seek professional help like attending a workshop ?
I think its important to attend a workshop at least once. These products are an investment and are expensive as well. If you don’t know how to use them well, then you are simply wasting your money. Also, I believe people should concentrate more on their practice and technique than on expensive brands. You can even achieve fantastic looks using brands which are easily available to us like Maybelline and Lakme, and they are very reasonably priced as well.
Most international brands are based in the US, U.K and Canada which are colder countries and their products are made for such climates. So it is important to choose products according to your skin type as well as the climate of the place where you live. It is always advisable to attend a workshop where you have a professional to teach you some basic techniques which will help you in the long run. And at the end of the day its all about how much you practice.
Who is your dream model? Some one you would love to work on?
Oh there are so many! I wanted to work with Lisa Ray and that dream has been fulfilled. I like Angelina Jolie’s chiseled face. But I especially want to work with Rihanna someday,as firstly she’s very open to experiment and some of her looks are very bold and striking and secondly her features are very sharp which are an ideal setting for a make up artist.
And back home in Tollywood? Who are your favorites?
I can’t really chose as many will get disappointed if I pick one person. However, my friend Sreenanda Shankar is someone who gives me full freedom to try out whatever looks I want to on her face and that gives me a lot of space to play around with colors and different looks.
Speaking of models, how much is the make up trend catching up with men here?
Metrosexual men are interested in make up more or less but that is only to achieve an even skin tone. I will always advice men to focus more on skin care and less on make up. A little concealor to hide dark circles, pigmentation, blemishes or scars is always fine but I would not suggest a full foundation routine. For a complete look, a little touch of compact should be fine.
You have trained countless women in your make up master class with Circle Workshop and Events. Can you briefly describe what an Abhijit Chanda Make Up class is like?
Every single woman who attends the class has a different criteria, skin and complexion and also sometimes an old school notion about make up. I try to concentrate on their personal requirements and try to break their barriers about make up. I try to show them how to highlight their best features instead of wasting time behind correcting faults, most of which cannot be corrected with make up.
What has been your experience like, conducting these workshops with Mallika Juthani and Circle Workshops and Events.
I have conducted various workshops, but with Circle, it is different. This has turned out to be a long term association with Mallika and Circle workshops and events and that is majorly because we have a lot of scope for improvising and coming up with new concepts between us. She is very understanding and adjusts dates in situations where I can’t make it in time for a workshop, like one time when I was sick and she rescheduled the class or another time when my travel dates were clashing with a workshop date. I am free to improvise on the agenda of the class and freedom is supremely important for an artist to yield maximum results. So it has been a great experience!
Can you suggest some make up tips for our readers?
- Concentrate on your best features. Don’t waste time on problems which cannot be corrected with make up.
- Never put on make up which covers up your real personality. Your make up should be in balance with you and your persona.
- And finally, never put on make up just to look fair. Choose the correct shade of foundation which matches your skin tone. Using foundations lighter than your original skin color will make you look white or even gray and that looks very unpleasant.
Attending Abhijit Chanda’s make up masterclass and interviewing him was a delightful experience for me. He was very patient with the participants and tried one look or another on each and every one. I also loved the fact that he appreciated my make up on that day and complimented me, hence he came across as a very humble, polite and grounded human being, despite being one of the best professional make up artists in the city.
If you want to attend one of these workshops by Abhijit, then please like the Facebook Page of Circle Workshops and Events to stay updated. They organise atleast one make up workshop every month!
Images have been sourced from Abhijit Chanda and Circle Workshops and Events with permission