Mickey Contractor. He’s the man whose magical make-up wand touches Bollywood’s most famous faces. He is the one who sets India’s strongest beauty trends on the catwalk and off it. Having been around for around three decades, he knows the pulse of a pigment like no one else. During a Vogue India cover shoot, Kareena didn’t give a single angle without him. During her wedding, Aishwarya didn’t budge an inch without him. He is, in short, make-up’s most influential man in the country. Mickey, director of make-up artistry, M.A.C India, the best thing that's happen to Bollywood's make-up vans.
Do you remember the first time with Bollywood make-up?
I started in the late 1970s as an assistant to Pandhari Juker. My first time on the sets was at Manoj Kumar’s Kranti. I was allowed to hold mirrors for character actors! My first independent film was Saath Saath in 1982. It starred Deepti Naval and Farooq Shaikh. I did the make-up for Farooq and some character actors.
Three decades! Things must be so different now…
Oh yes! Frankly, I feel we are in a different era altogether. Those were the days when you couldn’t find a single decent lipstick! In fact, it’s uncanny how M.A.C has played a role in shaping my career. When I was doing Kajol’s first film, Bekhudi, I remember buying my first few M.A.C lipsticks in Canada. I still remember that I bought Taupe, Twig and Diva.
From Kajol’s first film to her milestone smoky look in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham to now…. How has the make-up changed?
Lots! I did Bekhudi and now in December, I will do My Name Is Khan, Karan Johar’s latest film with Shah Rukh Khan. When I look back I can say that I wouldn’t do her make-up now like I did in those days. But that was the trend in those years. Today, it would be completely different. After M.A.C, my techniques have changed dramatically. Also, my perception of her face has changed. She has changed from a teenager to a mother. I have changed from a bachelor to a father of two!
There’s Drona that is out on October 2 with Priyanka Chopra. I have done bits and pieces for her in Fashion and there’s Priyanka again in Dostana where she’s got a tawny look, typically Miami.
Do you have a special chemistry with Priyanka Chopra?
(Laughs) She tells me that when she was a model I did a really bad campaign for her and made her look like shit but I don’t remember anything about it! It’s the first time that I have done six films in a row with someone and I don’t think it will happen again. There’s a great comfort factor.
Coming to M.A.C, how did the Indian skin-specific foundations come about?
When I joined MAC, the only product that I didn’t use much was their foundation. I wasn’t happy with their colors and we had to mix quite a few shades to get the color. This was time consuming and also a problem for continuity. So my colleague Vimi Joshi and I started mixing and came up with new shades for the Indian skin tone. Very soon, we will launch compatible concealers.
What exactly is your role in M.A.C?
Well, I endorse the brand, somewhat like the face of M.A.C in India. I take all the trends and customize them and make them consumer-friendly. I take international trends and make them suitable to the vision of Indian designers. I also hold master classes and educate the masses on techniques.
Designer Manish Arora has mentioned he is collaborating with MAC…
M.A.C has worked with Manish on many of his shows. We have been constantly backing him and providing him with proper infrastructure. When M.A.C came to India they wanted to do a designer collaboration. But it made sense to go with someone to whom make-up matters. And for Manish, make-up is a very vital part of his package. We have been working on his line for two years because testing takes a really long time. Then we also need to check for scientific reactions like oxidation, etc. Manish Arora's collection is now available.
Where does M.A.C and make-up fit in the current Fashion Week scenario?
It goes hand in hand. Fashion without make-up is like a sari without a petticoat! During Fashion Week every designer wants to outdo one another and most of the time the pressure falls on the make-up artist. We realize that dramatic make-up can take away from the clothes and the idea of Fashion Week is to showcase the designer’s clothes. Hair and make-up are just used to pad things up. Many designers are now understanding the equation. I hope some day roles are reversed and we show our trends while the designers are willing to take a backseat just like we do now!
Mickey picks his Top 10 M.A.C products
- Studio Moisture Cream
- Studio Fix Fluid Foundation
- Gingerly and Sincere powder blushes
- Mineralize Skin Finish/Natural
- Black Track fluidline
- Zoom Lash mascara
- Plum, Spice and Cork lip pencil
- All Viva Glam lipsticks 1-6
- Clear Lipglass
- Carbon, Goldmine and Follie Eye Shadows
Hema Malini. She is the ultimate dream girl in Hindi cinema
Kareena or Aishwarya?
Who has a perfect face?
Men and make-up…
Celeb or commoner — who’s face excites you more?
A great face excites me most.
Is very emotional.
Ash’s bridal make-up…
Was very emotional. It was for a friend. Tweet this!