Najeeb's Look In The Film Was Completely Our Imagination: Aadujeevitham Make Up Artist Ranjith Ambady

Aadujeevitham, which released on March 28 is winning praise from the audience worldwide. The survival drama, starring Prithviraj Sukumaran in the lead role, has emerged a winner against all odds. Prithviraj's look as Najeeb is garnering attention as well. In an exclusive chat with Zoom, National award-winning make-up specialist Ranjith Ambady, who worked on designing Prithviraj's look in the film, speaks about the challenges of working on it and the kind of appreciation he has received for the film. Read on to know more.
Ranjith Ambady and Prithviraj

Ranjith Ambady and Prithviraj Sukumaran From The Sets of Aadujeevitham. (Image Credits: Ranjith Ambady Instagram)

Dehydrated and flaky skin with a sunburn, cracked lips and matted hair - Najeeb looked different from his usual self. After working in the harsh desert of Saudi Arabia for a prolonged period of time, this was how Najeeb looked during the phase where he was trapped and ill-treated while looking for freedom and solace. When he was finally close to redemption, he sees his reflection for the first time in two years and it terrifies him.
This look equally shocked the audience and they could not believe that actor Prithviraj Sukumaran transformed himself for the film Aadujeevitham.
This look of his was conceptualized and brought to the screen by National Award-winning make-up specialist Ranjith Ambady.
Talking exclusively to Zoom, the expert speaks about working on Aadujeevitham, the challenges and when the team met the real Najeeb.
How was it working on Aadujeevitham?
The fact that we worked for five years, was new. Usually one completes around eight to 10 films during this time. So, this was new.
The team of the film got stuck in Jordon during the pandemic. How did you manage to work during that time? Did you face problems?
Compared to what was going in our hometown, we felt that it was best that as a crew, we were isolated in the desert there. We were stationed in the shoot location which was at least six hours away from the main city. So, we didn't see or face people on a regular basis. We didn't fall sick either. In the 70 days that we were there, we shot for around 30-40 days since we didn't get permission to shoot for some days.
How did you decide on Najeeb's look? Was there any reference?
After the first narration, we began working on the character. Back then, we didn't see the real Najeeb. We didn't have any reference as to how he looked either. It was only during the release that we met him. So I imagined Najeeb to be in a certain way after I read the book. I designed the first look and we got a sketch done.
Shooting in the desert is quite a challenge, given the unpleasant weather. How did you manage to use the right make-up material to make sure you achieve the best results?
We researched and searched for the best material to get this look. Would you believe me if I tell you that what you see in the film isn't Prithviraj's real skin? We used a material to cover his actual skin tone. We added additional false hair and beard to make it look believable. Whatever we have sourced for this film, will not be reused for any other, as this film is a unique one. So we requested our vendors to make materials for us very specifically.
What was the biggest compliment you have received from the team?
The director, Blessy sir, told me very often that after Prithviraj, it is me who is very important to the film. That motivated me. (laughs)
Helen, Maryan and Aadujeevitham - you have worked on three survival dramas in your career - what do you think of before you design the look for these characters in films like these?
When you work on such a subject, we have to keep in mind that the make-up should enhance the character of the artiste. It should not deter him during the performance. In such films, the character tries to overcome tough situations. Therefore, if the make up we apply irritates them, it would impact their performance.
What do you think your best work is so far?
My best is yet to come (laughs).
End of Article
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