Celebrated hairstylists speak: Sridevi dream girl, Madhuri fond of fish…
From Madhuri’s side ponytail in Ek Do Teen to Deepika’s grunge look in her debut, Bharat and Dorris Godambe have together made up tinsel town’s faces since the ’80s
Reema Gehi (MUMBAI MIRROR; July 22, 2012)
There are many things that go into a film star’s mannequin-like appearance, from hiding their slightest blemish to coiffing their hair to perfection. Make-up artists and hairstylists Bharat and Dorris Godambe would know. After all, the duo has dolled up a generation of movie idols, both, on and off screen.
Think of Madhuri Dixit’s swinging sidepony tail in Ek Do Teen in Tezaab, Rani Mukherji’s glam look in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Sonam Kapoor’s traditional belle act in Saawariya and Deepika Padukone’s dual avatar in Om Shanti Om.
Having worked in the beauty industry for more than three decades, the duo now owns the Bharat & Dorris salon-cum-studio in Oshiwara. “It was my husband’s dream to have our own studio and brand, and I had to fulfill it,” says doting wife Dorris, while we wait for Bharat and his 27-year-old son Suraj, a celebrity-hairstylist. Minutes later, the two scurry in. “The Dabangg 2 shoot wrapped up a bit late last night,” says Suraj, apologetically.
Dorris is eleven years younger than Bharat, now 58. Through the conversation, Bharat breaks his silence only a few times, and lets Dorris do most of the talking. “I never completed my education. My sister Veena was Amrita Singh’s hairstylist. She fell sick during the shoot of Mard, so she sent me to the set. Gradually, I started helping my sister out, and began to bag other assignments,” says Dorris.
“My real name is Draupadi,” she says. “I changed it to Dorris because people found it difficult to pronounce. But there are three people who say my name exceptionally well — Neena Gupta, Madhuri Dixit and Amitabh Bachchan. When Bachchan sir calls me Draupadi, I want to hear it again and again,” she laughs. “But, I think Dorris has been a lucky name for me.”
While she styles hair, Bharat takes care of the make-up. Bharat, who trained under the veteran make-up artist Pandhari Dada from 1976 to 1984, had heard about Dorris’s skills. In the late ’80s, during the filming of Agneepath, Bharat called Dorris to style actress Madhavi’s hair. “I remember, I turned up in a short skirt. Madhavi looked me up and down, and said, ‘In our industry when women wear a salwar kameez, they say Namaste. But if they’re wearing shorts, they’ll touch you and say, ‘Hi’.” Later, she learnt that Bharat had requested Madhvi to fling that line at her. “I always wanted my husband to be mature so that he could pamper me. Bharat is my best friend. He is very protective and doesn’t allow me to mingle with others on the set,” says Dorris.
On the sets, however, the two are known to engage in entertaining squabble. “If we don’t bicker, the stars think there’s some problem between us,” laughs Dorris. Yet, their bickering — often related to professional matters — didn’t affect their personal life. Says Suraj, “My parents would return late at night. Once home, they occupied themselves with me and my sister. Dad is a silent assassin, and mom is Hitler at home.”
Dorris credits Jaya Bachchan, from whom she learnt how to manage her house and business, for teaching her how to negotiate a tough industry and a difficult husband. Besides the Bachchans, the Godambes share a long association with Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla, Urmila Matondkar, Rani Mukerji, and Aishwarya Rai (much before she became a Bachchan).
“Working with Madhuri was like going for a picnic. She’s very fond of food, especially fish. During lunch break, we could go completely crazy,” recalls Bharat. “On the other hand, Parveen Babi was particular about what she used to eat. Every day, her lunch comprised a slice of brown bread, egg whites and a glass of juice. We used to be a four-member staff working with her and she would get the cook to prepare a full meal for us. We’d be embarrassed to eat in front of her,” he says.
But their most cherished memory is a shoot with Sridevi for a magazine in the ’90s. “She was my dream girl,” says Dorris. “I remember Rakesh Shreshtha calling me one afternoon asking if we could reach in two hours for the shoot.” They took four hours to get to the location. “We were scared,” says Bharat. “We thought aaj toh gaali milegi.” But Sridevi, who was known for her star tantrums, remained nonchalant. “She was a thorough professional. She sat like a statue while we did her hair and make-up,” says Dorris. “Once Bharat was done, I asked her what kind of hairstyle she wanted. She said I had full liberty. My hands were trembling. Sridevi held my hand and said, ‘Dorris you’re the best, just do what you feel like’. I still get goose bumps when I think of it.”
But Suraj, who grew up hearing these names, wasn’t in awe of the glitz. “I wasn’t even interested in hair and make-up,” he says. Five years ago, while he was in London, he went to the Tony & Guy salon to check out their new products. Unknowingly, he had stepped into their hair academy. “I was blown away by what I saw. I later went to Australia to pursue an advanced course in hair grooming.”
The salon Suraj joined on returning to India bagged the 2009 film 3 Idiots. “On set, I’m not Bharat and Dorris’s son, because when people know, their perspective changes. During the shooting of 3 Idiots, I had some issues with the director, after I replaced his original choice for hairstylist. But when Aamir (Khan) informed him about my parents, things eased.”
“Until now, my career has been 40 per cent my hard word and 60 per cent their goodwill,” says Suraj.