'Kaazhcha' to 'Aadujeevitham', Ranjith Ambady talks about exploring makeup

Sarin S Rajan

3 min read
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Ranjith Ambady gives a makeover to Fahadh Faasil for 'Malik'

Ranjith Ambady was a person who approached cinema as an option for livelihood. But as being passionate about films, he became a makeup artist who explored the field and surprised the audience with his amazing skills through the onscreen characters. Finally, Ranjith Ambady received national recognition for his exceptional work in his area after years. He bagged his first state award as an independent makeup artist for the movie ‘Kaazhcha.’ Now, he was honoured with the national award for his contribution in ‘Helen’ starring Anna Ben. Talking to Mathrubhumi.com Ranjith Ambady shared his experiences from knocking on doors after doors for a chance in a movie to his growth as a national award winner.

Beginning of film career

I am a person who came into movies as finding a job, and it was in 1996 I entered as an assistant makeup artist. My entire life changed when I got a chance to assist Pattanam Rasheed, who is regarded as an integral part of the Malayalam film industry. Initially, I used to work as a daily wage worker. Still, in 2004, I switched to an independent artist while doing ‘Kaazhcha.’ The same year, I also did another movie called ‘Makalodu.’ I got the state award for the best makeup in my first independent work.

Changes in Cinema

There have been a lot of changes. Makeup was early looked up as only a method to make junior artistes more glamorous, but it has changed now. It won’t be the same makeup now as it used to be during the black and white period.


Script reading is the most critical component. You’ll get a picture of what to do if you completely understand a script. The type of character and movie are essential elements. The primary goal is to portray the exact look in the writer's mind. We will prepare rough pictures for films that have completed the casting, which is used to find the perfect look. For movies that haven't fixed the cast, we decide the type of makeup after holding talks.

Ranjith Ambady gives a makeover to Biju Menon for 'Aarkariyam'

Uniqueness of Malayalam movies

Malayalam movies are rich with natural features which could be the subject or any other factor. It will be created more realistically. We need to consider how many movies are being remade and how many are successful. Here, we work for the story and characters, not the cinema. That is the change. In other languages, the story and characters are being distorted for the benefit of the actors and business, which everyone won't welcome.

Technical Changes

I don’t think technical advancement won’t make makeup simple, and it is still challenging now. To become independent, we had to work for eight years as an assistant. There were challenges in referring to movies from other languages, but now some of these have changed. Now everything is at our fingertips. We must think and work in advance; otherwise, surviving in the industry is impossible.

Most challenging film

There is nothing as hard work since everything is hard. I used to think after every movie, and it was a tough task. The aged man's look for Fahad Fazil in 'Malik' was challenging. Biju Menon’s character in ‘Aarkariyam’ helped me a lot to develop myself as a makeup artist.

Importance of actors in makeup

Costume and makeup are the two departments where the actors are very cooperative. If these come perfectly, the character creation is complete, and it's up to the actor’s performance. If makeup and costume don’t fit, the actor should put in 100% of his effort. Every movie doesn’t require makeup to be necessary.

About Pattanam Rasheed, the mastercraftsman

He was once an integral part of the Malayalam film industry and was always a learner. He showed interest in referring to other movies very early. Thanks to him, I have many contacts in the industry now and I think I'm lucky to work with him.

Sweetness of the national award

It was unexpected since I didn’t even expect the state award. It wasn’t because the work was terrible but there was a big competition. But, now I feel honoured to receive the award.

Ranjith Ambady receives national award. Photo: Facebook/ranjithambady

Message to young makeup artists

The most important thing is to be updated in every field. Dedication will always be rewarded.

Future Projects

Mahesh Narayan-Kunchako Boban movie and 'Aadujeevitham' are the upcoming movies.

Technically poor OTT

I think, our efforts go in vain when movies get released in OTT platforms. Though I took great effort for 'Malik', nobody realized it as the movie had a direct OTT release. On big screens, the makeover will be more visible.

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