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Meet Karimganj’s Priyanka Sarmaacharjee, who worked with Vijay Deverkonda-Mrunal Thakur in The Family Star

Joining the makeup industry as a professional is no more rare these days. But how often do you hear about a girl from Karimganj bagging a project with Vijay Deverkonda and Mrunal Thakur, as the head make-up artist?

However, Barak Valley’s Priyanka Sarmacharjee has made even that possible. Under the banner of T-series, she headed a team as the lead makeup artist in the Telegu film The Family Star. The acclaimed MU artist took time out of her busy schedule to talk to Barak Bulletin about her journey.

A class topper from Cinema Makeup School, USA, she is practicing not just make up but also prosthetics. And above all, she is challenging the norms very effortlessly doing what she does best, doing what she loves the most.

Edited excerpts:

Let’s start with your big break, how do you feel?

This is just the start and I have a lot more to do. But yes, this is what I have dreamt for very long and seeing it become a reality inch by inch fills my heart with gratitude.

Let’s take a step back and go to your initial days, how did make-up happen to you?

I loved makeup since I was a child. I would often put lipsticks, eyeliner etc when my mother used to be asleep. In 2015, I went to Bangalore for my higher studies and bought a makeup kit of Rs 25000 by saving pocket money. I used to make YouTube videos of makeup. So, that’s how it started.

Did you know that you’d do this professionally one day?

While I was in my 4th semester, a friend of mine asked me to do her makeup at her reception. With whatever resources I had at that point, I did her makeup and gathered a lot of praises. In the same year, I did makeup for another friend on our graduation day and that turned out to be pretty well. Now, that was the point when I realized that I can do it as a side hustle. I called up my mother and she was supportive. I asked her to invest in a makeup kit for me. She was a bit hesitant initially considering the fact that I was asking for a Rs 2 lakh makeup kit in exchange for a project worth only two thousand.

However, I told her “I am sure of it” and I got my first booking. And then, word of mouth gathered more bookings. I was quite renowned by the time I graduated in 2017. I even bought a car with the money I made at that time. When it was time to do my Masters, I got a calling that I need to do it on makeup. I told my father that I wanted to do a masters in makeup from abroad and he placed a condition that I need to complete an MBA first and then pursue it. I agreed to it. I did an MBA, and launched a brand Feel Pretty. I started taking makeup classes as well for girls from Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi.

When did you realize that you are being recognised?

2020 was a year of being on cloud nine when I got the Ace Best Makeup Artist and Entrepreneur in India. The event was in Bangalore. This achievement made me firm that I was on the right track. All these while, I had a dream of working in Bollywood. I went to the US to do a masters in makeup from Cinema Makeup School in 2023, and here I am now.

How tough was it to crack a big film for this first generation artist?

It’s a Telegu movie named Family Star with Mrunal Thakur and Vijay Deverakonda as the lead actors. It released on April 5th. I was the head of makeup for all the shoots that took place in the North. I had a team working under me in this. I was hired under T-Series so you can call it my first Bollywood dream come true. I have worked in Tollywood before this but the movie hasn’t been released yet. So, I had a base. But after coming from the US, I had to go for numerous interviews. There were days when I used to go to Mumbai for 14-15 days with no work in hand just to give interviews. I wasn’t assisting anybody so it was a bit tougher. I almost did 80 meetings before fetching this project. Used all my contacts, sent endless mails of my portfolio and attended plenty of meetings and finally it fell in my lap. Tough but worth it.

Has your family always been supportive? Do you get any side eyes from relatives in family gatherings?

My family has always been super supportive. I am blessed with wonderful friends. They said one thing “Go to Mumbai and do your thing. Any problem and we are right here for you”. This was a big motivation. Also, my fiancée has been beside me all throughout my journey. Some people back in my hometown were negative but I was always happy to remind myself that at least I have given them something to speak about me. You need criticism to do well. That’s the fuel. It will take time for people to consider this as a full fledged career but I believe it will be soon.

Back home, MUAs are mushrooming these days? Are you taking or planning to take classes or workshops?

I do take classes once in a year at affordable prices to the extent possible for students in Karimganj, Silchar, Hailakandi along with other cities of the country. Also, I do take up bridal bookings. But they are usually less because of my hectic schedule.

What next for MUA Priyanka, other big projects coming up or something like that?

Mostly movies. I focus on South Indian and Bengali bridal bookings as well but movies right now tops my priority list. Let’s see what the future holds.

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