UK-based prosthetic and makeup artist Clover Wootton is a sought-after name in Bollywood. She has worked on several big ticket films like Krissh, Bajirao Mastani, Haider and others, which had extensive makeup demands. Clover recently worked on Leena Yadav’s Parched, which is a tale of four women set in the rural heartlands of Rajasthan. In a chat with Pandolin, she talks about the experience of working with the female cast, her take on prosthetics, the makeup industry and more.

Clover Wootton -

Clover Wootton

Since how long have you been a part of the makeup industry?

I have been doing this for quite some time. I have been in out and of india for about 8 years but not always working here. I assisted under makeup artists here and worked in london and paris for quite some time. 

What kind of Bollywood films were you associated with?

I started my workshop here with a friend of mine and worked as a pair. Together we have done a lot of films like Brothers, Bajirao Mastani, Haider etc

Are you a self – taught artists or have taken professional training?

I am a graduate in Fine art. Initially I was travelling quite a lot to India doing fine arts but was interested in getting into makeup. I got the opportunity to work with a french prosthetics teams on a Bollywood film long time back. I became very good friends with them and flew back to Paris and worked there as an assistant. Seeing the work and prosthetics over there, I totally fell in love with it. I decided to go back and retrain myself in England. While in England I was called to work on a Bollywood project. As I was already familiar with India and it’s work ethics, I was hired to assist on the film Krrish 3. During this time I met my partner PreetI (Preetisheel Singh). We started something together and have been here ever since. 

When it comes to prosthetics, what are the elements that one needs to keep in mind?

Every project is different. You have to know a lot about materials you are using. Every request is different from every film so you have to work out the right products to create the right look. I mean obviously there are certain things which keep coming up like aging. But every face is different, every sculpt design is different. In this film industry not many know the skill and time required to do proper prosthetics. Timeline is usually very short which makes it very difficult to pull it off. It often ends up with job that is quite rushed, and in the end the work is not that good. 

What is your take on the work ethics in India vis-a-vis abroad?

I have definitely picked up good and bad habits working in Bollywood. I am much more resourceful and can think out of the box quickly. And these are really important qualities to have. But you have to learn here to become more accommodating especially with time constraints. There will be a bit of disorganization and you have to be ready all times because something will change and somebody will ask that, “I need this now” and you have to magically make it appear. So having that kind of flexibility is good. 

Tell us about Parched and your experience of working on it?

Preeti (business partner) and I took on this project as a pair. We went to meet Leena (director) and she showed us the script. We read it in the office the same day and loved it. It definitely has a message that needs to be told. It’s one of the first films that I really loved doing. Everyone on set got on really well with each other. It was predominantly females on set, which worked really well. I am girl’s girl and I really enjoy working with other women. I got along very well with actor Radhika and that’s something that has lasted until now. 

How did you’ll narrow down the look of the actors for the film?

We knew what kind of region the film is going to be based in but Leena didn’t want us to noticeably be focused on one particular tribe or a certain group of women. She asked us to use our imagination and take inspiration from these kind of places. We played with the look a little bit before finalizing and had fun with it and it looks good. 

Could you elaborate a bit on the technique used?

We kept it very natural. Actor Tannishtha Chatterjee who is playing Rani, has the most beautiful skin. For all of them we put such minimal makeup. We airbrushed it on to keep it natural which lasted all day. Radhika had to have few freckles which we do with special effect palette, which is easily available from a normal makeup store. We had to stain the skin, lips were kept extremely natural. We just brushed the lashes and put vaseline on it, leaving the under eye bare. These were few simple things we did.

Lastly, how would you define the process of working with director Leena Yadav?

With leena she was brilliant coz she knew what a good director does. She knew how to delegate and trust. Leena trusted us to do our research and do our job. She was left alone to work with the actors and to keep her vision intact, which she did very well. Preeti and I took charge of the whole makeup and prosthetic department which made everything so efficient. There was no dictatorship but an amazing collaboration, which is  very crucial for a good film.