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Interview Hindi

Every strand, every wave of hair needed to be perfect to recreate Kapil sir’s persona, says Darshan Yewalekar

The hair designer, who has worked with Ranveer Singh for over 10 years, speaks of how he transformed the actor to look just like the former India cricket captain.

Our Correspondent

Many of the comments, coming out of the preview show of Kabir Khan’s 83 (2021), involved how much lead actor Ranveer Singh looks and acts like India's former cricket captain Kapil Dev in the film.

Part of the credit for the transformation goes to hair designer Darshan Yewalekar who has worked with Ranveer Singh for over 10 years on multiple films like Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela (2013), Gunday (2014), Dil Dhadakne Do (2015), Bajirao Mastani (2015), Padmaavat (2018) and Simmba (2018).

Yewalekar, who has also worked with stars like Ranbir Kapoor on Saawariya (2007) and Salman Khan on Wanted (2009), felt this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of an historic project.

Yewalekar said, “At the heart of this story is, of course, Kapil Dev, the fearless skipper who made the impossible possible. The challenge for me was to transform Ranveer into Kapil sir and to ensure that he closely reflected the legend who made history when he lifted the trophy at the hallowed ground of Lord's! Every strand, every wave of hair needed to be perfect to recreate Kapil sir’s persona!”

This was the first time Ranveer Singh and Yewalekar were working to emulate a living legend. He recalled, “When Kabir sir first met me, his brief was very straightforward. He just said let’s replicate ‘the’ hair. Ranveer and I knew we had to be as close as possible to how Kapil sir looked in 1983 and we went through volumes of vintage pictures and almost four to five look tests to get the famous curls right.

“Then there was his classic moustache," he continued. "It had to be just right and it literally came down to slowly removing a single hair strand to make sure it looked as authentic as possible! And yes, it is absolutely real. I insisted that we avoid a fake moustache.”

According to Yewalekar, Ranveer's curls in the film had to be devised artificially because it is difficult to tweak natural hair to replicate the kind of volume and bounce Kapil Dev had. But the hair virtuoso made it work.

He said, “This is not to say that it was an easy process. There were a lot of conversations between Ranveer, Kabir sir and me and together we ironed out the imperfections to ensure that we created not a caricature but a character with real gravitas and depth.

"All of us are obsessed with micro details and so we were open to continue experimenting till we nailed the final look. I am glad we have been able to do justice to a very special chapter in our history.”

The process was challenging but ending up being rewarding as well. “It was a matter of great relief that the captain of the ship, Kabir Khan, was willing to give me time and space to get every detail just right for the overall look,” Yewalekar said.

He added, “The biggest compliment I have got from industry veterans is, 'You have made it happen!' The whole experience has been overwhelming, to say the least, especially because it is relatively easier to work from one’s imagination but to replicate something that is part of everyone’s imagination just adds that extra pressure.”

Yewalekar is working with Ranveer Singh again on Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani (2023) where he is designing the hair for the entire cast, including Alia Bhatt, Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan and Shabana Azmi.