Nargis Fakhri adores him. Jacqueline Fernandez loves his crazy energy. Shradha Kapoor is putty in his hands. Kriti Sanon swears by his artistry. This Keralite boy who grew up in Germany and spent years dressing brides and models, is Bollywood’s favorite makeup artist and entertainer par excellence. He’s struck deep friendships in a world of fragile egos and insecurities, and calls many of his muses close friends. But Shaanmu hates playing up his closeness to the stars. He simply drawls, “Bollywood has been too kind to me.”
His introduction to the world of glamour began when he did Chitrangada Singh’s makeup for a song in Yeh Saali Zindagi. This was followed by styling Jacqueline Fernadez in Murder 2, that led to a long and abiding friendship with the actress that endures to this day. Then came Rascals with Lisa Haydon. Other films in his kitty include Housefull 2, Inkaar, Desi Boyz, Student of the Year, Race 2 and Raaz 3. With more than 45 Bollywood blockbusters and a couple of Hollywood films under his belt, Shaanmu is flying high.
But how and why? His obvious talent notwithstanding, his professionalism and exemplary work are the obvious reasons. It doesn’t hurt that he is a laugh-a-minute with infectious energy. This German born “full-on Malayali” attended a “styling course, quite by default,” at Pearl Academy in Delhi. This was followed by a six-month stint as stylist with news channel Aaj Tak when he freelanced with the renowned Pillai sisters in Delhi, doing up brides. He’s also worked with the Elite Modelling Agency with whom he still has a contract. Kalyani Chawla of Dior introduced him to Eiesha Mittal, Sunil Bharti Mittal’s daughter and he ended up doing her wedding make-up.
This catapulted him to the league of the rich and famous. His Bollywood adventure started with him doing Chitrangada Singh’s makeup. In fact, Singh gave him a place to stay in Mumbai till the time he could find his bearings. And there’s been no looking back since. Yet to do a film down south, Shaanmu dreams of working with actress Kavya Madhavan, who he says is the typical Malayali beauty. “She is the true Malayali face… beautiful hair, nose, eyes.” The ideal woman, in fact, he concludes dreamily.