As the excitement grows for Dhoom 3’s release this Friday, we bring you an unique insight into the artistry behind Aamir Khan’s special look for the film. For the first time, Aamir Khan plays a clown thief in Dhoom 3 and the body art is simply spectacular! Adam Tenenbaum, a Hollywood airbrush make-up artist, was brought in to complete the look and with over ten years of experience working with circus performers and painting all over the world for live stage shows, he was able to connect with the character for this film.
Check out my interview with Adam Tenenbaum.
Urban Asian: Tell us about your experience working with Yash Raj Films and Aamir Khan. What was your most memorable experience?
Adam Tenenbaum: Dhoom was a wonderful experience with a truly professional crew. Aamir is a pleasure to create/collaborate with. This was my first time working in India, actually my first time on Indian ground period. We shot the scene on a massive soundstage on the outskirts of Mumbai. All told I was in India for about a month, and we shot every day with the exception of a few scattered days off. These are hard-working people and I really enjoyed the challenge of gaining their respect.
Urban Asian: What was the inspiration behind the look for Aamir’s character, Sahir?
Adam Tenenbaum: Aamir’s look was originally based on a character I designed for a circus performer here in Hollywood, an aerialist. We all agreed the design fit perfectly for Sahir, who is the leader of a cirque performance troupe. The look helped highlight Aamir’s muscular physique, as well as, create a dynamic physical tension. Basically, it was a blend of strength and grace. Hard-lines mixed with contours. There was a lot of tweaking of this look throughout the initial stages of development, with Aamir having ample input in the specifics and details. I really enjoyed working hand-in-hand with such an established actor.
Urban Asian: Have you watched any Bollywood movies? If yes, what was the last one?
Adam Tenenbaum: I’ve only watched two Bollywood movies front to back. Dhoom 1 & Dhoom 2 and both of those were for research & character reference. As you can imagine, I was very busy leading up to this film. I really look forward to taking some time, on Aamir’s advice, and watching some of the earlier landmark films. So far, and this is mainly referencing Dhoom 3, I’m thoroughly enjoying the use of saturated colors in the costuming, of intense cinematic drama in the actors!
Urban Asian: How did you become a body artist and did you have any training?
Adam Tenenbaum: Yeah that’s an interesting story actually. I have had zero formal training as a make-up artist, and began what is now a 10 year career designing couture jewelry pieces & costuming. Initially, I was using an airbrush to add texture and weathering to old circuitry / resistors / leather…. and then I fell in love with skin….with the human form in all of its uniqueness. I’ve spent the better part of my career so far, traveling with circus performers and painting all over the world for live stage shows. Sometimes multiple shows a day for week on end. As you can imagine, painting casts that can reach 20 or more performers a day, leaves a tremendous amount of opportunity to put pigment to skin. All of the technical aspects of traditional beauty makeup I sort of just picked up along the way. Foundation, concealer, highlighter, color matching & such, are all very important to be well rounded but quite secondary to a powerful artistic vision. I strive to create strong unique visual characters. To design looks which complement both performance & costuming. It’s quite a challenge.
Urban Asian: Advice for others wanting to become body artists?
Adam Tenenbaum: Volunteer for everything. Get as many physical bodies in front of you as possible. Put as much paint on them as you can. Never be scared of a vision, a thought you have for a particular look. And be comfortable making many many mistakes. If you really want to transcend and do something unique, you will learn eventually to turn your mistakes into the focal points of your work. And enjoy people, I can’t stress this enough. Because they will be in your face every moment of the day. As an airbrush makeup artist you never create anything by yourself, it is inherently collaboration between two people. Learn to enjoy a living canvas. And use extremely high-quality paints.
Urban Asian: What future projects are you working on?
Adam Tenenbaum: I’m honestly not sure what the future will hold for my art in India. I truly hope that once this movie premieres it will take Indian cinema by storm & really showcase the strengths of this style of aggressive airbrush makeup. I’ve really enjoyed a brief introduction to the intense & human characters in Bollywood cinema; I think my particular style of airbrush makeup has a lot to lend to Bollywood & can really help strengthen / add depth / define these already marvelous actors.
Urban Asian: Excited to see your hard work on the big screen?
Adam Tenenbaum: Ecstatic. I guess I feel more of a sense of pride than excitement for the crew and the hard hours & the hard work. It will be marvelous to see it all come together on large screen. I think I will be a little bit sad, or maybe the time is homesick, watching it here in Los Angeles. My thoughts will definitely be with the performers & crew in India.
Urban Asian: Aamir has a reputation for being a perfectionist. Was it easy to make the collaboration a reality?
Adam Tenenbaum: Yeah, I think that he is a perfectionist as much as anyone can be. I personally work really well with artists who have a strong vision/esthetic and a good eye; Aamir has both of those. You’d probably have to ask him, but for me, this was a very easy collaboration. We pretty much had a great time together creating art on his body. Simple as that.
Urban Asian: Any last comments for all the viewers who will be watching Dhoom 3?
Adam Tenenbaum: Knowing how much time and effort went into every little detail on this film, I can’t imagine it will be anything short of spectacular. This entire project was a labor of love and expectations were extremely high throughout. I don’t know… sit back and enjoy the ride. There are a lot of talented people laying on the line for this one, I imagine that will shine through.
Urban Asian: Where can people find all your work and find you on social media?
Adam Tenenbaum: If people want to check out more of my work, it’s all on my website OverlayAir & I have a fan page on Facebook under Adam Tenenbaum (Overlay Airbrushing). Thanks so much. Truly looking forward to more of Bollywood!!
Be sure to check out the body art which was very hard work for the film! Are you ready for Dhoom 3? We sure are!