MAKEUP MUSES Meena Kumari Born as Mahjabeen Bano in 1932 in Mumbai, India, Meena Kumari came to fame during the golden era of Bollywood cinema. She remains one of the most iconic Bollywood actresses and was certainly one of the most prolific, acting in an astonishing thirty-four films between 1952 and 1960, and appearing in ninety-three films in total over the course of her career. Bollywood is one of the most popular and successful film industries in the world. Although the first-ever Bollywood film was silent and only forty minutes long, today the films are known for being hugely vibrant, colorful, all-singing, all-dancing visual feasts that really captivate an audience, and normally last around three to four hours (with an intermission!). Bollywood makeup is an elaborate and highly stylized affair, featuring many elements, and incorporating the traditions of Indian and South Asian weddings and festivals and specialoccasion makeup. Heavily kohled eyes in classic shapes are combined with sumptuous golds and rich, jewel-colored tones, along with lots of lashes and well-defined brows, which all help to convey emotion and expression through the eyes. Bindi and mehendi (the decoration of the palms of the hands and feet) are also used decoratively and to illustrate characters and situations (although the significance differs from culture to culture). Makeup complements the lavish costumes and jewelry perfectly. Makeup artists in Bollywood were traditionally men, and for most of its history the union forbade women to work on set in that capacity. Reasons cited for this have ranged from protecting men’s livelihood to the belief that women would get jealous of the female stars and do a poor job in making them up, sabotaging their potential beauty. It wasn’t until November 2014 that India’s Supreme Court declared that the union ban on women working as makeup artists in the country’s film industry was illegal and discriminatory and must not be allowed to continue.