British makeup artist Rebecca Butterworth roped in to create her aged look for Bharat, at Katrina Kaif’s behest

Like leading man Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif too will sport five different looks in Bharat as her character ages from 25 to 65 in the course of the narrative. Turns out, the actor hand-picked British makeup artist Rebecca Butterworth to create the character’s look in her fifties and sixties.

While Butterworth is an established name in the UK, courtesy her work in several shows – including Idris Elba’s Luther – and her collaboration with a makeup giant, Bollywood was not on her mind until a chance interaction with Kaif. A source reveals, “Katrina, who was introduced to Rebecca socially, was intrigued by her work in makeup and special effects. So when Bharat came her way, Katrina recommended her to Ali.”

Decoding the process, Butterworth said both Kaif and director Ali Abbas Zafar had reservations about using prosthetics to depict the ageing. “We used old-age stipple to add texture around her eyes, on her hands and arms. We added a few lines on her forehead by using a latex-based stretch. The rest of her look was achieved using specialist FX paints to colour her skin and make it appear more freckled and uneven.” Since the ageing had to be more pronounced for Kaif’s sexagenarian act, the team – along with VFX artist Neill Gorton – sculpted Bondo pieces that were applied around her mouth and forehead.

Interestingly, Bollywood’s original diva Rekha was her reference for the look. “The director suggested her because he loves her beauty and elegance. We tried to stay true to the spirit of graceful ageing.”

Quiz her on Kaif’s reaction to her aged look, and she says, “Initially, she wanted to go older! But finally, Katrina was happy as the light pieces [did not hinder] her facial expression.”