Prosthetic artist Gurpreet Dhuri keeps experimenting to stay relevant

New Delhi:  So, did the hyper-real prosthetics in films like Tumbbad, ‘Ghoul’, Sonchiriya, Raaz 3, ‘Darr at the Mall’ and ’72 hours’ impress you? Well, they were all made not in a fancy studio in Mumbai but in a small one on the outskirts of Chandigarh.

Gurpreet Dhuri, who has worked for some major names including Anand Gandhi, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, and Rahi Anil Barve started off with Kashyap’s ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ and there has been a steady stream of work, especially from independent filmmakers.

A pass-out from Chandigarh’s Government College of Art, Dhuri, a specialist in creating hyper-realistic sculptures and characters boasts of having the only studio in the region offering FX and hyperrealism in sculpture. All the team members are from the College of Art here.

“Several years back, when I was visiting Pune, a friend working with Anurag Kashyap got me to do some prosthetic work in his film. Once the industry people saw my work in ‘Gangs’, there has been no looking back,” says the artist whose sculptures are installed at important places including Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, Bikaner Museum, Sadda Pind in Amritsar, Rock Garden in Chandigarh, Ajmer Museum, Bhagat Singh Museum in Khatkar Kalan, Fateh Prakash Palace Museum in Chittorgarh, Darshan Museum in Pune, Swami Chinmayanand Ashram in Powai and T2 International Airport in Mumbai. Between 2014 and 2018, Gurpreet’s sculptures were also featured at the Birsa Munda Museum and the Attari-Wagah Joint Checkpost (JCP) as relief sculptures.

Stressing that the work he did in the internationally acclaimed film ‘Tumbbad’ was most challenging, Dhuri recalls, “We had to pay a lot of attention to detail, and there were a lot of prosthetics and characters involved. It is not every day that one gets to work in a film like that. It was a very special experience,” he tells IANS.

Despite not being based in Mumbai, the artist is consistently approached by filmmakers in Mumbai. Adding that his work can be easily done remotely, he says, “Unlike the make-up department, we do not need to be on the spot. Also, when people see your work and appreciate it, they tend to reach out,” says the Dhuri who makes sculptures with silicone and bronze, besides other metals as well.

And it is the need for realism that has made his work almost indispensable, especially for independent filmmakers. “These directors realize that the audience cannot be taken for granted. For example, painting as splash of blood will no longer suffice. In order to give the audiences a more authentic experience, they approach us. I feel there is a certain honesty and ‘truth’ they strive for in their work and are willing to go the extra mile for that.”

Inspired by Stan Winston, the pioneer of modern special effects, Dhuri says it is important for him to constantly experiment and reinvent himself. “The audience is extremely demanding and has a short attention span. In order to stay relevant, our team is constantly working with new materials and using diverse approaches.”

Talk to him about his process, and Dhuri says that he always needs more than a brief. He prefers to study the character in depth in order to do justice. “When I design a character, I always keep in mind the story it is meant to tell. The character should not only look good but also evoke the right emotions in the audience. Studying the subjects/characters ensures that the sculptures/prosthetics are as accurate as possible. I make a lot of drawing to get things right,” concludes the artist who recently made a hyper-realistic sculpture of slain singer Sidhu Moose Wala.

 
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