SRINAGAR: Younis Ahmad Hafiz wanted to be an actor but pursued engineering, and ended up as a make-up artist.
For a 35-year-old, the dream of following superstar Aamir Khan took him close to Bollywood but behind the camera. Though he could not get a chance to act, he made the actors look good on the 70mm.
Hailing from Sempora-Pantha Chowk, Younis is one of the few Kashmiri freelance make-up artists who has earned a name in the film industry. From Arya Babaar to Ajaz Khan and from Salman Ali to Neelima Azeem, Younis has applied makeup to top Bollywood actors, singers, and other performers.
“I was passionate about acting. I wanted to be like Aamir Khan. But destiny had other things in store. I landed in the entertainment industry but behind the camera,” said Younis.
Younis started at a very young age. He was in class VIII when he started assisting his guru Sahil Qureshi. A dreamer, he quickly learned the nitty gritty of makeup. The big break came when he worked for Doordarshan’s morning show `Subah Bakhair Kashmir’. And then there was no looking back.
“It was in 2000 when I joined the `Subah Bakhair Kashmir’ team. My 18 months stint at the show was a learning experience. Later I started doing serials and stage. Things slowly started opening up and film crews started shooting in Kashmir. It allowed me to expand my horizons,” he said.
In his 23 years of career, he has worked as a makeup artist in 200 serials, five feature films, eight short films, two web series 100 music albums, five ad films and 20 theatre plays. He has won best makeup artist twice in Kashmir.
Younis’ family wanted him to become an engineer and settle for good. That is why he balanced his education and passion to make his family feel proud. “My family always supported me. They also wanted me to complete my studies. That is why after my intermediate, I joined a polytechnic college and completed my diploma in electronics,” he said.
But his first love was makeup. So he decided to try his luck in the entertainment industry. “I went the whole hog to live my dream. My actor and actress were very much impressed with my work. They were recommending people to hire me for projects in Kashmir. Slowly I build a clientele base,” he said.
When he was at his peak, a tragedy struck. He lost his father which prompted him to cancel a lucrative contract in Bollywood. “I had signed a contract with a Bollywood production house in 2012. I was supposed to be in Mumbai. But my father passed away and my mother was alone. I had to cancel my contract and stay home,” he said.
Younis has now started chasing his acting dream. To start with, he has started doing theatre. “Acting has been my passion. So I got a chance to work as an actor in the theatre. It has been an amazing experience. Now I am multirole: Actor, makeup artist, and TikToker, all rolled into one,” Younis smiled.