Tress-passing with Aalim

Aalim Hakim starts his own hair-styling school, comments on popular Bollywood hairdos.

fashion and trends Updated: Dec 29, 2010 14:39 IST
Rachana Dubey
Rachana Dubey
Hindustan Times

It was a dream come true for celebrity hairstylist Aalim Hakim when he opened his own hairstyling school in the city. “It’s for the knowledge seeking young generation that has a serious passion for the craft. I want to create an army of talented hairdressers in India who can who can represent the country on international platforms,” says Aalim.

The syllabus, designed by international hairdressers, includes every kind of hairdressing required for films, fashion shows and for editorial photo-shoots. “In our country, it’s essential to focus on Bollywood and its requirements because that brings mainstream popularity. There are plenty who’ll follow the haircut and make the style iconic. I’d also want my students to focus on every other aspect of the course because everyone wants a complete hairstylist,” Aalim explains.

Talking Bollywood, several actors are ‘known’ to have lost their hair in the course of their careers. Would he attribute it to the excessive application of chemicals or mere carelessness? “I agree stars use a lot of chemical products on their hair on a daily basis, but that’s done with a lot of care and under professional guidance. A lot of precaution is taken in the form of tests and medication. I don’t think any star is careless about his or her hair. Today, we have ammonia free haircolours that don’t harm the skin,” argues Aalim. “Hair loss has always been an issue, which could either be an internal problem or hereditary. Hair-transplants are safe.”

Most of his Bollywood clientele demands hairstyles that suit their current work profile. “It’s their way of making their character look believable. Saif Ali Khan in Omkara seemed real because of his yellow teeth, torn clothes and buzzed hair. Earlier, Abhishek Bachchan was a bit iffy about experimenting with his hair. But after Raavan, he’s opened up a lot,” he says.

Aalim’s father, Hakim Kairanvi, was also a popular stylist, who paved the way for him to enter showbiz. “No one starts as a celebrity hairdresser. I worked hard on educating myself in the art form. My father’s name helped me network in the industry. Even today, I revisit the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers in Colaba, where my father started his career. Amitabh Bachchan calls him India’s first celebrity hairdresser. I meet my father’s colleagues and hear so many stories about stars and their hair back in the day,” says Aalim, whose father also styled Bruce Lee’s hair for one of his films.

Any lessons from his father to pass on to his students? “Abba is my icon. He encouraged me to believe in myself and urged me to strive hard. I’m going to pass this on to my students,” says Aalim.

Lastly, does Bollywood’s scissorhands plan to open more academies? “Of course,” exclaims Aalim. “Formal education in this stream is essential. In the absence of that, I’m sure, tresses all around us will suffer.”

Basic hairdressing course (absolute route to hairdressing)
* Duration: 3.5 months
* Time: Tuesday to Saturday – 10 am – 5 pm at the Academy
* Course Fees: Rs 1,80,000

Advanced hairdressing course
* Duration: 5 days
* Time: Tuesday to Saturday – 10 am – 5 pm at the Academy
* Course Fees: Rs 60,000

Fast track (Look AND learn)
* Duration: 2 Days
* Time: Sunday and Monday - 10 am to 5 pm
* Course Fees: Rs 20,000

Men’s hairdressing course
* Duration: 5 Days
* Time: Tuesday to Saturday - 10 am to 5 pm
* Course Fees: Rs 60,000

Editorial course
* Duration: 2 days
* Fees: Rs 20,000

Current favourite heroine hairstyles
* Priyanka Chopra
* Kareena Kapoor
* Soha Ali Khan
* Kangna Ranaut
I think they look pretty seductive and romantic with their hairstyles, they carry them off very well. And that kind of hairstyling works in India as well as all over the world. While styling for any of them, one has to keep their face, the body structure and their hair-type in mind along with the brief for their character in a film.

Aalim’s picks
Favourite hero hairdos
* Amitabh Bachchan – Ek Ajnabi
* Rajnikanth – Robot
* Salman Khan – Wanted / Dabbang
* Sanjay Dutt – Musafir
* Ranbir Kapoor - Wake Up Sid
* Saif Ali Khan – Omkara / Salaam Namaste

Their looks are usually are
customized according to their film and the character and of course, their physical attributes. Even when I work on their hair, I keep the details very confidential till the time of the film’s release. Most actors are open to experimenting today.

First Published: Dec 29, 2010 14:37 IST