Imphal: The COVID-19 pandemic with nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the virus is certainly making troubles in our lives. Everyone in all walks of life is kneeling mentally, physically as well as economically due to the pandemic.
One such profession among the worst affected by the pandemic is makeup artists and beauticians in Manipur. With film shootings banned by Film Forum Manipur (the apex film body in Manipur) much before the announcement of India’s first lockdown in March, they are unable to open their salons. Thus, with no more outdoor makeup orders like bridal makeup for weddings, etc., the pandemic is hitting them hard.
In Manipur film industry, the makeup artists, beauticians and designers are dominated by transgender community and surely they played an integral part in the growth of Manipuri digital film industry over the years.
To name a few top makeup artists in Manipuri film industry such as Banergy Oinam, Naobi Salam Khurai and Napolean Top, they all belong to the transgender community. Each of them has credit of doing more than 50 films each as makeup artist. They also have their own beauty parlours with 4/5 assistants, who assist them in their film makeup, running their parlours and outdoor orders like wedding makeup.
In an interview with Pothashang, they lamented their income loss during the pandemic particularly for wedding makeup. They said that their earnings for wedding makeup in the months of March, April and May each year ranges from 5 lakhs to 15 lakhs. Unfortunately this year, due to the nationwide lockdown, they could not earn much, and whatever orders they had for these months got cancelled due to ban on social gatherings and postponements of marriages.
Their regular income from parlours is also hit by the pandemic as they could not open their shops due to the lockdown. Their parlours are located in prime market areas in Imphal districts with multiple rooms. Some have multiple floor parlours with lavish infrastructures and a few dozen staffs. With no income from the parlours, they now have burden of paying rents, staff salaries, etc.
Their profession is seemingly in an uncertain future in post lockdown environment. Even if the lockdown is lifted, they are not quite sure whether the government will allow them to open their parlours and salons immediately, and how long it will take to resume film shootings in Manipur is also a big question in their minds.