Hairstyling is an art, and Darshan Yewalekar puts the art in hairstyling. The mane man has created iconic styles for various films including Saawariya, Padmavaat, 83 and Jayeshbhai Jordaar and for stars including Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan and Ranveer Singh.
While he credits his success to his parents who pushed and encouraged him into this profession, he is also thankful to the love and support the industry has bestowed upon him over the last 20 years.
His journey of styling Ranveer Singh’s hair started with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram Leela, today, the bond has completed a decade of state-of-art styles. Matching steps with Ranveer’s style energy in the star’s upcoming release Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Darshan Yewalekar speaks to News18 on the bond he shares with Ranveer Singh, his favourite celebrity clients and his mentor Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Excerpts from the interview:
From Ram Leela to Jayeshbhai Jordaar, tell us about a memory from your earlier styling days with Ranveer Singh.
Ranveer had called me for our first magazine shoot. I did my homework on what the magazine is, who the photographer is, what the mood is. It was his body shot and he had straight hair, and he came and sat in the chair and asked: ‘Darshan, what do you want to do?’.
I told him that I have something in mind. At that time, I didn’t have images of what I wanted to do but I have something in mind which will be nice softer flowy hair and he’s like yeah let’s do it and but I told him it’s going to take 45 minutes and he looked at me like ‘Really?’ because it’s really odd for a guy to take 45 minutes or one hour because that that is the amount of time you take to style a girl’s hair. So, when he said ‘yeah okay fine let’s do it’ because it was a magazine cover shoot and when I achieved it, I could see the sparkle in the eyes of everybody in the room when they saw the final product. I think from day one he realised that if he gives me wings… if he gives me space, I can come up with some quality styles.
Ranveer Singh’s fashion style has always been over the top. Does he have a special brief for you when you style his hair?
He keeps me involved in planning everything six months prior. So, whatever we do now we have to make sure we achieve it in six months. We have created this unset format over the period of 10 years now that I think it’s just fallen into place. However, that being said I think anybody else having a conversation about hair he [Ranveer] immediately says please talk to Darshan because he knows I have all the permutations of what can be achieved on that day. So that is the understanding that we have developed. Ranveer also makes notes, and he shares it with me and asks if it can be achieved or can we do this, or I want to do this. So, I always take that into consideration as well.
So, is there a favourite look?
No, I can’t pick one look. I remember Ranveer and I had a conversation when the first lockdown got lifted. From 2012 to 2019 we were constantly working, and those 4 months gave us time to reflect on what we did [in terms of hairstyles]. I think the first conversation we had when we met was ‘Did you see what all we’ve done?’
I put all those pictures together and the way Ranveer has carried off all those hairstyles, I think it is very difficult to pick one. There have been many magazine shoots, a shoot with Gucci, Alauddin Khilji [Padmaavat] look, the recent Kapil Dev  and Jayesh [Jayeshbhai Jordaar].
What’s the texture of Ranveer’s hair and does he take care of it?
He has very straight thick and silky hair. Yes, there is a routine in place with every hairstyle. I decide the correct shampoo and conditioner for his hair. I always make sure that depending on the hair length and at that moment if the hair has taken a beating I decide to change the products. We have slotted regular spas that I recommend in between, and I push for it because when I see that the hair is taking a beating with a lot of heat in heating tools and a lot of blow-drying, we make sure that we do spas on regular intervals.
You have worked with the best in the film industry over a span of 20 years. Who is your favourite celebrity client?
I think the passion towards the craft and the celebrities I have worked with have appreciated my efforts & my craft. So, it’s very difficult to pinpoint but I mean of course Ranveer is my most favourite, he is my boy. I also really liked working with Sanjay Sir [Leela Bhansali], he’s been my mentor. I have completed 5 films with him – Saawariya, Guzaarish, Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat and Ram Leela. He has played a huge role in making me this craftsman in cinema hairstyling. The schooling I got behind the monitor was priceless, and I think being in company of such a great man and the learning that I’ve got from him was spectacular. Also, Salman [Khan] bhai. My introduction to the industry was through him. So, these three are my favourite.