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For a trendy hairdo

Sukumaran makes sure that not a hair is out of place



The long and short of haircare

FOR SOME men in Thiruvananthapuram, a monthly appointment at Brut is a must. Many of them, including a few actors, get their hair styled at this salon. The chain of Brut hair styling parlours, set up in 1979, began a new trend in hair styling during the Eighties.

And the man behind the venture is K. Sukumaran.

There was indeed a pre-Sukumaran era in Thiruvananthapuram, when people, particularly men, thought little of hairstyles. Haircutting simply meant shortening one's hair in a room soiled with locks of hair, dirty clothes and the clicks of scissors vying with the barber's non-stop monologue on life and politics.

New trends

It was at Brut, which was first set up in Mascot Hotel, that plush chairs were introduced for the first time in a hair cutting salon in the city. The initial shampooing of the hair and the new methods the young man introduced soon caught on. Celebrities began to frequent the parlour. "You name any film stars, almost all of them were once my customers," Sukumaran says proudly.

Writer Malayatoor Ramakrishnan devoted an entire column on the new trend and the hair stylist in one of the prominent dailies of Kerala. "I depend less on the machines and more on my fingers and intuition even now," says Sukumaran.

Learning the ropes

Sukumaran was only 16 when he reached Chennai in search of a job in 1974. Hair styling was quite a strange job for a boy who was brought up in a family whose trade was making handicrafts. Still Sukumaran patiently learnt the art from his master, Bhagyam, in Chennai. "I spent five long years in a hair salon there, learning the art of hair cutting. When I returned, I was not confident if I could become successful in Thiruvananthapuram," Sukumaran says.

Today, Sukumaran has four salons in Thiruvananthapuram and one in Thrissur.

"Young people are very in now. Wannabes want us to duplicate the styles they come across in fashion magazines and music channels." Even young ladies visit his parlours to get their hair done before a party or a wedding. Sukumaran's only complaint in life is that he doesn't get much time to spend with his wife and his two daughters. He gives much importance to his customers. Perhaps that could be the reason why there is no holiday for his salons. "I lost my biggest chance in my life one Monday. Playback singer K.J. Jesudas had come and my salon was closed." Since then there has been no holidays for Sukumaran. "He will come again," hopes Sukumaran.

MANU REMAKANT

Photo: S. Mahinsha

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