41 years of rocking business
Fariyal Murtazai shines bright in the legacy of the city's first beauty salon and tells SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO that beauty is all about personalised service.
PHOTOS: K. RAMESH BABU
IN THE FAMILY Fariyal Murtazai and Laila
She has said this when she was
17 and at the risk of sounding
repetitive, Fariyal Murtazai
says it again: "The city has
grown tremendously, but we
haven't grown much in terms of
beauty sense. We are still reluctant
Much before the mushrooming of
beauty salons in the city, Fariyal had
the last word in the beauty business.
Miracle, founded by her mother 41
years ago in 1967, was the city's first
salon. "Back then, my mom had to
convince a client for an hour to get
her eyebrows done. Most Hyderabadis
were new to the concept of facials,
pedicures and manicures,"
Fariyal's staff is busy at work in
her Banjara Hills salon as Fariyal
recollects, "We are Iranians. My
mother moved to India after marriage
and ever since, we have been in
Hyderabad. My mom felt that Hyderabad
lacked a beauty salon and
started Miracle as a one-room centre
at our home. She made her own
products, we still follow her formula
today. As the clientele grew, she
brought down a few Chinese hair
dressers from Kolkata and started
the salon at Fateh Maidan."
Fariyal took to the business when
she was 14. "I studied at St Ann's till
X standard and wasn't interested in
studying further. My mother gave
me an ultimatum and asked me to
either study or get into the business
and help her. I chose the latter. People
started liking my work and some
even insisted that they wanted their
hair cut only by me, then I thought I
had it in me to take my mom's work
further. Now, at 42, I am glad with
what I've done. And my daughter
Laila has joined me."
Laila and Fariyal juggle their appointments
to meet clients at their
three centres - Fateh Maidan, Secunderabad
and Banjara Hills.
"Beauty is serious business. You
cannot ask someone to choose a
hairstyle from a brochure and go
chop chop. You need to know where
your client is coming from - his or
her work profile, family background
and lifestyle. The hairstyle you give
them has to suit all of these." She
doesn't buy the idea of following the
trend of celebrity hair stylists opening
outlets across the country. "I've
been approached several times to
give out franchisees to other places
in AP. Salons are about giving personalised
services. I don't want to
open too many centres where either
I or Laila may not be able to go and
look over personally."
Fariyal loves to dress up the stars.
"While working for films, you don't
deal with the person but the character;
this gives you scope to experiment,"
she says. Prabhas, Ileana,
Ram, Siddharth and Charmme are
some of the actors who are happy to
be subjected to Fariyal's expert scissors.
Here too there are a few restrictions,
she grumbles. "For young
actors, we suggest a funky hairstyle
with spikes minus the moustache.
But the actors are reluctant because
they are told by the directors and
producers that the masses will not
like their heroes to be seen without
the moustache. And you can't experiment
with colours too. Bollywood
has broken free from restrictions.
For girls, the hottest hairstyle is the
short bob. People immediately associate
this with Bipasha's bob. Fashion
in India starts from films and
film stars. Since Telugu film stars
don't experiment much, people here
don't have a reference point."
She shreds the myth that the Banjara
Hills clientele is higher on the
style quotient. And she adds, "People
in Banjara Hills may claim that
they don't watch Telugu films but
they watch the films more than
anyone else and ape the film stars.
For instance, a client of mine spotted
actress Ramya Krishna at my
salon once and asked me who she
was. She then said she didn't know
much about Telugu actresses. But
after a few minutes she went up to
Ramya and told her how good she
was in a film with Nagarjuna and
even took her autograph. That's the
Banjara Hills crowd for you!"
Regular trips to London and Singapore
are part of Fariyal and Laila's
routines twice a year to update
themselves on the latest hairstyles
and colours. "There's always the
need to Indianise what you learn at
Tony and Guy and other places. The
Indian skin tone, hair texture and
social context are different."
Fariyal is glad that the Miracle
legacy will be looked after by Laila,
who took to the salon in her teens. "I
married very young and had Laila
when I was 17. I was divorced at 18.
Ever since, it's been me and her.
We've been happy," she says.
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