Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s hairstylist now trimming locks in North Vancouver

Published: May 6, 2013
Mira Studios

Hairstylist Dilshad Pastakia worked with many of Bollywood’s biggest stars, including Shah Rukh Khan, when she lived in India. She now lives in North Vancouver, B.C. where she rents a chair at Mira Studios. Jason Payne/PNG

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

There’s a logical — and loyal — explanation for the teeny-tiny ponytail Shah Rukh Khan rocked in Vancouver for the Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA) last month.

“The lady who’s always cut my hair — Dilshad Pastakia — for the last 20 years is here, shifted to Vancouver,” Shah Rukh Khan shouted to the sea of people in B.C. Place just before he rocked his performance April 6 at the grand awards ceremony. “That’s why the ponytail.”

While it’s unfortunate news for Shah Rukh Khan’s luscious locks, it’s good news for Vancouverites as Pastakia has a chair at North Vancouver’s Mira Studios on Lonsdale Avenue and is currently accepting clients.

Naturally, Shah Rukh plugged the woman he’s trusted with his trademark look for so many years and encouraged his Vancouver fans to “get your hair cut from her.”

“It’s our relationship,” Pastakia said with a laugh from her new North Vancouver salon.

Even when the famous Bollywood star travels the globe, he’ll call Pastakia for hair advice.

“He’ s very loyal in that sense,” she said.

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Her plan to move to Canada has been years in the making, hoping for a better opportunity for her five and eight-year-old kids. So she finally made the overseas leap in August.

“It was easier for me to make the transition — film work is something I can always go back for when I’m needed,” she said.

And sure enough she did, taking on the role of lead stylist for the entire TOIFA weekend.

“(But) I don’t want this image to overpower me,” she said. “For me it’s about the work — it’s about the haircut.”

And she’s excited for the change of scenery.

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan (right) was seen at last month’s Times of India Film Awards in Vancouver sporting some longer locks because his longtime hairstylist Dilshad Pastakia had already relocated to North Vancouver. Photo illustration

“Creativity wise this is a much, much better platform to be in than to be in Mumbai,” said Pastakia. “It’s more practical and fashionable.

“I found India was not fashionable, it was just glamour out there.”

Even when Bollywood starlets hit the gym — their hair would be pulled back, “but it’s always done,” said Pastakia. “Here it’s fashion — people go with the trends, they go with what works on their face, they go with colour, they go with shorter hair cuts — they do interesting stuff.”

Whereas working Bollywood films, everyone’s hairstyle is the same.

“For the women – long, long and longer,” Pastakia said with a laugh. “It can’t get long enough.”

“The typical Indian woman has to have long hair … and if they don’t have the hair, then we put patches for the volume, for the length.”

And it was the same with male leads — Pastakia was often putting in mid-length extensions for stars like SRK.

“You can’t westernize a Bollywood look too much,” she said. “Everybody has that same style and they all dress the same way — nothing different.”

So the jump to the Western world is a “breather” for the experienced stylist who’s worked around the globe in cities like Prague, Hong Kong and Italy.

“I know Bollywood is one aspect of me and I’m known for that … (but) I’ve been doing this for 26 years and I have my regular clientele — it’s about regular people,” she said. “Teachers, doctors, housewives — people who really need the change.”

Pastakia knows what it’s like losing track of your own personal style from being a stay-at-home mom when she raised her two kids.

“I know what it feels like being stuck at home with them – you just lose your whole perspective of who you are,” she said. “I could do so much for them.

“It’s just important for them to feel good — just feel good if their hair’s touched up and it’s not just grown out.”

So Pastakia is eager to step away from the Bollywood glamour and make her work all about the client.

“It’s not just about being glamorous — it’s what works for you … what works with your skin tone, what works with your lifestyle,” said Pastakia. “I’m very into haircuts where it has to be you – it has to be about the person.”

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute

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