The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Now, the right look for you is a click away

If she’s — or he’s — got the look, it could mean yet another tribute to a computer. Just key in the height, weight, age, blood pressure, vital statistics… and wait for a customised diet and exercise chart to show how to look just right.

This is what Samrat’s School of Modelling and Performing Arts is offering his clients, in addition to a computerised photographic example of what he or she will look like in different hair colours and styles, eye colour and, in the case of men, facial hair, too. Towards that end, the school has tied up with hairstyling salons like Habib’s, and leading opticians.

“This is a wholesome grooming experience with a personal touch,” explains Samrat Mukherjee. Six months in the making and to be completed this week, the computer programme is created by Himadri Basu, using software like C++, 3D Studio Max and Adobe Photoshop. But it is the legwork put into the project — gathering tips from fitness experts, doctors, dieticians, skin specialists, hairstylists and fashion designers — that could tilt the scales.

External factors like the weather are taken into account for food and exercise — “In summer, one shouldn’t eat too much red meat, or exercise for two hours” — and the age and sex matters at every twist and turn. “A growing girl of 18 can’t have the same diet as a woman of 25, even if they have the same height, weight and build.” And while a young man practising bodybuilding who is “very fair” can happily have a high-protein diet to increase his energy, another who classifies as “dark” cannot, because protein stimulates melanin in the skin, “making one darker”.

Based on the inputs, the computer programme will automatically figure out whether the individual needs to lose or gain weight, or improve on certain areas, and then prescribe a plan. Sanchita Kushari Dyson of Dream Merchants, however, feels that computerising grooming techniques brings homogeneity and stumps creativity. “Every person needs individual, personal attention. A computer can’t do that.”

Mukherjee says he is offering just that to his students, a first batch of around seven men and five women, aged between 18 and 22, some aspiring actors and models, others novices. “All of them are looking for a smart, contemporary look. Earlier, the youth would follow in the fashion footsteps of film stars. Now, they want to stand out.” The whole point, explains Mukherjee, is to “add a touch of glamour and class” to Calcutta models. In Mumbai, youngsters spend a lot of money on grooming. “Here, that concept still does not exist.”

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