Hailing from the small town of Ratnagiri, Amit Yashwant had to limit his creativity and desire to experiment. His clients, mostly poor farmers, and land tillers weren’t interested in undercuts, razor fades or pompadours. The haircuts had to be short, functional and easy to maintain.
He started cutting hair after flunking Std VII. While a haircut would cost R10, a shave was offered for R5. The earnings were negligible, but enough to sustain his interest in the profession. “It’s the only thing I was good at. So, I would try to get my hands on Marathi newspapers and magazines to find out about trending haircuts,” he says.
At present, the man gives his services to Bollywood A-listers such as Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Nidhi Agarwal and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, among others. From being a local barber to Tiger Shroff’s main man, Amit has indeed come a long way. He now runs his own salon in Khar called Manemaniac Hair Studio that’s frequented by lifestyle influencers and celebrities.
While the change in fortunes came because of Amit’s creativity, hard work and never giving up attitude, the man still gives a lot of credit to his mentor, Dhruv Abhichandani, who works as the artistic director at Ghatkopar’s Drama Salon.
The first time he saw me cut hair, he thought I was terrible. My techniques were outdated and needed tweaking. So he set about teaching me.” If it wasn’t for Abhichandani, who signed him up for hairstyling courses at reputed institutes, Yashwant says he would never have the confidence to go to the UK.
Undergoing various skills and learning regimes, Amit came back to Mumbai and still wasn’t as comfortable talking in English. However, he believes ‘Language should not be a deterrent when you’re cutting hair,’ and that is why most guys on his team of stylists are people like him: hailing from small towns.