New Delhi: While the 2009 Hindi film Billu Barber (or Billu) starring Irrfan Khan and featuring Shah Rukh Khan wasn’t exactly a ‘costume drama’, the story of Shamsher Singh perhaps qualifies for that genre. The wizardry of the Delhi-based makeup artist, who is now in police custody, nearly bamboozled authorities at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport after he turned 32-year-old Jayesh Patel into an 81-year-old man who attempted to sneak onto a flight to New York on September 8. With a brand new name, Amrik Singh, Jayesh managed to acquire a passport and got past the initial security check as well as immigration officials at the airport after rolling in there on a wheelchair. But CISF personnel grew suspicious as his voice didn't match his age and, despite grey hair, he hardly had any wrinkles on his face.
Apart from dyeing his mane grey and sporting a silvery beard, Ahmedabad resident Jayesh was wearing suitable clothes, a turban and zero-power glasses to complete the look of an octogenarian. During interrogation, he told officials that he was going to the United States for a job but had trouble acquiring a visa. A man named Bharat told him that he could get him to the US for Rs 30 lakh. As well as the fake passport, the deal included a makeup artist who applied his disguise before he headed to the airport. Jayesh also directed them to the Patel Nagar shop of Shamsher, popularly known as Billu Barber.
According to deputy commissioner of police (IGI Airport) Sanjay Bhatia, the makeup artist was arrested on Sunday from his workplace, and several items including cosmetics and hair dye have been confiscated.
While being questioned, Shamsher told the police that, over time, on the direction of agents he had modified appearances of as many as ten people, including two women. He also confessed to have disguised Jayesh Patel.
Police said further investigation is underway. The team would also try to unmask the other ten suspects whose looks where modified by the makeup artist and the agents behind the impersonation racket.