Versatile actor on stage, celluloid and television Vineet Kumar, more often than not, strikes at the root of the matter. Set to be in charge as the Chameleon Actor Advanced Acting Skills Training Workshop begins in the Capital, he brings in a studied simplicity to the skill of acting. “Acting as a skill depends on how you view it,” says the actor.

With cinema, tele-serials and theatre demanding different degrees of this skill, Kumar says, “It is a science that involves the body and the brain.”

Understanding acting

A skill that demands constant attention and polish, Kumar says practise is the gateway to understanding acting. And ‘practise’ is the key to the benefits of any acting workshop, he believes. Workshops are meant to spur on the ability to think, says Kumar who spent years in his home State Bihar doing theatre before arriving at the National School of Drama.

“At the workshop we create the compulsion to think, to keep the antennas up, to pause and think,” he says.

The prospect of engaging with different points of view excites Kumar about the workshop.

For someone who attempts to study the intricacies of acting, Kumar himself veered into it reluctantly. Cajoled to be part of a play, he says, “I am a pahalwaan in my head and I went to see what’s happening. Aur aaj tak dekh raha hoon.”

The Mumbai stage

Busy with a handful of movies including one on the Bhopal gas tragedy, he says, he is not keen on Mumbai theatre. “There is no theatre in Mumbai, here they do plays. Mujhe play ka shauk nahi hei,” Kumar keeps the irony intact.

An actor who draws attention to nuances when in action, Kumar stresses subtleties come to the fore much later when it comes to aspiring actors.

“Beginning is with the basics. It may sound clichéd, but as Satyadev Dubey once said, begin with clichés,” he says.

There have always been those for whom acting is effortless and spontaneous. On the other side are those who approach it clinically. Kumar says, while acting emanates from feeling, “there comes a point where that feeling becomes repetitive. That repetition happens when you don’t use craft.”

At the workshop, there may be those keen to polish their craft and others who want to dabble with the silver screen. About 40 to 50 per cent of the aspirants last year were keen to venture into movies than engage in theatre.

“What is the fault of children? The system tells them to earn money, which system tells them to earn knowledge?,” asks Kumar.

* The Actor Factor Theatre Company in association with the National School of Drama alumni is bringing on the second Chameleon Actor Advanced Acting Skills Training Workshop 2009.

* The workshop will be on from August 16 to 30 at Lok Kala Manch, 20 Lodhi Institutional Area.

* National School of Drama graduate and actor Vineet Kumar along with his team will impart lessons on acting to aspirants of theatre and cinema.

* The fee for the two-week workshop is Rs 8,500 per head though discounts are available to certain sections, including students.