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Tinsel town - for dreamers only

BRICK BY BRICK Honing the acting skills PHOTOS: C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM.

BRICK BY BRICK Honing the acting skills PHOTOS: C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM.  

Knowing that the route is being dominated by star sons and family banners, the aspirants still want to give it a try, writes Sumit Bhattacharjee

Remember the small time Delhi lad who stole the hearts of millions with his role as Major Abhimanyu Rai in the television serial 'Fauji' a decade-and-a-half ago. That middle class lad with no great looks and personality cemented his fortune in Bollywood, which is dominated by star fathers and star sons,with his psycho thriller, "kk.. kk.. Kiran".

You guessed it right. He is Sharukh Khan, the present badshah of the Indian film industry. Ever since his entry, he has been a source of inspiration for many lads, especially from the bourgeoisie.

"A lot of people aspire these days to become movie stars, and even parents are keen to see their children on the big screen. And to my surprise they all come from respected families and are highly qualified. Gone are the days when a filmi aspirant had to run away from his or her home to gain an entry. The reasons could be that there are more opportunities coming up, especially on the small screen and the industry has become professional," says L. Satyanand, the star maker.

Right now there are five boys and one girl at the Satyanand Acting Institute who dream of becoming a Shahrukh, an Uday Kiran or a Junior NTR one day. Surprisingly, four of the five hopefuls are B.Tech. graduates and fifth (girl) is a lawyer.

Nishant, a B.Tech in computer sciences, is a diehard fan of Mahesh Babu, and is confident of making it big at the Tollywood. "I was keen on acting ever since my childhood days. I used to enact roles in front of the mirror. I even wanted to take up acting earlier but my parents insisted that I go for EAMCET first. Now that I have finished my engineering, I have joined the acting institute to learn the nuances of the trade."

Pat comes the reply: "I have my B.Tech, degree as back-up."

The same is the case with Prasad Chowdari who, after completing engineering, has chosen Satyanand as mentor, hoping to get a break in the industry. "I was a fan of the legendary N.T. Rama Rao. Since my childhood I was fascinated by his mythological roles. I still remember the dialogues of many of his movies. After my engineering and fulfilling the wish of my parents, I took up acting to pursue my dream. I believe that one should do the thing that he or she likes at one point of life. I like acting and I think it's time that I took it up. It has been my hobby and now I intend making it my profession."

Tinsel town - for dreamers only

Knowing that the route is being dominated by star sons and family banners, the aspirants still want to give it a try. "So, what if we can't catch the bus, there is always the option of going back to our core subject of engineering. But we shall try till the last. After finishing our course, we do not mind standing on the doorstep of every director and producer with our portfolio for a break," says Nischol.

While the lads are busy learning acting, dialogue delivery and expressions, the lone lass, Swati, has joined the institute to learn the nuances of directing a film. "I had worked as assistant director to Gopal Reddy for the film 'Naa Autograph Sweet Memories'. And now I want to take up this profession seriously. Before getting into an individual venture I wish to work as co-director for a couple of more films," she says.

Whatever be the hurdles ahead they seem to have drawn their plans meticulously to strike it rich.

According to Mr. Satyanand, the grooming ground for an actor is still the stage. "All good actors, be he Nana Patekar in Hindi films or Prakash Raj in Tollywood, come from the stage. Acting is something that is inherent within person. At the institute we can only sharpen that latent talent. In today's context a good actor is one who has the proper knowledge of camera techniques, angles, expressions, right body language, knowledge of lighting and voice modulation. Looks are only an added advantage. In the present age, directors want all-rounders who have got thorough knowledge of the operations and cinema techniques. Such knowledge is more necessary for newcomers as the directors do not have time to teach and train them, unlike in earlier days," says Satyanand.

"People come to me in a large number, but I select only six per batch. The first and foremost thing I see is the interest in them. By a casual discussion for a few minutes I can assess the interest and passion in the students. Then I see for the 'X' factor - that is how different is one to the others. The body language, the ease with which one communicates and his or her adaptability. In acting, the foremost thing is ease. If one is not at ease in one-to-one or one-to-many communication, then he or she can never be at ease before the camera.

I instantly tell him or her to pack off. Getting a break in this field is difficult, especially for the one who is not having a filmi backing; in that case if someone is not suitable I convince him or her not to waste time trying to learn and get a break. Basically, a budding actor should be able to shed his or her inhibitions, should have a good sense of rhythm and should have the fire in the belly to make it big. One should have a dream, as this industry is for the dreamers."

Mr. Satyanand says that each is different from another, so there should not be one standard course for acting. "One student may be good in expression, the other may be good in dialogue delivery. I treat every case separately. Though I touch every aspect right from camera techniques to lighting and from voice modulation to acting, I focus more on the weaker aspects of each student individually. And that is the reason I do not take more than six per batch."

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