Acting Advice Part 1| Guftagoo with Naseeruddin Shah – Joinfilms


Nasir ji, what one actor should know before becoming an actor? Firstly, any youngster who wants to become an actor should not think that it is a matter of luck or a lottery where his name may appear. This is a wrong method of thinking. Secondly, I feel pity, i feel pity on some parents who bring their children and say that he does not know anything, make him an actor. I really feel angry on such things. I tell them that it is not my responsibility or I have not taken any contract for making everybody an actor. Why do they think that for acting education is not required? This is a wrong thought. Firstly, my advice to all youngsters who wants to become actors is that finish your education first. There is a big difference between educated and uneducated actors Secondly, Youngsters , the way i did it When I was in 8 or 9 Std , I decided that what i have to do with my life And I was very clear about that. I had two brothers , One wanted to be a soldier and other to be Engineer. Both had done it. Both started preparing when they were in class 8th or 9thfor this . I thought that why can’t I start preparing to become an actor if my decision is logical and sensible and when I consider that acting is not different from any other profession. That , acting is a skill which needs to be learnt and perfected. This is a wrong assumption that only some people can act and others can’t. This is wrong . I don’t believe this Acting is a skill like carpentry ,like pottery making or for that matter any other technical profession where technique need to be learnt Like any other preparation is required here also . Ofcourse it is required . AND…. It is a pity that Actors don’t know how to be prepared? If you tell somebody that you want to become an actor, firstly, he will laugh, then he will mock and then he will discourage you to do so. This is a strange human mentality. I think that this happens because everybody wants to become an actor truly or wanted to become an actor. This is a very strange The way Actors can be mocked any time. Actors can be rejected away with any time. Everybody is an authority on acting, not on photography, not on editing or on script writing etc but everybody is an authority on acting. No matter who he/she is. It is understood that acting is a God’s gift, which may or may not be showered on a person as per God’s wish. I don’t believe this. Do you think , Preparation is required to be done on voice, body language , diction , or dialouge? Like we prepare for medicine or engineering. Exactly the same like medical studies or any other. My father wanted me to become a doctor. I told him that I couldn’t read fat books for 5 years. And so what happened I studied acting for 5 years. Ha Ha He said to me“You said that you could not study for 5 years. What is there to learn in this acting?” He was an educated man and he was very smart, had been to London. Even after this he spoke such words. “What is this bloody acting? What is there to learn in this? You keep doing Notanki.” I swallowed all this and kept on my secret preparations continuously on and on until the time I reached to a decision as to what line, I had to go and I am still doing it because this preparation is never ending. In what age do you think this decision came, 8-9 years you thought or so? In class 8, I would have been 12-13 years old at that time At that time you decided? YES Because even before that I was very fond of films which I watched. And by very good chance We were shown many films and good films in school. Dramas used to be performed alot. What kind of films were there at that time? American and British films. No films from other countries were there. Hindi films were strictly disallowed. Speaking in Hindi was disallowed. Even the Hindi classes were conducted in English. OHH ! Yes Those films deeply impacted me and the dramas in our school were very good From outside people used to come to perform they also inspired me and I believed that I had interest in this line First, I had interest in cricket and Second, films and theatre. Nothing else. Now that you decided that you will do films Did you decide on the medium also whether you will do films or theatre or TV? I did not know this. Becoming a film star was a distant dream . My face was also not of that kind that I will dream to become a second Shammi Kapoor. I had completely accepted this. I accepted that Okay ,I do not have a face like Shammi Kapoor but I had some other qualities which Shammi Kapoor did not have and I worked on those qualities I realized very early that my face was very flexible and could change completely One example that once even my mother could not recognize me. When I went home when , when? When I was studying at NSD, I had my head shaved and had beard. For 2 seconds she was zapped and said “who is there?” Fully changed This was the first training which I gave to myself .There will be nobody to show you the way I also had nobody, I found my own way. What were your plan of Action? That I had to learn everything about this job and as much as I could. Everybody said that what was there in acting? One has to just stand and speak . Like people say what is there cricket, only that you have to hit a ball with a bat. It involves theory, practical, technique! Yes. It is like a child who wants to become a cricketer. He would look at Sachin Tendulkar or Ricky Ponting playing, or will see Chris Gayle playing and would try to imitate them. He does not know more than that. He would try to hold the bat like them, how they stand like how Sachin stands and so on. An actor should also do this. As an actor, especially in media industry when your work started, did your plan of action proved right and in the right direction? Coincidently Yes ! Because My If there is any achievement on my part, it was it was to make myself present at the right place and right time and I did nothing else. I prepared myself and I always believed that if you work hard on something, it would never go waste NEVER Somewhere your hardwork will be of use. I knew that I had worked hard in learning my job. Co incidentally , In 1975, Shyam Benegal was starting his career, Govind Nihalani was starting his career, Saeed Mirza, Ketan Mehta,Vinod Chopra, Kundan Shah etc etc many people. They were all trying to make different type of films. I knew that in their films my type of person would be required by them. I believed it. Because this people were not making unreal films. They were trying to make such films which reflect truth And they needed Actors like this only Coincidently I was there , Om Puri was present, Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Deepti Naval, Faruk Sheikh we all were present , Co incidently. When I saw Ankur, I was studying in the film institute The one with Sanjeev Kumar? No, with Shyam Benegal Ankur Shabana Azmi and Anant Nag. That boosted my confidence, as that film was a hit. No one was expecting, one Bobby was a hit, the other was Ankur, and both were released at the same time. Ankur was made in 2 Lac and nobody expected it to be hit or anybody would even watch that film. That film ran for 25 weeks in Metro. Shabana Azmi became a star after that. I thought that I could get a role in such films at least. Coincidently , Some people still think that I acted in this film. Because there was a person in the film who looked like me, his name was Aga Mohammad Hussain from Hyderabad, no more now. Second reason is that people associate me with that kind of cinema.

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