It’s not just the big-ticket stars who get noticed by the public nowadays. Smaller but meaty roles played by young actors are a talking point too. These actors take a role, however small, and turn it into something that sticks in our memory. Most of them have had theatre as their professional background and ace filmmaker Anurag Kashyap feels that is one reason why these actors do well.
“Performing on stage has cultivated their acting skills. They have a lot of talent to showcase,” he says. Actors such as Shiv Pandit and Ali Fazal, who trained in theatre, talk about the transition and compare the two mediums.
He was part of Dum Maaro Dum (2011), but his stellar acts in Shaitan as Karan ‘KC’ Chaudhary (2011) and in That Girl In Yellow Boots (2011) as Chittiappa Gowda, have earned him both popularity and critic’s nod. “I love working in movies, but theatre is more enjoyable. When you perform in front of a live audience, you can feel their energy,” says Gulshan. Does he feel theatre has helped him perform better onscreen? “It certainly has helped me become more confident onscreen. But there are some things I’ve learnt from films.”
He’s the man who made a villain look desirable on screen. Dushyant Sahu aka Dash of Shaitan (2011), was one of the hottest onscreen villains and Shiv’s performance won him rave reviews. He hasn’t done plays in the recent past, but feels theatre was a sort of gate to Bollywood. “I did theatre in Delhi over six years ago. I enjoyed every bit of it as it taught me a lot about acting and helped me improve my skills. I wanted to do films always, but having theatre as a background proved helpful.”
He debuted as the boy who featured in the hit song, ‘Give me some sunshine…’ in 3 Idiots (2009). Soon, he turned into an adorable lover boy for Always Kabhi Kabhi (2011).
He’s also been a familiar face on stage. But, Fazal feels theatre and cinema are two very different learning experiences. “Theatre teaches you a lot, but it’s not necessary that all that knowledge will be applicable in cinema. Both are very different. I’ve had to unlearn a lot of things I learnt from doing stage shows when I entered Bollywood. However, performing on stage has helped me make fewer errors when giving shots for a movie,” he says.
“I’ve had no formal training in acting,” says Neil, a former VJ, who is a regular on the theatre circuit and television. He made his film debut with the 2006 movie Offshore, but got noticed for his role in No One Killed Jessica (2011) and later, Shaitan (2011). He says, “Perform-ing in front of a live audience is a different thrill. That experience has helped me tremendously in movies.” Does he believe that actors with a theatre background are more talented? “I don’t know about that. But in my short period here, parallel cinema is slowly becoming mainstream.”
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