Film Education


OORVAZI Talking Cinema – Film Review Show AGNEEPATH (2012) – Episode 6



                                                                                                          By Oorvazi Irani


The Actor’s VOID  

I began my acting stint at a very early age, won many awards in various plays through school and college for dramatics, elocution and poetry recitals.

Later I came to Bombay in the early 80’s. Pearl Padamse and Jalal Agha took a liking towards me and introduced me to Modeling and commercial theater. I did various print and T.V commercials along the way and continued with the workshops and plays under her guidance.

I have later trained as a voice over with Darrpan and then with Steve Hudson, in his patent technique named the P.S.R (presentation and reading skills)“Voice Master” who has been training Voice Over artists and actors like Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Dame Judy Dench, and Tom Hanks in his technique and the importance of Voice acting. I have dubbed over 50 Hollywood movies in Hindi and other foreign films.

This helped me to a very large extent to once again brush up my skills as an actor and have later been training aspiring actors in the importance of voice acting and voice exercises for an actor.

I have been the voice over for Times Now, and lent my voice to several launches and presentations including the prestigious V.Shantaram Awards 5 consecutive years.

On television I have had the opportunity to play different shades and received appreciation relatively from “Left right left”, Mahabharat, Bandini, Koi aaney KO hai, Crime Patrol, and Khottey Sikkey. And 2 movies with Shahid Kapoor – Paathshala and Chance pe Dance.

I have in the course of time kept working on finessing my skills, and attended various acting workshops. My father always said “That Man is a Student throughout his life” and I believe not because they were wise words from a father to son, but because I realized it.

I always felt a great void in me apart from all the appreciation I kept getting for my work, it constantly bothered me. I read various techniques on acting but this did not fill my void, as the technique itself felt void.

I have great admiration for Anthony Hopkins and regard him amongst the finest actors, primarily for his outstanding performance in “Silence of the Lambs” I must have watched the movie for the very sake over a dozen times and yet the character excites me as much. I asked myself what made him so believable, what do great actors do to be so? And the ease is so, as if “the character himself was the actor not the other way around”.

How do I create this magic? I needed to understand this at a deeper level and on a very spiritual plane.

While doing some research I found an interesting link amongst some greats like Anthony Hopkins to Johnny Depp and that was – Michael Chekhov.

I began on my quest and read all I could online whilst I began searching for his books and willed there was someone in Mumbai who taught the Chekhov technique just then an advert of Oorvazi popped up on my screen.

I truly relished each day of the course. Being a trainer myself I am aware that retention span of a student does not last beyond 20 minutes, however 6 hours felt less. I have thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and gained immensely. Chekhov training has connected me more spiritually as an actor, adapting a character, living him believably, portraying him with ease and consistently is where the magic is.
Chekhov’s training helps mould the body into pure work of art; it makes you the Master craftsmen, architect, enabling oneself to create characters beyond the realm of imagination. I often experienced a stressful state while and after playing a certain character, and by doing so it affects us to a great deal psychologically.

I have recently read an article about a young girl who had acted in a documentary film to promote awareness on growing suicide, took the extreme step herself.

Chekhov trains an actor to create that imaginary body of the character with tools therefore reversing the process of straining the mental self to alter the physical state. Therefore using Chekhov techniques we apply tools to the physical self to then alter the mental state thus without harming and effecting the mind, and it is easy to switch off from the character after the scene, and consequently not carrying the baggage and emotions, stress of the character into ourselves and our daily lives.

I have finally found the tools to fill my void, and I know it will take immense practice and effort to master these tools, the tools for the kill I would rather say and each kill will be different from the other, each time I will explore a new tool and probably a combination of them, and that is what makes this a great technique and it is limitless hence opening infinite dimensions for the artist.

I had wonderful experience learning with Oorvazi, and I am now looking forward to other sessions with her and the advanced course as well, she is an outstanding trainer who understands the art well.

Sanjay Nath

Sanjay Nath attended Oorvazi Irani’s Michael Chekhov Acting Technique

Course, January 2012