Film Education

Testimonials from the FTII Acting Workshop on the Psychological Gesture tool of the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique taught by Oorvazi Irani

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I was happy to be invited to FTII, The Film and Television Institute of India, Pune as an expert on the subject to conduct a week long workshop in November 2017 on ‘The Psychological Gesture’ which is a unique tool belonging to the Michael Chehov Acting Technique.

FTII group pic

The Experience:

The Michael Chekhov acting technique is not just a technique of acting but an ideal way of life for an actor thus each time I succeed to share the tools I feel a joy that springs within me that I have helped nurture an artist to explore their potential in a powerful and liberating manner going beyond their limited selves. So my effort is to address the foundations of that belief and then work upwards to practical applications of it. It always amazes me how complex yet simple the technique is and gives me great satisfaction if I have been able to empower an actor with a fresh way of looking at his art and craft.  These 5 days have been an experience to go through a journey with these dedicated acting students who grappled with the technique and came out shinning we all experienced some magic and moments of inspiration.

Student Workshop Feedback 

“The Psychological Gesture as a tool really helped me because before this I did not have a tool, a method to approach any part that I want to do. Now this tool does something to my body and which when I come to perform its original, unexpected and surprises me and there is an element of pleasure after the performance. As a whole the experience had blown be off. Once its understood its very helpful.” Shravan Kumar

“For me it was new to learn because before we have never used a specific tool for acting, from the start we use to rely on our own experience or prefer taking the characters that are close to what we have experienced in real life. Also when dealing with certain emotions we have a specific tendencies like anger is this way, sadness is this way but by doing the Psychological gesture its a new way of realising, and a new way of seeing the differences of responses to one emotion. It was most portrayed for me when we did the scene and i actually experienced the exact fear or shivering of the person who must be facing all this. So it was a new learning experience and I know its going to be beneficial for the future and it will remain for me as an actor for the rest of my life.” Manisha Joshi

“For me this was the first attempt at the Psychological gesture itself because previously I use to try internal to external. I personally use to believe that to get a feeling out of movement was illogical before. But now when I did it my perspective changed. The best part I liked about the Psychological Gesture was through movement you get into a feeling. Also I liked the concept of being able to get in a neutral gear and then as a person you are relaxed so it does not effect you. the feeling is not for a long time, you can control your feelings after that. That was the best part for me” Sandeep Bajpaly

” We were previously taught subjects like imagination and action problems and all those things. For those exercises we have to prepare our background and give so much of our time and I personally face some kind of problem in that where as with the Psychological Gesture we don’t need to make much background for this. If we have an idea about the character, you know the situation and if you find out the Psychological gesture that works for you it really helps you. If you prepare a Psychological gesture its like a vehicle for you, when you have to get into a situation and experience it. So this Psychological Gesture I felt personally of practices everyday it improves your body awareness and what the situation, the scene i have to play it does not take much time for the preparation, rather than other techniques that we are taught with. And whatever  experience I had these 5 days was very nice and a very joyful experience and even our madam when we did not understand things sat together and discuss and something came out of that and that is very helpful  and thank you m=very much for that.” Ashish Aradala

“This is the first time I am trying something from external to internal. I am forcing myself to be more physical rather than think about the situation, imagine something like I did in the scene work. I completely gave into the idea of first giving myself into the physical activity and then let a emotion generate from it so because from a year and a half we are studying a particular method to build relationships with imagination and go from internal to external. So this technique will help me that if I want to do a particular scene or role now I have two different ways of doing it. Now this will make me more aware of the little gestures that I do in my acting and I will be more aware of what people are doing. Because now I know from where this gesture is evolving and being generated. Even in the class while we were doing it even a small minute gesture effects your mental state, this awareness has tremendously increased with this class. I think in order to make more use of this class this class should have been longer because we have learnt the process now we need to implement it properly and get feedback on it that requires more time” Tushar Dutt

Feedback on Oorvazi Irani’s Teaching Style

Video link below

FTII Student Feedback for the teaching style in the workshop



What was the teaching style of the Workshop ?

It was thoughtful. It was very organised. No bullshit attitude, no idhar udhar ki batein, to the point. More practical. Experimental. Sharing. Good part is we come up new exercises, its not a particular type, we can create our own method, our own PGs, we can make something  that suits us. There was freedom to look or examine, individually we have done the process so the good thing is I got to examine myself and others how it is working. One good thing was nobody was being judged. There was no humiliation of any sort or pressure. It was very friendly and at the same time disciplined. There was a good balance between how to stay friendly and at the same time very very disciplined. You never not irritated when there were many questions.  And you also dealt with each personal individually the way they are so its not like everyone is in the same page.




The Mikhail/Michael Chekhov Acting Technique Workshop Presented by Oorvazi Irani


AUTEUR & ACTING – The Michael Chekhov Acting Technique


The Michael Chekhov Acting Technique

Presented by Oorvazi Irani


If cinema is the director’s medium 

And the director is an artist, an Auteur

An Auteur director works in collaboration with the writer which is the first stage of creation

But collaboration with an actor with an acting technique can lead to an exciting final stage of creation waiting to be explored

The question I propose to ask today is  – Can an auteur director involve with the actor with the technique of acting itself. Rather than orienting himself to the actor’s style of acting can he introduce and work with the actor together as a collaborative teamwork. Can they both work in a new collaboration where the character comes to life and is truly born from the marriage of the writer , auteur director and actor.

The next question will be how does the auteur director go about this process.

The first step would be for the auteur director to understand the challenges of the actor as an artist and put himself through the process. Not to become an actor but to experience firsthand the possibilities.

Also what this does for the auteur director is that it helps him to live the part of the character and become one with his creation, he might not be the most skilled individual to bring the character to life but he can share the joy of creation with the actor and discover his characters from a deeper source adding nuances that have escaped the writer. Ofcourse the writer could also be included in the process, as acting is the final phase of the written script and it actualizes the potential of the story and screenplay.

The challenges an actor faces are the demands to transform himself into other characters and to bring them to life by emoting truthfully. Every actor has his own way of responding to these demands which he either evolves with experience or by following a particular acting technique.

The most popular means used to act is – to use one’s personal memories and personality to act. As an artist I find that limiting the ‘art of acting’. I believe any form of art should put the individual in a position to evolve and not regress and high points in artistic creation are experienced by the artist and audience when the artist has transcended the ego.

The Michael Chekhov acting technique unlike some other acting techniques is not regressive but fun and creative and any individual who wants to creatively ‘play’ can start the exploration. Michael Chekhov himself was a great actor, director born in Russia in 1891. He devoted his whole life to developing and perfecting a revolutionary acting technique that does not use personal memories and one’s limited personality to act but at the core of the technique is the use of the actor’s ‘Imagination’ and the actor’s ‘Body’ . The actor is treated as a creative artist and the possibilities of creation are infinite with specific tools like the ‘Imaginary Body’ – ‘Imaginary Centre’ – ‘Psychological Gesture’ – ‘Sensations’ with which the whole world opens up to the actor and the world inside him  strives to reach out surrendering to the joy of creation.

An Auteur can rediscover himself and his film in artistic collaboration with the actor – are there any takers in India for this exciting journey to join the list of internationally respected actors and directors who are inspired by and follow the acting technique like Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Depp, Marilyn Monroe, Joanna Merlin, Anthony Quinn, and many more.

For more information on the technique do visit my website, link below


Article first published on the movie website



I am happy to share with you my journey towards cinema and acting teaching. And it would be a great pleasure to receive your feedback.

This E Channel is conceived and produced by someone special, Indu Raaman who is part of my Film Appreciation Family. And through her I came in contact with the rest of the team who have together with Indu created this e weekly channel ‘VOICESNVIEWS’ – her daughter Ruupa Raaman and her son in law Bhuvanesh Shetty.

The experience of shooting the interview with the lovely team was loaded with warmth, passion and sincerity.