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Taught by the Stars

A number actors have started film schools,aiming to help aspirants on the road to tinseltown.

Written by Rohan Swamy | Published: May 8, 2012 2:40 am

A number actors have started film schools,aiming to help aspirants on the road to tinseltown.

Inside Lane 5 of Koregaon Park,Pune,is located a two-storied bungalow where students are rehearsing complex dance steps. In another room,students are watching an English classic film. At the gate,a sign reads ‘Guru Dutt Films Acting Academy’. Cut to Hyderabad,where the upmarket Banjara Hills is home to the Annapurna International School of Film and Media (AISFM),where the acting class will start in June. Set up by Telugu cinema actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao,it is among the first in Asia to offer graduation and post-graduation courses in acting and other streams of filmmaking. Zoom in once again to Pune,where another school has recently opened doors — the Indira Group of Communication-Acting Academy with actor Jackie Shroff at the helm. The first batch of students will enter the premises in June. Add to this Actor Prepares,an acting school operated by Anupam Kher in Mumbai,Chandigarh and Chennai. Clearly,if your career plan includes films,there are any number of schools,all run by actors,to help you get to tinseltown.

“I want to pass on my experience to the students. Having acted in over 200 films with almost 150 directors,there is a lot that students can learn,” says Shroff. His school will train students in dance,and the basics of direction and screenplay among others — all this in six months.

Short-term courses at most of these schools last between two days and two months,while a full-fledged course can extend to six months. In comparison,the prominent Film and Television Institute of India and the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute of India,Kolkata,run two-year full-time courses. “Smaller courses help students get an overall feel of the profession of acting,” says Arun Dutt,son of the late Guru Dutt,who has been running the Guru Dutt Films Acting Academy since April 2011. Dutt adds that students shoot a video portfolio that can be uploaded on talent scouting websites or YouTube.

Course fees range from Rs 4,000 at the Nilu Phule Kala Academy (started in April to tap and nurture rural talent in the field of acting) to Rs 1 lakh at Shroff’s institute. Chris Higgins,admissions and marketing in-charge,AISFM,says that it is a non-profit organisation and students will pay a nominal amount. “The fee structures are being worked out for the new acting course,” he says.

Though it is early to gauge the impact of these schools,Dutt says,“Some of our students have found work in indie short films.”

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