The Projection Room
The 10 commandments of acting by KARAN JOHAR
Having worked with the best of them, the flourishing filmmaker knows what it takes to be a successful actor. Here's everything they never teach you at acting school...
FACE MOBILITY : It is the ingredient I would look for in a prospective star. One need not have a conventionally good-looking face, but it has to have character. A face you would turn to look at the second time... a face, which does not get lost in the crowd! A classic case is Shah Rukh Khan, who does not conform to conventional good looks. But note the intensity and character. It stood out even when he was a television artiste. I was in school at that time and I remember my friend Priya telling me that she was falling in love with this boy in the serial Fauji . She, of course, found his lips very sexy!
FILM EDUCATION : If you have stars in your eyes, then a film education is your basic requisite. Today's aspiring actors are only interested in updating themselves with recent releases. Go back and watch films of every era, the '40s, '50s, '60s, and educate yourself about cinema down the ages. Study the characterisation and imbibe the nuances of acting. Don't be afraid to be labelled a film buff! I am one, and still watch at least one film every day!
PERSONALITY : Do you have a personality, which draws people? It need not be like Amitabh Bachchan's, but it should be magnetic. People should want to look at you, and listen to you. There is no single type of personality. There is the Preity Zinta type – bubbly and vivacious – a personality you want to look at again and again when it comes on screen. There is Shah Rukh Khan's – charismatic and endearing. Then there is Ajay Devgan's intense and brooding one, which makes you wonder what he is all about. A magnetic personality is an essential star quality!
ACTING COURSES, DANCE AND GROOMING CLASSES : It is true that actors are born, not made. But acting schools help an artiste drop his inhibitions and face the camera with confidence. They are worth the investment for an aspiring actor. Dancing, on the other hand, improves the body language and makes the body supple. A good dancer is easier with his body than a non-dancer. Being a good dancer is an asset to an actor but not an essential ingredient for stardom. There are many stars who are non-dancers. Like Amitabh Bachchan always says, if the part above the neck cannot do it, nothing else will!
BODY LANGUAGE : It is one thing to have a great body, but another to have a great body language. A star communicates not only with dialogues and expressions but with his body as well. Sanjay Dutt has natural body language in the way he walks and moves. John Abraham and Salman Khan's body language exudes raw sexuality. Among the girls, it is Sushmita Sen who has powerful body language. As one does more and more work, this star quality can be cultivated.
CAMERA FRIENDLY : You could be picture perfect when it comes to your looks, but you could still not translate on celluloid. But there are some people, who despite all their imperfections, light up the screen. Lack of perfection and some rough edges can be very endearing. Like Kajol's eyebrows, which are almost as irresistible as Preity's dimples! Don't be embarrassed of a feature, which is unique. A little mole on your face or even that crooked tooth could make you the next face of the nation!
TALENT : There are three type of movie celebrities. Those who have star power – attaining stardom more because of their charisma than talent. Then there is the actor – who gets great roles but tends to get stuck in the character-actor category. Then comes the star-actor – they have the qualities of a star, the talent of an actor and the making of a legend! Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan fall in this category. This is obviously the best situation to be in, and only one in a million attain this. A little bit of introspection will tell you which category you fall in.
LUCK : The planetary positions are very critical. You could be very good looking, and the most talented person with all the ingredients of a star, but you could be at the wrong place at the wrong time. It is true that to make it in the industry you need 10 per cent talent, 10 per cent hard work and 80 per cent luck. Today producers are looking at smaller platforms like television, music videos, beauty pageants and the ramp. Keeping quality in mind, working in these mediums is also one mantra to stardom.
GODFATHERS AND BELONGING TO FILM FAMILY : It's great to belong to a film family, but not necessary. The last few years have seen many persons making it on their own steam. Aishwarya Rai, Preity Zinta, Shah Rukh Khan... are the best examples. On the other hand, a godfather can only give you a break. Those who say they have achieved stardom because of their godfathers are taking away the credit from their own charisma! Stars make their own destiny.
PHOTOSHOOTS : As a rank newcomer it is important to come across well in print, and to know your best angles. And it is a good idea to kick-start your career with a good photo session. But the golden rule is not to be obsessed with the perfection and excellence of your pictures. A star in the making is always comfortable with his body and can laugh at his imperfections.
BE YOURSELF, BE A PROFESSIONAL : More than Hrithik Roshan's looks and dancing ability, it is his sincerity which touches you. Abhishek Bachchan's goodness and humility comes across strongly and Shah Rukh Khan never bothers to stub out his cigarette in public. A true star never camouflages his natural self, or even weaknesses with affectation. To occasionally make a fool of yourself is also a star quality! The masses always love a real person! And last but not least, be a professional, always. An example? Even today, if Amitabh Bachchan is going to be 10 minutes late for a shoot, he will call to inform you!