Ishita Dutta, an Actor Prepares alumna, makes her Bollywood debut in Drishyam opposite Ajay Devgn. She spoke to us about her days at Actor Prepares and her journey to the big screen.

How has Actor Prepares impacted you as an actor?
When I joined Actor Prepares, I was not very sure what I wanted to do. I was a shy person – for me it turned out to be an all-round self-development course. I met excellent teachers who helped me come out of my shell. They would make us perform; even if you are sitting and not participating, they would make sure you participate. For a shy person like me, this was a great opportunity  to go out and explore myself.

Thanks to Actor Prepares, as a person I have opened up a lot; a huge credit also goes to my teachers and Anupam sir. He used to come for our classes and he would always pick me up and give me a situation – made me act. That really helped me, made me more comfortable about acting. I’m so happy that I was a part of this.

What would be your advice to students currently at Actor Prepares?
It’s very important for the students to participate – that’s how you are going to learn. That’s the advice I would give students.  Don’t sit back and enjoy the class, go and participate because at the end of three months you’ll see the difference, especially when you go out there and give auditions. You will be able to implement a lot of things you have learned during your classes in the audition – how to block people, how to focus on the moment….everything comes into play when you are auditioning. During the classes, you might not link what you are being taught to the practical side of being an actor, but during your auditions you will recall ‘this is what sir had said… this was how we had practiced’ and so on.

How was the experience of acting alongside Ajay Devgn?
It was a great experience to be on sets with such great actors – there was so much to learn from them. How they see a scene – even at this stage they still go for rehearsals, they will still practice their lines! We would practice a lot of times before we would actually go for the take. Working with Tabu has been an amazing experience as well.  She has a great personality and  she’s an extremely down to earth person.

As a debutante I was fortunate to have a team like this, they made me confident about myself; whenever required they would come and praise me. That plays a very important role. This pushes you to perform better. I would also like to mention the amazing times I’ve had with Shriya. She is a very sweet person and I’ve had an amazing time working with her. Most of my scenes in the movie are with her.

How was the entire process entering as a shy person at Actor Prepares to getting out of the shell and now making a debut alongside Ajay Devgn?
The entire process from the start to the end was pretty amazing. I guess more than anything else, it’s very important for the person to know how much she really wants it. As a shy person going on the stage and participating is the last thing the person would like to do. I remember even at that point when I joined Actor Prepares, I did so because I wanted to learn. So even if I was a shy person, I would always work towards emerging out of my cocoon. That’s the most important thing – no matter how tough it is, if you should be willing to go ahead, do it and be there. You can’t learn acting just while sitting in class. You have to participate and understand how things work. It’s do with realism – today’s acting is very realistic so we have to get down to being real, I guess. As for myself, it’s just the start of the journey… I have a long way to go!

Can you tell us your most memorable incident at Actor Prepares?
I remember there was this play where I was to play the character of Shamsha. The teacher told me later that he had given me the role because I was not like the character in real life and this would help me push my acting skills. After lots of practice I was finally confident enough about myself to go and perform the role. The performance got me a lot of praise and the reactions I got from the students and the faculty was more than enough to motive me to go out and give it my best shot! That day I realized the person I was capable of being. That was a change in my personality  which pushed me further along the journey to being an actor.

Here’s wishing Ishita Dutta all the very best for her career from all of us at Actor Prepares!