It felt as if I was living in a dream, walking across the stage, reaching for Anupam Sir’s out-stretched hand congratulating me. He wished me luck and smiled for a photograph. I had always dream of shifting to India, and when I had discovered Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares, I thought that this would be the best way to make my way across the world.
Walking across the stage on the day of our commencement to receive my diploma, my thoughts went back to the first day of the course when my mind was fully-loaded with questions and curiosity on how we would be able to earn a diploma in a matter of three months. I could recall walking into the Orientation class. I quickly and quietly looked around for a place to sit and scanned through all the faces — happy, anxious — chatting with one another. That moment was when I began to feel nervous. What if I was unable to make friends? What if I was unable to express myself and communicate? A billion and one worries poured into my head, a billion and one ‘what if’s’.
It was not even a week since I traveled from America to be a part of this course, and now that I was here, I began feeling a sense of fear. I hurriedly tried to find a seat, and the only one I spotted was all the way across the room. Looking down, I rushed over to the single empty spot, in front of two girls who seemed to be well acquainted. I had trouble understanding the language that was playing like music throughout the hall. But the moment Anupam Sir walked through the doors, it all stopped. A silence fell over the crowd and we all stood up.
That day, Anupam Sir gave us a few nuggets of advice that I would never forget. At that point, little did I know that those would soon become the words I would live by. He told us not to have any fears. Not only should an actor be fearless, but an actor should also not let any single thing be their limit. We were told never to think we are not good looking or attractive enough, or not skinny or in shape enough. We were told to have confidence and be comfortable with who we are. Surely what he advised us was easier said than done, but through the three months of training by six amazing teachers, it became wired into my brain.
Each teacher taught us different techniques, all combining to make the students skilled actors. We were taught how to express ourselves. We were taught how to figure out who we are, how to identify our strong and weak points, and how to utilize both to our advantage. We were taught perfect diction, how to speak not only in pure Hindi, but Urdu as well. We were taught how to act as if we were not even acting at all and we were also taught how to act specifically for the camera. We were taught how to work behind and in front of the camera, we were taught how to audition, and so many more techniques that are vital for actors and actresses to know.
After the course, not only did I stand with more courage and more strength (both physically and mentally,) but I also learned to face and eliminate a lot of the weaknesses I possessed. I learned to speak a language I had never spoken a word of before in my life. I broke out of my shell, I learned to express myself clearly. I went from being indecisive and confused to being clear-minded and holding my head high in a matter of a mere three months.
If I could give advice to the future students of this course, the main thing I have to say would be do not, under any circumstances, take those three months for granted. Every last bit of information you will learn will come in handy, every last thing you are taught will be useful. Make friends, but don’t get lost in the friendship. And have fun, because every last thing you learn will make you a better person. So, to the fresh-comers, welcome. You are in for the best three months of your lives.