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Lessons in acting

Do you hum in the elevator? Doodle between two pages?Think often when not-thinking? See, you are creative. Now it’s time you paid some attention to your acting skills as well. Unlike your former talents, this one’s a real face-saver.

So let’s quickly run over a few lessons taught at an acting workshop in Mumbai. If lucky, a casting director would notice you upon his visit. If not, you would still have had romanced, cried, laughed, killed; all in the space of three days, gaining much confidence to pretend for the rest of your life as you please.

In no particular order of importance, please skip the points below-

Body language

  • Gauge the space provided for your performance
  • See how much space you can take up and use for moving around (especially in long scenes)
  • Be in complete awareness of your posture
  • Use your hands to show emotions. While showing frustration,if your co-actor is holding a book, snatch it
  • Keep fingers glued together when gesturing. You’d look poised

Voice modulation

(you still reading?)

  • There are many voices inside you (begin with a cat, an elephant, a child, your mother)
  • Adopt a voice closest to your character (case in point- Amina Sheikh from Maat and Mirat-ul-Uroos)
  • You can adopt a falsetto (artificial voice for a higher pitch so as not to shout)
  • Do riyaz to sound better while delivering dialogues


  • It is a very powerful tool. Learn how to use it
  • Angry Amitabh Bachchan breathes out heavily before unleashing hell
  • Practice deep breathing to keep pace when you have a long monologue


  • Soak in everything; right from the backstory of your character to the spot light on your face
  • Remember, the camera never lies. What you feel gets reflected in your eyes
  • Do recall that scene from Devdas where Dilip Kumar stands on the window sill and regrets his hasty letter written to Suchitra Sen. The obtuse black and white frame could not hide his madness and instant regret

(In real life, too, trust your instincts to pick up vibes from people on screen and off.)

Breaking limitations

  • Practice twitching of one eyebrow
  • Make every frame count. If you are playing a pizza delivery boy, carry a heart-shaped photograph in your wallet. It would tell miles about you
  • If you are a local transport guy, paste World Atlas on your wall

Lastly, watch every movie critically. If you have liked a scene, ask yourself ‘why?’ If you laughed, ask yourself ‘why?’ This world is full of YouTube videos. Watch only the best.

With this the lessons come to an end. Let creativity and love conquer boredom and fear.

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