"There is nothing more obscure or contradictory that life itself." - Robert De Niro
On 24 August 2014, the short film I Went Shopping for Robert De Niro was premiered at the Videocon D2H IIFA Weekend in Tampa, Florida. The session was followed by a workshop featuring the film's director, Anupam Kher, who has acted in more than 450 films throughout his career, including Silver Linings Playbook which also starred Robert De Niro.
Anupam Kher is the Founder and Chairman of Actor Prepares, the finest international acting school in India, which boasts Bollywood alumni such as Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Kunal Kapoor, Manish Paul, and Varun Dhawan.
Following the premiere of the film, he hosted an acting workshop where he shared some of his acting acumen. I was fortunate to spend a brief time with him on stage experiencing his training techniques (and was reminded why I hadn't pursued acting in any real way). The session was both a tutorial on acting and a workshop on how to better understand why we do what we do.
Here are 5 things - and snippets of insights - that this acting guru shared about acting and life.
Lesson 1. Everyone Can Act. If you can lie you can act because lying is the first step in acting. All of us have an actor within us. Children pretend to act, adults perform. Society forces us to represent ourselves as something else. Something we're not. That is what makes the ability to act both accessible and difficult.
Lesson 2. Insights on the Craft of of Acting. Be ready to make a fool of yourself. Confidence has nothing to do with acting. Acting requires a bit of psychology. It is important to know yourself, with all your strengths and flaws. Life is about change. If you can change someone's life, that is acting.
Lesson 3. The Best Thing About You is You. Everyone wants to be something. We mock ourselves when we feel unfulfilled. You have to think the best thing about you is you. Anupam Kher even wrote a bestselling book on this topic where he shares down-to-earth wisdom for upgrading your life and finding inner bliss and tranquility.
Lesson 4. On Acting and Emotions. All of us have all the emotions - don't be afraid to try them. If you try, you risk failure. If you don't you ensure it. Don't use dialogues to substitute emotions. Let's use emotions to substitute dialogues. Anger gives us a false sense of importance. When angry, always delay your response by 10 seconds. You need to experience a catharsis, a purging of emotions.
Lesson 5: Final Advice. LIVE LIFE, because life is beautiful.
The following playlist features videos highlighting the Actor Prepares acting school, The Best Thing About You Is You bestselling book, and the video of Kher's IIFA 2013 training workshop.
You can view photos of the stars, celebrities, and participants of this session on Flickr.