Mumbai: Actors are born, they say. And perhaps they are, indeed - in the many acting schools in India that have churned out well-known faces in the entertainment industry over the years.
"Can you go to any field and work without training? Can you go and do a doctor`s job or an engineer`s job without training? So how can an actor do his job without training? It is only duffers and uneducated people who say actors don`t need training," actor Anupam Kher said.
Anupam runs his own acting institute, Actor Prepares, in Mumbai with branches in Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. The school also runs a branch in London in collaboration with the Ealing Hammersmith and West London College.
"I decided to open my own school because I am a trained actor. Plus I used to work with a lot of newcomers and I used to find that they were very nervous; so I thought why not give them a platform where they can come out of that?" said the 55-year-old National Award winner.
"Also when I did a workshop with Hrithik (Roshan), Abhishek (Bachchan) and Neil (Nitin Mukhesh) many years back, I decided to go ahead with the idea of a school," he added.
According to Abhijit Das of the Institute of Advanced Acting and Behavioural Studies, training is important for evolution and growth of potential.
"It is true that talent is important but at the same time honing that talent is essential too. Acting is all about behaviour, and training in acting teaches you how to behave in different circumstances," he said.
"How will you evolve if there is no one to train you and help you grow? Training is something that takes you from where you are to where you can be," he added.
Many actors in the industry have undergone training in acting and proved their prowess in front of the camera. They include Shabana Azmi, Om Puri, Tabu, Abhishek Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher and Konkona Sen Sharma.
"It`s extremely important for every talent to go through technical training to be competent and a winner in this industry," filmmaker Subhash Ghai, who owns Whistling Woods, said.
Even students, some of whom are working actors, believe that in today`s times of cutthroat competition, training gives you an edge. "I`ve been working for five years now, but I realised I`m not growing as an actor. I wanted to evolve and better my skills; hence I decided to join an acting school," said television actor Siddhant Karnick, who is currently working on a Yash Raj Films show, "Mahi Way".
"There are two ways to work - one where you keep making mistakes and take years to learn; and the other that you learn from others` mistakes and learn earlier. I knew that training in acting would be a catalyst in my evolution as an actor," he added.
Talking about her experience at Actor Prepares, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone had said: "In the three months that I have spent here I feel I have learnt a lot. I have not only improved as an actor but also as an individual. A lot of knowledge has been given to us about acting. The classes have not only taught me the details of acting but groomed me overall and made me a more confident person."
There are hundreds of acting schools around the country. Some of the popular ones are the Film and Television Institute of India (Pune) that offers a two-year PG diploma in acting; the Barry John Acting Studio (Mumbai) that offers various courses including the diploma and certificate courses in acting; and the National School of Drama (NSD) in Delhi that offers a three-year course which leads to a PG diploma in dramatic arts.
Subhash Ghai`s Whistling Woods International (Mumbai) offers a two-year course in acting; Roshan Taneja Acting Studio (Mumbai) offers a six-month course in acting; the Asian Academy of Film and Television in Noida offers a three-month and a one-year programmes in acting. The Kishore Namit Kapoor Acting Institute in Mumbai offers a three-month course in acting. Some universities also offer acting courses.