Stella Adler & Her Mumbai Connection


2

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           APRIL 07 , 2013           11.00 P.M.

One of the most influential but not-so-well-known acting trainer of the world , Stella Adler was briefly associated with Mumbai through her acting institute . Famous film director Rahul Rawail signed MOU with her acting institute , got the franchise and finally opened ” Stella Adler Studio of Acting ” in Mumbai .

Cropped screenshot of Stella Adler from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Stella Adler from the trailer for Shadow of the Thin Man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

General public is not aware of her stature . Even in Indian acting training world she is not so well-known . For my readers and general public , I am quoting the complete preface written by legendary actor Marlon Brando , who was one of her many students . He wrote this preface for the book ” The Art of Acting ” , written by Howard Kissel :

English: A photograph promoting the film The W...

A photograph promoting the film The Wild One depicts actor Marlon Brando. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

” To me Stella Adler is much more than a teacher of acting . Through her work she imparts the most valuable kind of information – how to discover the nature of our own emotional mechanics and therefore those of others . She never lent herself to vulgar exploitation , as some other well-known so-called ” methods ” of acting have done . As a result , her contributions to the theatrical culture have remained largely unknown , unrecognized and unappreciated .

As far as I know , she was the only American artiste who went to Paris to study with Constantin Stanislavski , who was himself a skilled observer of human behaviour and a most prominent figure in Russian theatre . She brought back to this country knowledge of this technique and incorporated it in her teaching . Little did she know that her teachings would impact theatrical culture worldwide . Almost all film-making anywhere in the world has been affected by American films , which has been , in turn , influenced by Stella Adler’s teachings . She is loved by many and we owe her much .

I am grateful to the inestimable contributions she has made to my life and I feel privileged to have been associated with her and her family professionally and personally throughout my life . “

Stella Adler Theatre, 6777 Hollywood Boulevard...

Stella Adler Theatre, 6777 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stella Adler Theatre

Stella Adler Theatre (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

This preface says everything about Stella Adler and I don’t think I can add anything more substantial . Though , compared to Lee Strasberg , she is not so well-known but according to many actors , directors and film personalities of the world , she was a better acting teacher . Every single-acting teacher of the world follows the principles laid down by Stanislavski but she was the only one who got trained under Stanislavski .

I am a great fan of Stella Adler . When I read about her life and work , I found to my amazement , that my behaviour in my class is quite similar to Ms. Stella Adler . Unintentionally and unknowingly I always shared same kind of relationship and vibes with my acting students .

It is sad that her foray in Mumbai was short-lived . It would have been pleasure to have her here . I personally feel that Mr. Rahul Rawail did not comprehend her importance and thus lost an opportunity . I am reproducing a news item from Mumbai Mirror of September 19 , 2012 about this stupendous failure .

Rawail’s acting school shuts shop?

VICKEY LALWANI, Mumbai Mirror Sep 19, 2012, 09.21AM IST
(Rahul Rawail )

Filmmaker Rahul Rawail’s (of Betaab and Arjun fame) acting school that was launched by Rishi Kapoor, Kajol, Priya Dutt and Poonam Dhillon amidst a lot of fanfare has shut shop. When we visited the academy situated in Ajivasan Building ‘B’ Wing on Juhu Tara Road, we found the place locked. We learnt that playback singer Suresh Wadkar is now using the place to hold his music classes every evening.

Acting trainers of India swear by Constantin Stanislavski and Lee Strasberg . They are not so fond of Stella Adler . Self-proclaimed most famous acting school of Mumbai , self-anointed most famous acting institute of India and self-appointed most famous acting academy of bollywood have no place in their heart for Stella Adler . They are blissfully unaware of her existence and her immense contributions to the world of acting training .

I keep on mentioning her theories of acting to my students in my acting institute  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters . One day I wish to visit ” Stella Adler Studio of Acting ” to pay my tribute . I wish and pray that as an acting trainer / tutor / teacher I should be able to achieve even 1/4 th of what she attained in her teaching life . I pray to God that like ” Stella Adler Studio of Acting ” , one day my acting institute Vidur’s Kreating Charakters will also be recognized as one of the most famous acting institutes of the world .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

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www.vidurfilms.com

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A Tale of Two Acting Institutes : FTII & NSD


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           OCTOBER 28 , 2012           01.15 A.M.

I start my blog with salutations to Shri Roshan Taneja , Ex Head of FTII [ Film & Television Institute of India ] and Ebrahim Alkazi , Ex Head of NSD [ National School of Drama ] .

With Shri Roshan Taneja in His Office

With Shri Roshan Taneja in His Office

Then I proceed to submit that apart from above mentioned two giants of Acting Training , I don’t like the present dispensation of these so-called premiere acting institutes of India .

Let me take their case one by one .

NATIONAL SCHOOL OF DRAMA :

=================================

This so-called premiere school boasts of the alumni , which could be the dream of any Acting Trainer of India . This famous theatre training institute was established in 1959 in New Delhi by the Sangeet Natak Akademi . In 1975 it became an independent school .

National School of Drama

National School of Drama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First batch of NSD was passed out in 1961 . After this Ebrahim Alkazi took over the reigns and helmed the affair of the school from 1962 to 1977 . It was the golden period of NSD .

In 2008 , though the NSD celebrated its Golden Jubilee , but the shine  , the sheen had gone . I fail to understand the attitude of the present day students of NSD . They think that since they have done an acting course from NSD , so the whole world should invariably acknowledge their eminence . They behave as if whole universe is indebted to them because they have done two years training in NSD . Their immortal arrogance precede their mortal body . This is precisely the reason that they are not very successful in Hindi Film Industry .

FILM & TELEVISION INSTITUTE OF INDIA :

============================================

This premier film acting institute was established in 1960 by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting , Government of India . The present campus is situated in the holy precincts of erstwhile Prabhat Film Company , Pune .

Notable alumni

I do agree that this an enviable list . Any Acting Trainer of India can die for such illustrious students . But what is the present condition ? Why this institute is unable to churn such illustrious students any more ? What happened after Shri Roshan Taneja’s departure ?

Can any one answer ? NSD and FTII were successful with enviable record during the tenure of Shri Ebrahim Alkazi and Shri Roshan Taneja respectively . After their departure mediocrity started ruling and these glorious institutions became just buildings , just structures .

Great institutions are governed by great minds , giant personalities . They can’t be run by upstarts and dwarfs . I can’t comment much about NSD but I know the root cause of the deterioration and subsequent demise of FTII . After departure of Shri Roshan Taneja , every Tom , Dick & Harry rushed to FTII and became Acting Trainers . In front of 10 / 20 captive students they proclaimed themselves as the incarnation of Constantin Stanislavski . People managing the affairs of FTII had and have no vision . They employed every wannabe , every upstart , every so-called veteran actors as Acting Coach and these frustrated Dilip Kumars and Amitabh Bachchans ruined the great FTII .

The decadence is apparent , degeneration is palpable and death is imminent . I have one student in the current batch of Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , who has completed two years acting course from FTII . She is beautiful and is definitely talented . But because of wrong training , she is struggling in my class . She is not at fault . Fault lies at the door of their trainers , who proclaim themselves as the reincarnation of Constantin Stanislavski and dish out half – baked knowledge . It never happened during the tenure of Shri Roshan Taneja .

Is there any remedy ? Will these two institutes be able to come out of ICU ? Can there be another Ebrahim Alkazi and Roshan Taneja ?

On behalf of myself and on behalf of all the students of Vidur’s Kreating Charakters and whole family of Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , I pray to the almighty for the long life of NSD and FTII ! May the future be more glorious and shining than the illustrious past !

[ List of the alumni of FTII is taken from Wikipedia . I express my gratitude . ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

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