Friday, April 30, 2010

Strugglers, Portfolios and Auditions

Yesterday a wonderful co-incident of sorts happened. Post-lunch we were sitting in our office and in came a man with his portfolio stacked up with different (outrageous) poses - you can guess the very many poses the struggling actor portfolios grace, its like a dictionary – of restrictive, 'necessary' (but not necessarily ‘sufficient’) poses complete a portfolio: namely - the wet hair close up pose, the standing tall with hands in pocket pose, the unbuttoned (ugly) shirt pose, the dreamy look pose, the hands open (SRK) pose and then visuals of movies where they have been seen with the main actors. Like a VLC player snapshot!

Now normally when you sit with a director, there is always a constant flow of struggling actors always coming in:
"Hello sir, I am a pass out of NSD and I have done theatre in Delhi and have acted in several plays". If you dig a little deep and you would come to know that he may have just done a 2 week workshop in the NSD campus. Now if someone comes with that kind of portfolio you know what to do. And the more the director is famous, the worse it becomes for his/her assistants - unnecessary phone calls, persistent ones, pushy ones, requesting emails - all kinds.

But yesterday the man who came to our office was special. I looked at him and thought I have seen him somewhere, but where and then like lightening it struck me, he was "Chikna Gulshan" in the celluloid masterpiece Gunda. Now why I got excited on seeing him is because every actor in Gunda has other 'bigger' films in their kitty aswell, but a Chikna Gulshan "who supplies girls to the impotent brother of Bulla" is an exclusive Gunda property, coz he was never seen anywhere else in any other movies. He is like an exclusive commodity of the Gunda franchise. But looking at him I wondered that Gunda was way back in 1998. Gunda became the cult – He is still struggling! And still goes to Casting offices, Production offices and sends his photos/portfolios across. Amazing the people are in this city. What are they made of? Don't they have any other option in life?

But the brighter side of meeting Chikna Gulshan is that he still has the legend's contact. Yes! The legend, the mythical figure. Kanti Shah. The only person I am interested in meeting and interviewing. And with Gulshan I see that happening in future. Amazing. A whole documentary on him is a possibility like Malegaon ka Superman. Even better maybe.

Now coming to the picture of this post: This is Shafi Ahmad, my batchmate from Jamia Mass Communications. He is posing like a guy who travels in local trains in Mumbai. Last week, he asked me that we should do a portfolio for him. He is been working as a copywriter for JWT, but of course his passion is acting. And an actor/model (since both are the same in bombay) is nothing without his/her portfolio. So we came up with this idea, that lets shoot without the studio lights and the poses that normally one associates with "actor portfolio". So, our plans were chalked. Different looks at different locations to be documented over a period of month. Like diff hair (beard, short hair, long hair), diff. costumes/props (shirts, coats, kurtas, spectacles, head bands), diff look (casual, formal, dark, breezy). But the main question, camera? A friend pitched with her large-heartedness. "Take my camera bindaas". Then the next question: when will we shoot?. He has office on weekdays and I too have a 10 to 8 office weekdays-weekends till shooting starts in May.

So then, it was decided morning 6 30 to 9. The light is good, the crowd is less and the morning fresh and hopeful. Thus, here I am uploading one of the ‘pictures’ and ‘look’ of his portfolio. More will follow over the next few weeks. I sincerely hope his portfolio at least stands out from the 'run-of-the-mill' poses that come daily into our office.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta


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