Anupam Kher to open acting school in Sydney

By Neena Bhandari

Sydney, Feb 5 (IANS) Bollywood actor and producer Anupam Kher Tuesday announced the setting up of a permanent branch of his acting school Actor Prepares Australia at the Fox Studios here.

Kher told IANS: "We are planning to launch the school in London and Durban around August and the school in Sydney is scheduled to begin functioning by October.

"With the number of multiplexes being built, the entertainment business is here to stay. There will be a lot of demand for good actors in the coming years", said Kher, an alumnus of India's National School of Drama (NSD).

Emphasising that the quality of training is paramount in his acting school, Kher told IANS: "Ours is a boutique school with the aim to produce actors who can perform anywhere in the world. I have researched and evolved a unique module, which goes beyond training and acting to encompass yoga, meditation and martial arts."

Being an actor himself, Kher said: "I understand contemporary international cinema and the kind of acting required today. My school in Sydney, like elsewhere, will play a vital role in producing next generation actors for the entertainment industry across the world."

Talking of his experience of working in international productions, Kher said: "The only thing we (in India) lack despite talent equalling our Hollywood counterparts is perhaps our professionalism, paperwork and discipline, or lack thereof. However, all that is changing."

Kher has entered into other collaborations with Australian film organisations and individuals, giving a major boost to India-Australia film links.

The tie-ups include the rights to host the inaugural Global Debut Acting Awards named Thespis. The awards, Kher's brainchild, will honour debut performances in various categories across the world. After the inaugural awards in Australia, the annual ceremony is slated to travel around the globe.

Kher will also be the first ambassador for the Indian International Film Festival and Awards being organised by Sydney-based Events Temple company this year. Australia's famous TV personality and film administrator Peter Castaldi will be the festival manager.

He said: "I am very pleased with the vibrant and creative support Australia offers to collaborations in media and films. Australia has a very, very open policy for Indian films. I look forward to working with leading Australian filmmakers and institutes on projects which will benefit both countries."

The actor is looking at co-productions and collaborations with Australian film industry utilising locations and crew.

Chairman of the Australia India Film Council Anupam Sharma said: "Anupam Kher is a pioneering talent. We look forward to working with him in fully utilising the potential of Australian film services and talent."

Recently, Kher has been performing his successful one-man unique play "Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai" to an engrossed audience in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. There is a likelihood of his play will get to be seen on the big screen.

Kher told IANS: "I have been approached by Neeraj Panday. Of course, it cannot be a solo performance. It will have to be a saga, with other characters enacting other roles around me - more like 'Forrest Gump'."

He held a four-day actor-training workshop for 10 students in Sydney.

Kher said: "Students everywhere in the world are same, they have a certain amount of passion and want to learn. Some did enquire about how they could act in Bollywood films."

Kher's next film, "Tere Sung", which deals with teenage pregnancy and has been co-produced with Satish Kaushik, will be released in May.

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