On Thursday evening, a special preview of Anu Menon's Waiting, a film starring Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin, was held at a screening theatre in South Mumbai's Worli area.
Post the screening, the actors, along with Menon and first-time producer Priti Rathi Gupta, took to the stage for a Q&A. While most questions revolved around the theme of the film and its judicious use of dark humour, a TV actor had a specific question for Shah.
With complete sincerity and a genuine desire to know, he asked, "How do you manage to strike the right balance between overplaying and underplaying, almost all the time?"
Taking a moment to begin his response, Shah thanked the actor for appreciating his craft and then proceeded to deliver some very sound advice that both aspiring and established actors could learn from.
"First of all, in acting, there is nothing called as underplaying or overplaying. These are very faulty terms to live by. Whenever I work with young actors, I emphasize on the fact that there is no concept like underacting or overacting — there is truth and [there is] falseness. If you go by that logic, then Kathakali is the worst kind of overacting, or Kabuki — but that is not so, right? It is the kind of acting that is required by a certain form. Just like Hindi commercial cinema, which demands you to act in a certain, exaggerated form. As far I am concerned, I find myself very comfortable in subtle films, like Waiting for example, because I am really bad at overacting, I cannot do it well. But let me remind you, there are enough actors around who’re damn good at overacting. However, if I count the number of films I have overacted in, they'll have to start a film festival just to curate those."
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