Promising Amateurs

Promising Amateurs

"Acting deals with very delicate emotions. It is not putting up a mask. Each time an actor acts he does not hide; he exposes himself", penetrating words from celebrated American Comedian Rodney Dangerfield. On Sunday, 50 students, aged between 5 and 15 years, "exposed" their delicate emotions in a similar fashion in front of an enthralled audience at Nakhwa Hall in Thane East.

The students were participating in the annual acting competition organised by Mata Anasuya Baal Kala Manch, a group that organises acting camps. This is the fourth consecutive year of the camp and so far 425 students have graduated from this camp, which is organised simultaneously in Thane, Dadar, Vashi, Dombivli, Kalyan, Borivali. Famed Marathi stage, film and TV actress Anuradha Deshpande judged the event.

The key aspect of this competition was that every single participant was on stage for the very first time, with no prior experience in acting. Yet, once on stage, these amateurs displayed fine promise.

Each contestant had to perform a solo act. On several occasions, the audience spontaneously by cheering and clapping the performances. After articulately uttering his monologues, one little contender urged the audience, "If you agree with what I just said, please put your hands together". The audience was in splits, as the kid got an enthusiastic response to his appeal.

Then there was a boy who acted on a script he himself wrote. His script was interesting: How would an old lady, who has found a one-rupee coin, react? He then enacted her reactions in various styles ranging from the conventional bhajan-kirtan to the modern day filmi rap.

However, the performers who walked away with the first prize were Vipula Keer and Shripad Raut (It was a tie). Both these kids had chosen historic events as their theme. While Vipula became Jhansi Ki Ranni, Shripad was both, Aurangzeb and Sambhaji. Vipula was so immersed in her character that when role demanded that she weep, she did not resort to glycerine for tears – she had real ones in her eyes.

Rohan Joshi bagged second prize for his natural performance and the third prize was given to Kasturi Apte who was the youngest participator, aged just four years. What’s remarkable is that Kasturi had not attended the acting camp. Speaking about Kasturi, the chief organiser of the camp and the competition, Pravinkumar Bharde said, "Kasturi would accompany her elder sister for the acting camps and would keenly follow what was transpiring at these camp. When she learned about the competition, she immediately wanted to participate. Her enthusiasm was overwhelming and so I began preparing her for d-day. Today, when she received the second prize, it has surprised her parents and me. We are all proud of her."

Omkar Pole was awarded a consolation prize for his enacting of the extremely popular Marathi play, "NattaSamrat". Omkar’s voice modulation and facial expressions won him the prize, despite the fact that he was not properly attired. Commending his performance, Deshpande said, "The play is quite difficult to understand and the language used is also very complex. Yet, Omkar was able to pull it off quite well."

At the end, every contestant was given a certificate of participation. A farewell party is scheduled December 25 at Shiva Samartha Vidyalaya, Thane, wherein the winners will be felicitated. The focal attraction of this day is yet another exciting acting contest – only this time, the parents of the participants would compete with one another!

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