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    Everybody wants to be a star. Jack Prabhu knows this all too well, with his free acting classes at Elliot’s Beach

    MORNINGS at the bustling Elliot’s Beach see joggers, walkers, yoga enthusiasts and marathon runners going about their routines. But have you ever noticed a group of 40 gesticulating members outside  the restaurant, Planet Yumm? Well, they are aspiring actors who assemble every Sunday morning for classes from Jack Prabhu, who started the Raging Bull Actors Studio in 2007. “I’m a great fan of the movie Raging Bull, directed by Martin Scorsese. Robert de Niro’s performance as Jake LaMotta is the best ever and the reason why I selected the name,” smiles Prabhu, an has acted in lesser known Tamil film, Ego. While Raging Bull was initially just a club for acting enthusiasts, he has now given it legitimacy by opening a studio in Royapettah.

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    Some of the members of the studio have gone on to act in films—Pranav Dev in O Kadhal Kanmani, Karthik Nagarajan in Ahaa Kalyanam, Sanjay Saravanan in Meaghamann and Boologam, and Vicky in Vadacurry. “Each participant has to attend classes regularly for a month to be chosen for more in-depth classes that go on for three months,” says Prabhu, who also arranges for auditions once the course is over. These classes are aimed at those who are passionate about acting, but don’t have the means or the contacts to take the leap. “I always promote my actors either in films or television serials. We teach only acting, there is no script writing or camera experience,” he says.

    Theatre vs films
    “When I started my journey in acting, I took theatre lessons under Kaladhar from the film union (Nadigar Sangam). I had by then done some small roles and short films. But I soon realised theatre lessons weren’t enough to be an actor,” shares Prabhu, explaining how he started researching and stumbled upon method acting. “(Yesteryear actress) Stella Adler introduced method acting to Niro and Marlon Brando, and that is what we follow at Raging Bull. I conduct  games and other exercises that will help my students understand the process better. We also have sessions in story telling, voice control, besides memory games,” he explains. Having said that, he admits that theatre is essential as it forms the base for actors. “Movies came from theatre. Like how Bharatnatyam is the base for any dance, theatre helps you understand voice, body movement and psychological control,” says Prabhu. Fortunately, he insists that you don’t have to be a natural. “Acting is not inborn. It can be developed. It is a mixture of creativity, skill and technology,” he says.
    The Sunday classes are free. Regular classes for three months at Rs 25,000. Details: 43358422

    Mrinalini Sundar

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