CHENNAI: Yog Japee, of Theatre Y and 'Billa' fame
“There is the stage and the camera, the difference is as obvious as that. Every medium comes with its challenges. According to me, in both mediums an actor require the same amount of rigour and preparation. Theatre is more spontaneous and more of live energy. I appreciate both these media with their respective challenges. The medium changes, not your passion. Working across medium makes your learning grow more holistic. I hope I can maintain the balance, though if I ever had to make a choice between the two and I can’t keep both, I would pick theatre.”
Karthik Kumar, of Evam and 'Poi Solla Porom' fame
“Theatre in its performance has an energy transfer with its audience, while films require performing to your director’s specifications and for the camera. They are both different in their approach towards acting. Theatre for me is an energy exchange, whereas in film,its energy transfer. Theatre and cinema have to co-exist for an actor in order for him to remain in top shape mentally and physically. It’s the combination that completes an actor and exposes one to method and versatility. All great actors world over have made this work together - right from Al Pacino to Dustin Hoffman. I do both, because together they complete me. I couldn’t do one without the other, I would get bored or go crazy! Too much of one thing can kill your instincts.”
Amit Singh, of Asap Productions and 'Sakrakkatti' fame
“There is a basic difference in the treatment you give to a role. In a play you have more time with the script, in a film for all you know you might receive the script only when you are on the sets, giving you hardly any time to prepare or act. As an actor, theatre requires one to be louder with words and actions; something a film would demand only in a long shot as opposed to much understated actions in close ups. If I had to choose between the two I would pick theatre, it is an actor’s medium, it give you more satisfaction and whatever the reaction is, good or bad, you receive it instantly. Films go through a larger process of editing and effects, for all you know, by the time it is past those stages you aren’t even a part of the final version.”
Shankar Sundaram, of Madras Players and 'Yuva' fame
“I got into theatre and films quite late in comparison to most people in the business. I started with theatre, so my loyalties remain there. Both media require basic changes in treatment. In a film you get your dialogues on the sets, if it clicks it does, there is no time for preparation. In theatre you have to be expansive, there are no close ups and no second chances to repair any part of your performance. If you try and be expansive in a film it is deemed overacting. The visibility here is great, but I would pick theatre any day.
Balakrishnan of Theatre Nisha and 13 B fame
“As far as basic acting goes, it remains the same for both medium. In cinema, the frame changes with every shot but in theatre it remains a single frame. The style of acting changes with the kind of shot. Long shots are very different from extreme close-ups and close shots require different techniques to be used. Theatre happens in the present. In cinema there is lack of continuity, you might not shoot in sequence and at times you might not know the whole story altogether. In film you act for a single eye, in theatre you do it for 500 pairs of eyes. Cinema though lucrative is quite a struggle. It is only a two or three-day affair for me. My basic vocation is theatre. As for my choice I have already chosen theatre.