Films | Artist Interviews | Oorvazi Irani – Presents The Michael Chekov acting technique

Oorvazi Irani – Presents The Michael Chekov acting technique

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on October 10, 2011 | 2 Comment

Oorvazi Irani: An acting trainer, film educationalist, filmmaker with the belief that being an artist is at the essence of all the roles she plays because central to all three is discovering, creating and reaching out.

She has been  actively involved in research, direction, production with her home production company SBI Impresario Pvt. Ltd. which has produced international critically acclaimed documentaries from the past three decades.

Share with us your latest project ?

It is with great joy that I share with you the recent release of my DVD – ‘The Michael Chekhov Acting Technique DVD’. This involves me as a filmmaker, as I researched, directed, co-produced and presented it. But above all it’s a continuation of my work as an acting trainer to reach a wider audience to teach this technique and create awareness about the process of an actor. Bringing respectability back to acting is my mission.

In my humble efforts, this DVD is one of its kind and in fact pioneers this new Acting Technique to India.

What are the differences between the celebrated Stanislavsky’s technique and the    Chekhov acting technique? In what ways do both help an actor develop his / her skills?

Stanislavsky is a landmark figure and has been responsible for a new phase of realism in modern acting starting in the 20th century and all great actors and teachers owe a lot to him for his important contribution and fundamental concepts. Infact Chekhov was Stanislavsky’s student at the Moscow Art Theatre but as Chekhov says he had a problem with this technique that used the actor’s personal life to act. He personally found difficulty using his personal life to act and soon questioned this painful process and started searching for an alternative. He believed that the actor’s  identity should be distinct from the character’s identity and the emotions of the character should not be confused with the actor’s emotions.

The Stanislavsky ‘system’ emphasized using personal memories and the actor’s own life experiences to act. It also involved in-depth discussions and work on understanding the script and a lot of analysis. On the other hand Chekhov preferred freeing the actor from  his limited personal identity and making him explore his deeper higher self which is an infinite resource from which to create.

Who are the actors (national and international) that you like to reference while teaching and why?

I do not really refer to specific actors as part of my teaching structure, but yes I would like to mention some internationally renowned actors and directors who practice and have benefited from the Michael Chekhov Technique, many have been students of Chekhov himself – Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Depp, Marilyn Monroe, Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman etc.

What is the approach and aims of the DVD and the workshop that you conduct?

The aim and approach of the DVD and workshop is to create an awareness of the process of an actor which I feel is very challenging and hopefully to be able to offer a new tool to aspiring and experienced actors. The process of acting I feel has the potential to empower or destroy you as an individual and unless the approach and means are right the profession is high risk.

The DVD is a step by step Guide to understanding the Basic Tools and Fundamental Concepts of the technique with an interactive approach. Then the workshop is an experience of it with my personal guidance and support.

With this DVD now in the market and having the endorsement of the President of the Michael Chekhov Association New York, I also want to reach out as a personal trainer for individual actors, workshops for film directors and actors for a specific film, besides of course special workshops for educational and media institutions.

What do you think of the awareness of the acting skill and discipline in visual arts    today? Do we have a healthy culture of performance-oriented work happening?

I feel specially in the mainstream cinema acting is no more an art form but just a profession. I would like to speak primarily about the Director. When it comes to film, directors rarely are concerned about the process of an actor and their training does not concern the actor –director relationship. But the truth is that, the actor is the soul of the film. He is the only human element in the frame and that needs to be given due respect. I feel if the director shares a technique with the actor and understands the challenges and possibilities of the creative process of an actor we can create more exciting films and have memorable characters that live beyond the release of the film.

And with the Chekhov technique I am trying to involve and create an awareness with directors too. But it’s a challenging task to enter the industry and speak a new language and get heard. Most of the actors in the Indian mainstream cinema industry unfortunately do not really follow any specific acting technique at all and many times the preparation for a role is not as committed and rigorous as international actors.

What’s next on the professional front?

My journey as a film educationalist and acting trainer continues on its path – hopefully reaching deeper levels of awareness and reaching out to more people. And with this as a constant, between my classes I start work on my next film project – the documentary on the Parsi community.  But all the roles I play give and take from each other and that’s what I love.

Details about the DVD
The Michael Chekhov Acting Technique DVD – Presented by Oorvazi Irani
MRP: Rs 499 Available at: Granth Book store Juhu ,Rhythm House,
Project Website :

2 Responses
very well explained the superobjective of the checkhov technique.......congratulations ma'am....hope dis awareness abt the technique through dvd bring a revolution in the acting world.. sahil sethi October 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm
Lovely to read your comment Sahil. I hope young, talented, aspiring actors like yourself are inspired by this technique to treat acting as an artform and experience the joy of art.  oorvazi irani October 30, 2011 at 12:57 am
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