Arun Dutt has started the Guru Dutt Films Acting Academy in his father’s memory in Pune. Arun, who recently released an 85-minute documentary on DVD titled In Search of Guru Dutt, says, “My father is rated amongst the five best Hindi
actors in the world. He started his film journey at Prabhat
studios in Pune. So I wanted to start something in his name in this city itself.”
The school conducts a three-and-half-month full-time course and a two-month weekend course for students wanting to learn acting in the style of melancholic actor-director Guru Dutt. Arun says, “My father always said 80 per cent of acting is in the eyes. A lot may have changed since then. So we retain parts of what is relevant in today’s times and add some contemporary methods of learning techniques of acting.”
Explaining why his acting school is different from others, Arun says, “While there are modules on voice, diction, speech, aerobics, dance and yoga, the focus is on acting and all the practical sessions are shot from day one, which helps amateurs become camera friendly.” He adds, “We also have a session on how to appear for auditions through different exercises. Currently, we don’t have any guest lectures from industry people as we take them to film studios after the course is over.”
Arun himself teaches the film appreciation module, where Guru Dutt’s films and those of others are discussed and dissected. Arun says he plans to add more courses like photography, direction and scriptwriting soon. He is also currently working with the technical committee of restoration of films at the National Film Archive of India where he is restoring over 250 films including his father’s Pyaasa (1957), Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) and Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam (1962).