Theatre actor Vivaan Parashar talks to Suranjana Biswas about his short film Skin Of Marble and sharing screen space with his mentor Naseeruddin Shah
What is the significance of the title, Skin Of Marble?
It has a dual story and both aspects weave an irony in the title. My character in the film tells his lover, Violet, a foreigner, that her skin is made of marble. There is a scene at the end where she uses the same lines to attract rioters and sacrifice her life to save mine.
Playing a strong character usually takes an emotional toll on an actor. How do you deal with it?
When we train in acting school, we are taught to get involved with the characters that we play. Though it is good to get into the shoes of the character, it cannot be full throttle, where we start believing in it in a way that would affect us. A part of you has to remember that you are an actor. There are certain scenes that you remember your entire life.
How does your training in acting school and theatre help you perform as an actor?
Rather than going to the gym, I believe in preparing myself as an actor through the medium of theatre; it is my gym. That is where I have learnt everything. As an actor, the only instrument that you have is your body. That has to be tuned for a long time to achieve success as an actor. Theatre is the perfect platform; you perform the same play in front of a different audience repeatedly. You need an immense amount of talent to keep it fresh every time you perform. The training really helps.
In this film, you have shared the screen with your mentor Naseeruddin Shah. What was the experience like, from him being a mentor to becoming your co-star?
The experience was phenomenal. I used to just look at him from backstage and wish I would perform with him on some platform. My scenes with him were so natural. There was this scene where he had his back to the camera and I had a close-up facing the camera. He held my face to help me react better. He was there with me throughout, and he gave me a lot of guidance while we were shooting the film. It was really great for me.
Since your father, Pankaj Parashar, has directed the film, was there a comfort level that helped you perform better or were you nervous?
I started my career when I was 13. Working in a film environment and being on a set has always been my thing. Initially, there is a certain amount of pressure since you are working with your father and there are people around you. As a kid, I have always been told about the genius of my father and when I did the film, I realised how quickly he changes the composition and gives freedom to the actors.