Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Roger Manvell’s Film: on screen acting

Have made my debut on The Middle Stage with this post - which went on for much longer than I’d intended. (Maybe that's why it took so long to publish?)


  1. Jabberwock: Re the Middle Stage post.

    I think the point about Laughton or the other stars is more than just mannerisms - it's the way they brought an entire personality to the roles they played. Laughton was Laughton no matter what the part, Davis was Davis, Bacchan was (is?) Bacchan. It wasn't just mannerisms - it was attitude, an aura that the star carried with him / her in every role that he / she played. I think this transformed their acting from mere style to something more abstract - you could ask yourself the question: what would Bogart do in a situation like this (have you seen Woody Allen's 'Play it again, Sam'?), how would Poitier handle this? And the answer would mean something. One can almost imagine the scriptwriter sitting down to write the part with a particular star in mind.

    My trouble with SRK is that his thespian twitches are just that - mannerisms - which he applies blindly to every role he plays (of course, I've seen maybe 1 and five half of his films, so I'm hardly an expert).

    Incidentally, speaking of Mifune, have you seen him in Nora Inu (Stray Dog)? It's fascinating to watch him play someone young and awkward and unsure - much closer to the early Gregory Peck than to the Mifune we know from the Yojimbo films.

  2. Thanks Falstaff (for the first comment here that was related to the post!)

    Early Mifune...yes, what a contrast from the screen image we all know! There was that film (have forgotten the title, it wasn't among Kurosawa's better films) where he played a young doctor. When I saw it I spent the first five minutes shaking my head in disbelief.

  3. Hi Jai,

    Lately, I have been a frequent visitor to your blog. I commend you for
    assimilating the thoughts very nicely in your postings.

    I totally agree that when it comes to Indian film criticisms, the
    versatility or the "differentness" of the role is many times mistakenly
    taken for good acting.

    As a case, SRK within the limited "versatility" of the roles is pretty
    good. Somewhere, I feel the reason people tend to believe he plays
    himself is that may be he has a greater screen presence than anybody
    else that makes his mannerisms more obvious than the rest.

    Most of the actors do tend to bring their own styles into their acting
    which may not be all that visible till you really start noticing them
    on-screen more than the others who share the same frame.

    Anyways, you write elegantly, good reading.