Getting Into the Skin of My Character

I had started acting after over six years. This was my first role after a long gap and it did take me a day or two to adjust. The thing that changed it for me was my get up. I was restless throughout the day but as I walked into my dress tent outside the cricket ground, I started to get a feel for my character and role. As soon as the makeup man started putting my beard and tying my turban, I started to get a fresh wave of energy. Then slowly, I wore my blue Shalwar Kameez and then the navy blue coat with a skull cap in my pocket. Yes, this was feeling right. I was getting back to my rhythm as an actor. But the final touches of the face makeup still had to be done till I could safely walk on the set to greet the director and get instructions from the film assistant directors. I was given a mike and made to stand in the middle of the pitch. I started rehearsing my lines and got into my Afghan tone and character. I adapted to give the Afghan lines and added a few words for effect.

During breaks, I would wander away from the crowd to the edge of the field to try and get the feel of the role. Then I video filmed myself delivering a few lines with an Afghan accent and mannerisms. “Wallah subhuhan Allah Afghani khan kaye ga tom wallah…” I was loud and must have scared the others. Soon, a sizeable crowd gathered as I revered my role and used my video to play it as if to correct any mistakes that I was making. The kids loved it and I showed them the film. Most of the other actors thought that I was a real fine actor as I could just get lost in my world and would often be seen mumbling and rehearsing all alone away in the far corners of my tent. They really thought I was some great method actor and the whole unit looked up to me.

I then started trying out the wooden toy guns that the soldiers and commanders were using. I posing with them as if I was the Taliban general getting ready for battle. Over the next four days, I would slip even deeper into my role. The getup and costume did the trick and enhanced my acting experience.

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