Acting cannot be learnt in classrooms but from real life: Sunny Deol

National Award-winning actor Sunny Deol says the art of acting cannot be learnt in classrooms and that it comes from observations in real life.

Known for his performance in iconic films like Ghayal (1990), Damini (1993), Border (1997), Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001) and The Hero: Love Story of A Spy (2003), Deol told IANS, a news agency, “You cannot learn acting… The core of it, cannot be learnt in a classroom. You learn acting from observation, from exploration as you progress in life.”

“Of course when it comes to staging a performance, there are certain technicalities that can be taught, but one has to articulate and use their voice and body in a manner to perform because stage performance is live. When it comes to cinema, a camera can capture the finest movement of your eyes through close-ups. So as a film actor, one has to internalise the character to deliver it on-screen,” added Deol, who went to a film school in London in his younger days and attended classes in theatre and performing arts.

Asked if being the son of yesteryears superstar Dharmendra, acting was a natural choice for him, Deol said, “As a child, I had problems in reading and writing. but my IQ and reflex was very good. Therefore, though in the class I was not a great student, I used to score pass marks. I was rather very good at sports and other co-curricular activities.”

“After a certain age, of course, we all had to decide on our career and that is when I realised that acting and performance is my true calling. More than attending an acting class, I went abroad for my self-discovery which was not possible otherwise in India.”

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“It is only natural for people to find a shadow of my father in me… But as an individual, to find my own self I had to go away from all these,” he added.

Having started his career in 1983 with Betaab, Deol won National Awards for Ghayal and Damini. Known primarily for his action-oriented performances, he also bagged several other awards for films.

His younger brother Bobby Deol and cousin Abhay Deol too are actors.

Asked that being the elder in the family, how did he deal with the pressure as a youngster initially, Sunny Deol said, “Of course I was aware of the pressure being the son of a superstar like my dad, but I never let the pressure pounce on me to find my signature as an actor.

“One cannot grow under pressure, so I was never a youngster who was bothered about how the world is going to perceive me. My theory is, ‘I want to present myself the way I am, then let the world decide how they what to take it.'”

So, is he now teaching the same to his elder son Karan, who is gearing up to make his film debut with Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas?

“Look, I know that he is going to face the same pressure… The expectation is high from him and that is again, very natural. But the best way to grow in life is keeping the pressure and others’ expectation aside and focus on skill,” said the 62-year-old actor.

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