“It is important to be street smart in college,” says Actress Neelam Gandhi.
I always liked acting and being in front of the camera. I used to be a child artiste. Therefore, when I grew up I decided to pursue acting as my career. I had the know-how and contacts and soon got in touch with those in the field. My first role was for Balika Vadhu where I did a cameo role. Thus began my journey into tellydom and have currently wrapped up shooting for a Gujarati film.
I did my BMM in Advertising from Usha Pravin Gandhi College of Management at Vile Parle. It is part of the Mithibai College campus. The college has a very corporate kind of atmosphere. Our class rooms were very spacious, air conditioned, had good furniture and was very well ventilated. The faculty too was excellent teaching us and sharing their experience with us. The professors were very knowledgeable and ever ready to help us. They were very supportive while doing the various projects. I will definitely recommend this college to all aspiring BMM students.
Since I was acting while studying and because of my busy schedule I could not have many friends; but I did have about three good friends. I could not participate in the various events even though I wanted to. I could not even attend the various college functions and that is my only regret.
We used to spend a lot of time in the college canteen which is huge and in my opinion is one of the best. It serves a variety of dishes including Chinese and South Indian. We used to go for a lot of movies too. We visited restaurants like Silver Beach at Versova and Prithvi Café at the Prithvi Theatre at Juhu and several grilled sandwich, vada pav and dosa joints outside our college. I was always a first bencher and took great interest in my studies. However, since I was extremely busy with college and acting I used to do the scripting and editing work of my projects and give the technical work to my friend who was very tech savvy.
The BMM course has helped me a lot in my acting career because it exposed me to a lot of advertising, television and commercial films. The course helped me to understand cinema, television, videos, photography and radio. I also had a lot of exposure to foreign films. I watched a wide variety of programmes which otherwise I would not have watched.
I believe education is very important. You need not be a post graduate but some basic college education is important. However, besides a good college exposure and education I think it is equally important to be street smart. Besides being intelligent and having college degrees you have to be smart enough to deal with various people. This is what helps you in real life situations and in your career. You have to understand people, know how to handle them and make good decisions. College education does not teach you this. You have to pick it up on your own.
Besides a basic college education I think it is important to specialize in the respective field you want to make a career in. These courses teach you the rudiments of the trade and polish you like a diamond. I had scored good marks in school and college. I am glad my parents did not pressurize me to go in for medicals or engineering. They realized my talent and passion for acting and encouraged me to take up a career in acting.
I have done a short course in acting from the Kishore Namit Kapoor Acting Institute at Andheri West. It has nurtured several big Bollywood stars like John Abraham, Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Sonu Sood, Prateik Babbar, Imran Khan, Varun Dhawan and many others. It is one of the finest acting institutes and prepares you well for a career in television and cinema. The syllabus includes dialogue delivery, camera angles, how to face the camera, how to emote in various situations like a how to act when you are falling in love, or crying, how to act in plays, theatre, films, speech therapy, make up, personality development and so on. It is an exhaustive course and teaches you all that you need to know to make a career in acting. Kishore Sir is one of the best teaches we have today and gives equal importance to all his students irrespective of their background and constantly motivates and draws out the best in us. I am very grateful to all that he has taught me which is extremely valuable to my career. The Kishore Namit Kapoor Acting Institute helped me hone my skills and polish up my act.
As told to Monarose Sheila Pereira