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Lessons from the master

Internationally-acclaimed director Shekhar Kapur has just wrapped up the pre-production work for his forthcoming series Will, whose pilot episode he will begin shooting in March, in London.

Actor Akshara Gowda, who’s studying cinema at the New York Film Academy, witnessed first-hand the pre-production work that went into making Will, which is about a young William Shakespeare, as written by Craig Pearce.

Akshara Gowda

“Just after my course in 2014, I had interned with Shekhar Kapur during the making of Damien. But during that time, I was just hanging around and observing. It taught me a lot, and inspired me to pursue my passion for filmmaking,” says Akshara, who has done small but significant roles in films such as Rangrezz (Hindi), and Arrambam and Irumbu Kuthirai.

The actress, who’s doing cameos in the Jiiva-starrer Pokkiri Raja and in the C.V. Kumar-directed Mayavan, is well-acquainted with the Kapur family, and had no hesitation in returning to be part of Will’s pre-production work.

“I was involved as a team member in the process of casting, scripting and storyboarding for Will. Shekhar does most of this work in the traditional way; he draws every scene for the storyboard. He has retained most of his team that worked with him on Elizabeth,” says Akshara.

Akshara was also part of story discussions.

“He would gather all of us, and explain a scene to us. We could then offer suggestions for how the scene should follow. Each of us would provide our inputs, based on our understanding of the scene. After patiently listening to each of us, Shekhar would come up with his own conclusions, and often, they were totally different from ours. “I don’t want anything predictable,” he would say. He respects everyone on the sets, even the smallest contributor. This ensures that he gets the best out of each member of his team.”

The experience has also helped Akshara realise the importance of money and time. “Now, whenever it is my turn to act, I try to give my best in order to avoid a retake. If a scene has to be re-shot, it should only be because the director or cinematographer wants it, not because of an actor’s deficiency.”

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