While several artistes are utilising the stay-at-home period to pick up a new skill, Nawazuddin Siddiqui has turned teacher to aspiring actors at Celebrity School, a talent-driven learning platform. The online programme comprises five courses that are helmed by the masters of their fields — acting by Siddiqui, independent filmmaking by Madhur Bhandarkar, singing by Shaan, communication skills by Sabira Merchant and entrepreneurship by businessman Siddharth Prabhakar.
Though the programme was originally launched last September, the lockdown has now enabled the artistes to devote more time and engage with the students directly. Where the sessions were earlier pre-recorded by the celebrities so that their schedules do not hinder the completion of the curriculum, the stars have organised several live virtual sessions with the mentees in the past four months.
Shaan, Madhur Bhandarkar
In his course that is broken down into 10 sections, Bhandarkar sheds light on different aspects of filmmaking — from developing a log line into a full-blown script to handling a 100-plus crew. “For any aspiring artiste, access to a good mentor can fuel his passion and help [hone] his talent. In these unprecedented times, the online academy has ensured that the learning continues for young talent.”
Prabhakar, founder and one of the five mentors on board, narrates how the platform came into being. “The dreams of many kids die a slow death owing to lack of affordability and accessibility to courses that will help them build a career in the show business. Last year, I decided to develop a platform with the help of some leading celebrities who can directly share their knowledge with the students.” The entrepreneur adds that he hopes to rope in more stars to teach additional subjects in the coming months.