‘The Guru’ remains one of my favourite films: Michael York

October 14th, 2008 - 4:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Antalya (Turkey), Oct 14 (IANS) Legendary English actor Michael York, who received a lifetime achievement award here, says Indian actor Utpal Dutt starrer “The Guru” was a landmark film in his career.”‘The Guru’ remains one of my favourite films. I worked with some great Indian actors in the film. I had developed great admiration for Utpal Dutt and cinematographer Subrata Mitra. I would love to visit India again,” said York.

York, 66, received a lifetime achievement award at the inauguration of 4th International Eurasian Film Festival Oct 11.

Released in 1969, “The Guru” was directed by James Ivory and also starred Rita Tushingham, Madhur Jaffrey, Barry Foster, Aparna Sen, Zohra Sehgal, Dina Pathak and Saeed Jaffrey.

“I think director James Ivory had cast me because he felt I suited the role of an Englishman who goes to India to learn the sitar,” added York who got the role just two years after he started acting on screen.

Commenting upon acting, he said: “Acting is a strange profession and I think I didn’t have a linear growth. You cannot teach acting - you either have it in you to act or you do not. It is a blend of intuition and what one can add to it,” he added.

The actor said he had himself learnt a lot by working with people like Sir John Gielgud and Sir Laurence Olivier. In fact, he had also worked on the stage with the latter.

“In this profession one just has to believe in himself and not be put off by rejections. For me acting is like a relay race and a failed film taught more than a successful one,” said York.

He did not believe in any method acting and said every actor had to evolve his own method.

Asked about current movies that depended on special effects for survival, he said: “The greatest special effect was the look of comfort while enacting a scene.”

York, who is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that gives away the Oscars, said it was unfortunate that art house films were being shut out by Hollywood as a result of which very few foreign language films come to America.

Born in England in 1942, York started his acting career with the National Youth Theatre in London’s East End.

Other early acting experience came through the Oxford University Dramatic Society (he graduated from Oxford in 1964), the Dundee Repertory, and Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company - where he worked with Franco Zeffirelli, who gave him his film debut as Lucentio in “The Taming of the Shrew” (1967) and his breakthrough role as Tybalt in “Romeo and Juliet” (1968).

Other notable early movie roles include “Cabaret” (1972) and “Murder on the Orient Express”. He also featured in the hit “The Omega Code” (1999) with Catherine Oxenberg and Casper Van Dien. Also, he played pivotal roles in all “Austin Powers” films.

He also worked on small screen and was acclaimed for portrayal of Jolyon in “The Forsyte Saga”(1967). York starred in over 50 TV movies and about 100 feature films, apart from doing theatre.

In 1993 his autobiography was issued as “Accidentally on Purpose” in the US and “Travelling Player” in Britain.

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