Actor Anupam Kher has seen a magnificent career in the filmy arena. After establishing a strong foothold in Bollywood, he moved towards the West and also made a mark in the Hollywood film industry. These days the actor has been making it to the news for his strong opinions on everything - from politics to movies. In his recent interview to India TV’s Editor-In-Chief Rajat Sharma in the popular show ‘Aap Ki Adalat’, Anupam Kher spoke about his struggle, his views on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his idea of heroes of India and his stubborn never-give-up attitude. Here are the highlights of Kher’s conversation with Mr.Rajat Sharma.
Anupam, who always craved to act in films, narrated how he stole Rs 100 from his mother’s temple to go to Chandigarh to audition for Department Of Indian Theatres, Punjab University. When the theft was discovered, he was slapped by his mother, but it was his father was the one who supported him and informed him of his selection as well as the Rs 200 stipend which he would get.
Anupam might be an influencer today but there was a time when he stammered. He revealed that when he was in the IXth standard, a sharp stone cut his tounge when he fell off a hill. Post the accident, he couldn’t pronounce ‘ka’ and used to say it as ‘ta’. Anupam added, “I had a crush on a girl named Kavita Kapoor. One day, she said that she will accept my feelings only when I say her full name. After repeated attempts of failing at it, I felt really disappointed. That is when I decided that I will not let this setback become a part of my life.” Anupam credited his Principal for helping him get over the issue stammering problem. He advised Anupam to keep marbles in his mouth while speaking and this is how Anupam got over his problem.
Anupam Kher is a living example of having a never-say-die attitude. During the interview, he also spoke about the tough phase when he suffered facial paralysis at his career high and had already done over 150 films, “Going back home I realised that if I give in now, I will always remain in fear. That is when I decided that I will resume shooting for Rajshri’s ‘Hum Aapke Hai Koun’, no matter what.” When Anupam, reached the sets he told the entire team that he is suffering from this problem but he wishes to continue shooting. The scene which they were about to shoot was the popular ‘pass the pillow’ one. “Seeing my determination the scene where I mimicked Dharamendra’s iconic water tank scene was added where my distorted face served as a benefit. In case you notice, no close ups of mine have been taken during the entire scene.”
When he acted in Saranash, Anupam was only 28 years old. After living in a small room with five other men for almost six months, he was assured that director Mahesh Bhatt will rope him in for the lead. However, when Bhatt told him that the production house is planning to cast Sanjeev Kumar, he lost his cool and packed his bags to leave Mumbai. Before boarding the train, he visited Mahesh Bhatt and bawled in front of him saying, “You are a fraud. How can you make a movie on truth when you lied to me for six months?” Anupam revealed that it was this anger of his which landed him got him his break - Saransh.
It was not only Bollywood, where Anupam fought for his rights, but he took the same attitude with him to the West. During his Skype audition to director David O. Russell for a doctor’s role in the award-winning film Silver Linings Playbook, Anupam was accused of not being professional, as the sound was not working. On this, he showed David a chit which read, “Google Search Me”.
During his first day of shooting with Hollywood legend Robert De Niro, he gifted him an idol of Lord Ganesha with teary eyes. Anupam said, “During filming, De Niro threw me out of the scene and the director agreed that this is how they will go about with it. This infuriated me and I told David that you have heard only one actor’s perspective. My point of view is that De Niro’s character should be blamed for spoiling his son.” He went on, “Robert De Niro then called me to his vanity van that night to apologise and said, ‘I was being selfish’.”
In the interview, Anupam Kher spoke highly of megastar Amitabh Bachchan and that Big B is his idol. While speaking about his first encounter with Big B, Anupam said that his success had gotten through his head. He narrated that when he was shooting for the film Aakhiri Raasta in Madras and the AC stopped working, he created quite a ruckus. He said, “After that I went to Amitabh and saw him wearing beard and wrapped in a shawl. I was in complete awe of him and he said that he liked my movie Saraansh. I couldn’t believe that I was sitting with the person on whose dialogues the entire theatre claps.” Anupam carried on, “To break the ice I told him, ‘Sir, AC isn’t working.’ He looked at me with a dead-pan expression and I asked ‘Arent you feeling hot clad in the entire costume?’ To this Mr. Bachchan smiled and responded, ‘Anupam I feel the heat only when I think about it.’ I stayed perplexed as he imparted an important life lesson to me.”
Talking about his encounter with Supreme Court’s retired judge Ashok Ganguly at a recent debate, Anupam Kher said that he lashed out at the former because it hurt the Indian in him. He said, “When Ganguly said that the hanging of Afzal Guru was wrong, I disagreed with him. Seeing the current scenario of the country, what message are you giving to the nation Are you saying that the hanging of terrorist after the judicial process was followed properly is wrong This made me lose my diplomacy.”
When questioned why he is outrageous against a few students who allegedly shouted anti-national slogans in JNU, Anupam said that the students were not raising words against the present government but the nation, which is unacceptable. Reading out the judge’s statement before granting bail to JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, Anupam hinted that giving speeches is easy, but fighting at border is difficult. Taking a dig at media houses, he said, “How many of these journalists visited Lance Naik Hanumanthappa’s house None.”
When Anupam was questioned about a quality of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which he would like to see in Rahul Gandhi he said, “As a person I have nothing against Rahul Ji. I think personally he is a reluctant politician and politics has been forced on him. I would like to see him establish a personality for himself. I personally feel that there are many prompting him which he should break out of.
Kher who receives a lot of flak for lauding PM Modi said that I don’t have any problems being called his stooge. A smiling Anupam said, “I am better off being Modi’s chamcha than a baalti of someone else. After a really long time we have a Prime Minister who has instigated patriotism in me and I admire him.”
During his interview, Anupam said that he is a Kashmiri Pandit. When questioned what has he done to improve the condition of the Kashmiri Pandit’s, he replied, “I have made a video. It is very important for people to know what happened in Kashmir. If I would have been in the government or at an influencing position I would have done a lot. Conversations are very important. Is the death of 219 people not a tragedy?”