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Thursday, July 25, 2024

40 years in cinema: Anupam Kher, the unstoppable

<p>After 40 years in Bollywood, there have been 540 films and counting. That is the unstoppable and unstoppable Anupam Kher, the two-time National Award winner and recipient of the Padma Bhushan, who detests labels like “veteran,” “living legend,” and “thespian.” He claims, “These insults are subliminal messages telling people it’s time to retire.”</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-494741″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/theindiaprint.com-40-years-in-cinema-anupam-kher-the-unstoppable-2024-3largeimg-1576329707-587×750.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com 40 years in cinema anupam kher the unstoppable 2024 3largeimg 1576329707″ width=”996″ height=”1273″ title=”40 years in cinema: Anupam Kher, the unstoppable 3″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/theindiaprint.com-40-years-in-cinema-anupam-kher-the-unstoppable-2024-3largeimg-1576329707-587×750.jpg 587w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/theindiaprint.com-40-years-in-cinema-anupam-kher-the-unstoppable-2024-3largeimg-1576329707.jpg 647w” sizes=”(max-width: 996px) 100vw, 996px” /></p>
<p>The talented actor, who is now playing a new role in “Kaagaz 2,” would like for people to get to know him as a novice. He operates in the same manner. He so doesn’t hesitate to ask for job even now. Not that he is diminishing his outstanding accomplishments. In addition to receiving accolades from across the world, including a nomination for a BAFTA (for supporting performance) for his work on the British comedy “The Boy With the Topknot,” he has written best-selling books and held esteemed posts like head of the National School of Drama and the Film Training Institute of India.</p>
<p>The actor, who gained notoriety with Mahesh Bhatt’s “Saaransh,” his first film, is the only one who doesn’t take himself seriously or embrace his identity as Anupam Kher.</p>
<p>But it was his first picture that first made us aware of his extraordinary skill. Did he ever think that “Saaransh” had set a high standard? “Saaransh was the best thing that happened to me,” he acknowledges. Few people would have believed that a 27-year-old could pass for a 65-year-old guy in this role. Even though the starring part was a litmus test, he never considered improving himself. “I am not competing with myself,” he clarifies. I’m not here to make any documentation. Life is made up of 80% boredom and 20% excitement. All you have to do is go to work.</p>
<p>He concludes that every one of his films cannot be outstanding. “You hardly make up a little portion of a movie. A producer, director, and a host of other factors are involved. You only put out your utmost effort while working. Every film cannot be extraordinary, just as no painter can create a masterpiece every time or a writer can publish a classic every time. I am aware that just around 50 percent of the films in my filmography count.</p>
<p>Among his greatest are the motion pictures “Khosla Ka Ghosla,” “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge,” “A Wednesday,” “Bend It Like Beckham,” which was nominated for a Golden Globe, and “Silver Linings Playbook,” which won an Academy Award. He describes his intense part in “The Kashmir Files” as “soulful,” the most personal to him, and a reflection of a Kashmiri Pandit’s real life.</p>
<p>“Well, there are critics and then there are doers,” he chuckles, referring to the group of reviewers who often see movies through a political prism. I fall within the latter group. Naturally, his performance has seldom drawn criticism from reviewers. Laughing, he says, “Well, they can’t be.” However, this assurance is not a result of conceit. It is not just his brilliance that has allowed him to survive in the field, but also his unwavering perseverance. “Nobody succeeds without making mistakes,” asserts Anupam. His book, “Lessons Life Taught Me, Unknowingly,” and the play, “Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai,” which has been performed for the last eighteen years, both chronicle his intriguing and difficult path.</p>
<p>He learned early in life that failure may serve as a springboard for achievement when he failed Class IX and his father informed him, “Failure is an event, not a person.” Similar feelings were shown in the iconic role he portrayed as Shah Rukh Khan’s indulgent father in the film “DDLJ.” However, he is equally appreciative of the bad movies since they all imparted valuable knowledge to him. In fact, it’s hard to make it in the fiercely competitive film business, where millions come and go and very few really succeed. “Why single out the film industry? No field of life is easy,” he continues.</p>
<p>Although he received a strong foundation from his alma maters, the Department of Indian Theatre in Chandigarh and the National School of Drama in New Delhi, three years of street work in Mumbai further solidified the actor in Anupam. “I recognized the frailty, lack of dignity, and many other human vices of people.” He simply says, “There is no substitute to hard work and honesty,” to both prospective performers and his son Sikander, whom he considers to be a very excellent actor.</p>
<p>He believes that Bollywood has generally evolved for the better and is now run like a business, much as in the West, where he has often had employment opportunities. An actor’s haircut was more significant than everything else, he chuckles and recounts from before. And there I was, a young person hoping to make a career in acting, rather than the picture-perfect baldhead you see now.</p>
<p>Despite all obstacles, he succeeded in becoming one—a very good one, unique, flawless every time, and capable of handling any subtlety, serious or humorous. You may see him in “Metro in Dino” and as the lead in “Vijay 69.” He is still a driven performer. Additionally, it is probable that he will use the directing baton he acquired for his less than stellar “Om Jai Jagadish” once again. His adventure is the stuff of dreams—restless yet pleased. Who would have thought that a young man from a little Shimla town would go on to become a well-known actor?</p>
<p>After forty years, he sees this moment as just a stopping place. Imagine abhi baaki hai, as actor Anupam Kher gets ready for new chapter in his life.</p>

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