Actors are afraid of playing older characters – Anupam Kher
A versatile actor, Anupam Kher is one of those few stars who has never shied away from playing older characters. The exceptional artist talks about the thought behind choosing his films and never taking any role for granted.
You have worked with Neeraj Pandey a couple of times. How has the relationship been? Has Neeraj’s style of working changed from A Wednesday to Baby?
I am very happy to be associated with Neeraj who loves to work with the same people again. There have been times when I worked only for Karan Johar, Yash Chopra or Subhash Ghai because I had a comfort level with them. Same is the case with Neeraj. He makes the kind of cinema which is relevant in today’s times. It is a very proud moment to be a part of superior cinema. His working style is the same. His script is his film; if you have read the script, you know the film. He is a hard task master and does not believe in changing on the sets.
What matters the most while you are choosing a film?
I enjoy doing good roles and the company of people I am working with. I don’t take myself seriously as a person or an actor. You just have to do your job well. Sometimes I have done Yashji’s films only to be on his sets. I did a guest appearance in Shahrukh’s film because I like him. I did Dabangg because I felt like doing it. I have started reading the script of Jazbaa and it is not some extraordinary role but I haven’t worked with Sanjay Gupta since a long time so I thought let me do the film. Also Ash is working in it so why not?
Your role in Daawat-E-Ishq was brilliant. What according to you was the reason for the film’s failure?
I have no idea why Daawat-E-Ishq didn’t work. It is very difficult to understand that. But the film has given me a good friend in Aditya Roy Kapur.
You are one actor who has never shied away from playing roles older than your age. Do you think today’s actors are afraid of it?
Actors are afraid and incapable of playing older characters. If I hadn’t played an older character in my first film Saaransh, 30 years ago, I would not have been talking to you. But apart from playing an old man in my first film, I didn’t have any choice. I was on the streets looking for work, there was no house, nothing to eat and I got such a great role. And I am from theater and thought I will excel in this.
You have been in the industry since so long, is there any particular role off late which has challenged you mentally or physically?
I never take any role for granted. I feel competence is the biggest enemy of brilliance and so all roles I do, be it Baby or Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, I start right from scratch. I love working with Sooraj Barjatya and he keeps telling me “Sir you do the scene according to you.” But I don’t like the comfort and like to make my job difficult. In the past I have taken things for granted but now I never do that. Yes, I do give some creative inputs to the directors and that’s when the teacher in me takes over.
Is the Special 26 sequel on the cards anytime soon?
I would love to make a Special 26 sequel because now we can be anywhere, we can be in Dubai or UK or America. It was a very cheeky film. In Baby, Akshay and I don’t get along well but in Special 26 we have a fun relation.
You have been a part of all Sooraj Barjatya Films, what are your thoughts on the script of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo? Do you think it is his finest script till date?
It is going to be a super duper film, it is a fantastic script. Sooraj Barjatya is an iconic director who knows Indian emotions very well and connects beautifully with his audiences. The film is a romantic family drama and Salman plays a double role in the film. The last schedule of the film is in June.
Do you agree with Akshay Kumar when he says that Bollywood lacks unity?
I agree with him. Unlike Hollywood, we don’t applaud each other. Actors in Bollywood should be relaxed. In today’s times, I feel that everyone is so lonely. Technology can somewhat be blamed for it. It has taken away the joy of interacting. Look at the kind of friendships Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Amitabh Bachchan or Vinod Khanna shared. But now we have become more wary of others.
Your talk show ‘The Anupam Kher Show: Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai’ was a hit. Any plans to start its second season?
We will begin the next season in April 2015.
– Priyanka Jain