‘Small town peo­ple have dreams, big city dwellers have tar­gets’

Says Anu­pam Kher at a full­house ses­sion on ‘Lessons Life Taught Me Un­know­ingly’ on the last day of the fest; An­nounces ₹1­lakh prize for best de­but writer at the fest next year on­wards

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - City - - LIFESTYLE - Anee­sha Bedi anee­sha.bedi@htlive.com

“A ctors are not born. Ac­tors are made, ac­tors are trained. Ac­tors are pre­pared,” — when you hear Anu­pam Kher ut­ter those lines, you re­alise the ac­claimed ac­tor didn’t get there eas­ily. Cit­ing his own ex­am­ple, he wit­tily dis­cussed how a hum­ble back­ground need not be an ob­sta­cle to at­tain­ing dizzy­ing heights of suc­cess, at the con­clud­ing ses­sion of the Khush­want Singh Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val in Kasauli on Sun­day. Shar­ing the vi­tal in­gre­di­ents for suc­cess as well as meth­ods to get the most out of life, Kher left the au­di­ence both in splits and mo­ti­vated. Giv­ing credit to his grand­fa­ther for teach­ing him the les­son, “bheege huye aadmi ko bar­ish se darr nahi lagta”, the ac­tor-pro­ducer took pride in his jour­ney from a Class-10 fail Shimla boy to fea­tur­ing in a film with Robert De Niro. Nar­rat­ing anec­dotes one af­ter the other, Kher high­lighted the im­por­tance of hav­ing the right at­ti­tude and pos­i­tiv­ity in life. As some­one who al­ways spoke against un­fair treat­ment, the ac­tor ex­plained how that got him his big break in Ma­hesh Bhatt’s “Saransh”. He prac­tised with the di­rec­tor for six months, only to be told 10 days prior to the shoot that San­jeev Ku­mar will per­form the lead role. He didn’t give up on the role, and his the­atrics while con­fronting Bhatt had the di­rec­tor con­vinced that no one else could do the role bet­ter. Not only that, he got a sign­ing amount of ₹10,000 and an­other ₹65,000 for the film. ₹10,000, the ac­tor said, never felt the sane again. “Woh paise khatam hi nahi ho rahe the. Be­fore then, I had never seen an en­ve­lope with so much money,” said Kher, who got 57 movie of­fers right af­ter the re­lease of “Saransh”. Anu­pam shared his fear of fail­ure was re­moved early on in life, when his fa­ther cel­e­brated his fail­ure in Class 10 with a feast of meat samosas at a Shimla res­tau­rant. With mul­ti­ple Hol­ly­wood ven­tures in his kitty, Kher re­vealed how he would plead and carry a Gan­pati idol to Woody Allen and Robert De Niro to get half an hour with them, with the dream of shar­ing screen space with them. On his re­la­tion with Kir­ron Kher, Kher said, “Life kept bring­ing us to­gether at var­i­ous in­ter­vals. We were best friends, and I re­alised I loved her. I wanted to spend life with her, not just as some­one who loved her, but as a great friend.” Shar­ing that they en­joyed talk­ing about cin­ema, pol­i­tics, lit­er­a­ture and the­atre, Kher re­vealed he was ob­serv­ing Karwa Chauth fast for her. Mod­er­a­tor Ashok Cho­pra added that Kher al­ways flew down to be with his wife, no mat­ter where she was on this day. Re­count­ing fond mem­o­ries of evenings he spent in Delhi chat­ting with Khush­want Singh, he said he loved the au­thor’s mag­nan­i­mous aura, sense of hu­mour and the fact that he was still so hu­mane. Re­fer­ring to Khush­want Singh’s vi­sion of ded­i­cat­ing the fes­ti­val to the In­dian army, he re­it­er­ated the need to value it. Call­ing Rahul Singh on stage, he also an­nounced ₹1 lakh cash prize for best de­but writer at the fes­ti­val, start­ing next year.

Life kept bring­ing us to­gether at var­i­ous in­ter­vals. We were best friends, and I re­alised I loved her (Kir­ron). I wanted to spend life with her, not just as some­one who loved her, but as a great friend ANU­PAM KHER, AC­TOR

RAVI KU­MAR/HT

Ac­tor Anu­pam Kher dur­ing a ses­sion at Khush­want Singh Lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­val at Kasauli on Sun­day

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