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