One of the finest actors of his time, Anupam Kher describes his journey as good. Having played a lead role in Neeraj Pandey’s debut film A Wednesday, the veteran performer is glad to be part of his upcoming second film as well. In a chat with us, Anupam talks about Hollywood, Bollywood and direction.
Do you miss comedy roles?
Not really. I did Yamla Pagla Deewana last year. (Pauses) We make strange comic films nowadays, not like Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin or Dil. Or should I say, we don’t create roles like the ones I played in Shola Aur Shabnam and Lamhe. Having said that, Khosla Ka Ghosla had a lot of lighter moments. Besides, comedy is not just about making faces and exaggerated moments.
What excites you about a script?
Various things. Sometimes I like the director and sometimes the script itself and sometimes, both. I enjoy working with people I’ve connected over the years. There’s a certain level of comfort with those whom you know. And sometimes, I go for the money (smiles).
Having worked in several international projects, how much influence do you see in Bollywood vis-à-vis Western cinema?
They have a methodical manner of operation. Apart from that, they have primarily one language whereas we don’t have that lingual uniformity. Over here, for a long time, people who had nothing to do with cinema started calling themselves professional. Like a guy with money turned into a producer or someone with good looks became an actor. Over there, you have to have a certain level of qualification. I think we too are heading their way of professionalism.
You’ve directed just one film Om Jai Jagadish. Do you see yourself behind the camera anytime soon?
As of now, I can tell you it’s not happening. Along with films, I’m also running an acting school not to forget, writing my next book. I do motivational lectures too so for me, I need at least one full year to direct a film and I’m not prepared for that unless a mind-blowing script comes my way.
Over the years, you’ve worked with several first-time directors...
I love being in their films because debutants bring josh with them, a certain kind of passion. No wonder you see me in the debut films of directors like Dibakar (Banerjee), Neeraj (Pandey), Ayan (Mukerji) or even for that matter, Karan (Johar) or Adi (Chopra).
What difference did you notice in Neeraj of four years ago and now?
He’s four year maturer! When he had narrated the idea, he had made a clear distinction between A Wednesday and his next. The former dealt with terrorism and the latter deals with what’s real and what’s not. And he had that required command on both the subjects.