Cinema is part of my acting career, not my life: Anupam Kher
Trans World Features | @twfindia | 17 Feb 2021
Cinema is part of my acting career, not my life: Anupam Kher
Veteran Indian actor Anupam Kher, who has mastered his art onscreen, was the guest at Ek Mulakat Visesh session organised by Prabha Khaitan Foundation and Shree Cement late last month. In a conversation with Ina Puri, Kher spoke not just about his films but his two books. India Blooms correspondent Souvik Ghosh brings excerpts

Your book "The Best Thing About You is You!" brings hope and says today is the best day, not tomorrow or day after. How did you come up with such a book?


I am not an author by profession. I wrote books because I wanted to share something. My books are not fictional but about the things which I have learnt in my life. The Best Thing About You is You! is a series of articles which I wrote in a newspaper called Change Within. It was basically telling how we have to find our own strength to deal with the world. So that became a book and I had no idea that it would become a best seller.



How did you decide to write an autobiography, "Lessons Life Taught Me Unknowingly" ?


When I came from New York finishing my shooting last year, I was horrified to see the deserted streets of Mumbai (due to Covid-19 and lockdown). It was fear that crept in me genuinely. Initially in New York, I thought people were paranoid there (over Covid-19). I am an eternal optimist and to get over that fear, I decided to write. So I had decided to pen down all my inner feelings. In this dark cloud of Covid-19 and lockdown, I wanted to see what is the silver lining around me.


You have also spoken in the book that you make stories of people on the streets in your head, which leaves you depressed or hopeful at times. That is an amazing quality.


Few years ago, I discovered that I had depression. So I went to a psychiatrist who had suggested that I should stop making stories of unknown people in my head. Then I became the brand ambassador of mental health and spoke about my issues publicly.



Your career has remained all eventful. But it started very simply, if we look back to your early days.


When one lives a life fully and does not pretend, he can talk about anything. That is the joy of not carrying the burden of Anupam Kher. If I don't have issues around me, then it's easy for me to convey who I am. We burden ourselves either by our past or the thought of doing something in the future. The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that we need only three things in the world and they are family, essential goods and wifi connections. The popular characters which I have portrayed onscreen are parts of my acting career. My life is not cinema.



You are a multitasker and a professional who doesn't skip preparations for a show.


This is because I always want to be the best. The difference between the ordinary and extraordinary is an extra effort. Moreover it is about not taking the audience for granted, I don't take myself for granted as an actor. Theatre does not allow one to do that. So I never regret my mistakes on stage because I give the effort. I don't take myself seriously but my job and authenticity seriously.



Is there any plan again to make a film?


My first film as a director, Om Jai Jagdish, had failed in the box office though was popular on television. I had won an award for Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara. I am producing films now. I recently produced The Last Show with Satish Kaushik recently. I had also produced Bariwali (starring his wife Kiran Kher and directed by late filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh). But as a director, I won't do anything now.