He wears many hats, but it’s his passion for acting that has made Anupam Kher a name to reckon with. He started his career in 1984 with Saransh, and today, the 61-year-old is working on his 500th film, The Big Sick.
The Hollywood movie also stars Holly Hunter, Zoe Kazan and Ray Romano, among others. As the actor shoots for the project in New York, USA, we speak to him about his journey so far, his association with Robert De Niro, and more.
You are working on your 500th film. How does it feel to achieve this milestone?
It’s an achievement to do 500 films in 32 years. It shows the kind of life I have had. I’m happy that my 500th landmark film is a Hollywood project. It’s not that if it was a Hindi film, it would have not been important. But I have done a lot of work in Hindi cinema, and now I am looking at newer avenues. It happened by chance that this film worked out around this time. In fact, Mr De Niro has recorded a video message for me, congratulating me on my 500th film. When I watched that, I had a surreal feeling. All I can is that the boy from Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) has come a long way.
When you did Saransh, did you ever imagine that one day you will be doing your 500th film?
My life has been a series of unexpected possibilities. While working on Saransh, I was a 29-year-old, playing a 65- year-old man. I never thought I be able to break this whole thing about typecasting, as while I did a movie like Shola Aur Shabnam (1992), I also did a Karma (1986), and a Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006). But yes, to get a message from De Niro, and more so, to be invited for lunch with him, was a self-pinching event for me.
What is the most important thing that you have learnt from him?
What matters in this industry is your work. Rest will come and go. To keep on working is the most important thing. Out of my 500 films, more than half were just routine roles. But I don’t think, “Oh, I should have been selective.” I think every movie teaches you something.
You are quite active on social media. How important is it for actors to make their presence felt on that medium?
It’s very important so that you can comment on the present scenario of the country, and the world, and so that you can talk about social causes. Also, I learn a lot from social media. It helps me interact with the new generation.
But you often get trolled. Does that bother you?
I’m trolled for speaking for my country by certain people who have different political ideologies. Trolling is part of life. I’ve understood that this’s certain people’s way of trying to make you feel defensive, and to tell you to stop. So, the more they troll, the more I’m convinced that I’m doing something right. Yes, it upsets me at times, but I’m won’t get bogged down.