Actor Anupam Kher, known to inspire the young with his book and life story, chose to began with a William Hamilton quote, when in Ludhiana over the weekend. “On earth, there is nothing great but man; in man there is nothing great but mind.”
“Yes, to be successful or unsuccessful in life, one depends solely on one’s mind and attitude towards life. If we prepare our minds to achieve something, no one can stop us,” remarks Kher.
His popular autobiographical play, Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai, was staged on Saturday evening at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan in Ludhiana. The play, which is packed with various ups and downs from his personal life, has been inspiring audiences since 2005. It leaves us with the thought that failures aren’t the end of the road.
Kher says he’s proud of the play and the numerous characters in it that showcase his life journey. “The play has been staged more than 300 times across the globe and has inspired individuals of all age groups,” adds he.
“I still remember that evening in Chicago when after the staging of this play, a 77-year-old man came up to me backstage and expressed that he wished to restart his life after watching the play,” recalls Kher, sipping calmly on his black tea.
After a brief pause, he shares, “Even as a kid, I wanted to be famous. Though I took birth in a small town like Shimla in a simple middle-class family, it didn’t stop me from dreaming big. During my teens, my interest in theatre grew; I would often dream that I’d be so famous that the whole city’s walls would have my posters on them.”
This ambition then led to Kher’s admission in the National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi, which was followed by a tiresome struggle for three years in Mumbai. “During the struggle, I slept on roads and at train stations. One day I got so frustrated that I wrote to my grandfather expressing the desire to return to Shimla and doing any little odd job to earn money. But, my grandfather wrote back saying, ‘Bheege hue aadmi ko kabhi barish se dar nahin lagta’ (a drenched man does not fear rain). The letter blew off all my frustration and the struggle in Mumbai continued.”
Kher goes on to add, “Thanks to my grandfather’s positive attitude, I was able to face hurdles in Mumbai. Had I not paid heed to his advice, I would have returned to Shimla to be a common man. My father, too, had a very positive outlook towards life. Once, he treated me for failing in some class. He was of the opinion that failures should also be celebrated, as they teach us a lot, silently.”
Guess whom we spotted at the staging of Anupam Kher’s autobiographical play on Saturday? Proud parents of Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra, Pawan Chopra and Reena Chopra, all the way from their hometown, Ambala.
The couple, it seems, were Kher’s special guests for the staging. Mentioning that Parineeti has had the ‘amazing experience’ of working with Kher in ‘Dawat e Ishq’ — an upcoming Bollywood film — the Chopras say, “When she was shooting with Anupam Kher, she called us up everyday to share with us the sheer greatness of working with him, and not to mention, her learning experiences with him.”
On being asked about Parineeti’s upbringing, Reena Chopra says, “Unlike most Indian parents, my husband and I never pressurised Parineeti and her brothers to take up careers that were against their aptitude and interest. We gave them the freedom to discover themselves and their talent.”
Here, Pawan Chopra adds, “All parents should keep in mind that if they do not let their children follow their hearts, they might not do justice to their child’s life. After all, you can take a horse to the water, you not make him drink it.”