Anupam Kher won the Filmfare Award for his debut film Saaransh in 1984, but it didn't have a premiere back then. The veteran actor, who is looking forward to the movie's re-release after 25 years, feels his performance in the film was so brilliant that none of his roles could surpass his portrayal of B.B. Pradhan.
"I have lived this role and it is there in my soul. It's the only movie I have never been nervous about because I can very confidently say that I have done a brilliant job in it," Kher told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
"This is a cult movie like 'Sholay' and you can never ever get bored of it. These films have a great revisit value as they are evergreen and ageless," he said.
In 1984, the premiere of "Saaransh" had to be postponed because of riots in Bhiwandi, following which distributors were not keen to organise one. So Kher's dream of attending his first film's premiere lingered on even though he earned rave reviews for his performance. He was just 29 when he played the role.
Directed by Mahesh Bhatt, the film also starred Rohini Hattangadi, Soni Razdan and Madan Jain.
Now the 54-year-old actor is reliving his dream by hosting its premiere May 24 at Metro Big Cinemas in Mumbai and the entire cast of the movie is invited.
"Like any other actor I too had this dream of going for the premiere of my first movie...this idea came to my mind to cherish that unfulfilled dream with the crew of the movie and relive those moments," explained Kher, who went on to feature in movies like "Daddy", "Lamhe", "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge", "Khosla Ka Ghosla" and "A Wednesday".
In "Saaransh", Anupam had played the role of a retired school principal who had lost interest in life after his son's death abroad and has to fight to get back his son's ashes. He later fights for his tenant's rights too, taking on powerful politicians.
It was also India's official entry to the Oscars in 1985 in the best foreign language film category.
For a debutant, it was unusual to play the role of a much older man, but Anupam says he grabbed the offer of a lifetime.
"That role was a challenge for me. You can say it was a do-or-die situation. But why I chose to play someone double my age was because any actor who would have refused to play the role would have been the biggest fool on this earth," Kher said.
He also remembers how he waited outside the cinema hall to see whether people could recognise him.
"I used to stand outside Metro Cinema to see whether people could recognise me, but unfortunately they didn't because for them I was an old man and not someone so young," he said.
With this premiere, the actor will also be celebrating his 25 years in the film industry and one thing that will always remain close to his heart is a compliment from legendary actor Sanjeev Kumar, who was initially offered the role.
"He saw this movie alone before it was released. He cried a lot during the movie and the moment he stepped out, he complimented me for my acting and said even he couldn't have done justice to the role," said the actor.
With remakes being the current trend in Bollywood, Kher is okay with the idea of the film being remade but doesn't want to star in it.
"Today no one from the industry can do justice to this role...not even me. Because I too don't have that hunger that I used to have 25 years back. Any newcomer who has the passion and hunger that I had 25 years ago can fit into the remake," he explained.
Kher added that he is "emotionally attached" to "Saaransh" because he would love to be like the character B.B. Pradahan, who stood for his rights.
"I wish I could just be 50 percent of what Pradhan was. This role has influenced my life and left a lasting impression on me," he said.
The actor, who has dabbled in almost all genres, will soon be seen in Walt Disney's production "Zokommon" with Darsheel Safary, "Hawai Dada", "Wake Up Sid" and many more.