When an actor prepares for a role he doesn't think of the outcome. When Anupam Kher took on the role of a Kashmiri Muslim in Dhokha people of his clan of Kashmiri Brahmins objected strongly.
"Yes, I'm a Kashmiri Pandit in real life. But in Dhokha I play a Kashmiri Muslim who's a victim of the establishment. It's a role that required me to look at the tragedy of fundamentalism and extremism from the other side. And I don't mind if it offends some people. I'm an actor hungry for experience. I'm ready to play anything from a killer to a comedian to a corpse (Buddha Mar Gaya)."
In fact, it has been a bumper week for Anupam with two back-to-back releases - Dhokha and Victoria 203. He is doing Ashok Kumar's role in a remake of the 1973 hit Victoria 203.
"And look at the contrast in the two parts on the same Friday. Dhokha is a stark serious look at extremism. I play a traumatised father of a woman accused of being a human bomb. In Victoria 203 I'm this aging guy with a roving eye, an incorrigible skirt chaser," Anupam told IANS.
"Some people might object to an actor of my stature playing such a lech, just as some people objected to a Kashmiri Brahmin playing a Muslim. But acting gives me the freedom to explore avenues galore. I can move from one extreme to another. I was the victimised father in Mahesh Bhatt's Saraansh. I'm a victimised father in Dhokha today."
About his skirt chaser's role in Victoria 203 Anupam says: "I really enjoyed that role. Om Puri and I had great fun playing the roles originally done by Ashok Kumar and Pran. But I didn't watch the original. I wanted to interpret it in my own way. But we retain the innocence of the two small-towners from the original."
Anupam also put in a guest appearance in last week's Heyy Babby.
"In Heyy Babby I was playing the character of Shah Rukh's dad from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. It was a spoofy homage to one of the biggest hits of Indian cinema."