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Anupam Kher: If I was in cement business, they wouldn’t have made me FTII chairman

Bollywood actor Anupam Kher, the new chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, says that there’s no conflict between functioning in this position and running his own acting school.

bollywood Updated: Oct 13, 2017 12:51 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Anupam Kher,Gajendra Chauhan,FTII
Actor Anupam Kher has been appointed as the new FTII chairman after Gajendra Chauhan’s term came to an end.(Amal KS/HT PHoto)

Actor Anupam Kher is busy replying to the congratulatory messages that have been pouring in ever since he was declared the newly appointed chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, on Wednesday. However, amid those good wishes for him and his new role, there are some messages that have called his appointment a “joke”, because Kher already runs a private acting school, called Actor Prepares.

Reacting to this, Kher tells us, “If I was in the cement business, why would they appoint me as the FTII chairman? I’m an active actor, not someone who’s retired and has nothing to do, so, I’ve been made chairman. I’m as busy in India as I’m busy abroad.”

To students who’ve expressed their displeasure that there’d be a conflict of interest, Kher responds, “What’s the conflict here? That I’d tell people who come to FTII that, ‘Please go and join my acting school’? My school is doing very well in any case, because I’ve put in 14 years of hard work and discipline to build it. In fact, it’s an asset for FTII — all the experience that I’ve gathered from there, is going to come in handy [here].”

Asked if he has any new strategies planned for FTII, Kher, who was a student at the institute 39 years ago, says, “I’m not going there with pre-conceived notions. I need to understand the present scenario. I have my experience, but I don’t want to take it for granted. I want to walk with today’s generation rather than tell them how to walk.”

A two-time National Award winner, Kher has acted in more than 500 films, and he says that there’s a lot to talk about with the students, and that his intentions are honest. “I am a doer. It’s not that chalo charity ke liye baat karte hain, do saal nikal jayenge (It’s not like somehow passing two years doing something like charity). Mere liye yeh do saal bahut kuch karne ko hain (For me, these two years mean doing a lot of work). And I will do it. I’m an educationist. I’m much better as a teacher than as an actor.”

Prodded further on what he intends to share with the students, Kher says, “It’s not only my achievements that I’ll share with them, but also what I went through for those three years when I didn’t have work. What was my attitude, my mindset? It’s not that I didn’t feel the blow or didn’t get completely depressed. I’ve honed my skills of teaching in the past so many years, and that’s going to help me.”

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First Published: Oct 13, 2017 12:41 IST