When Anupam Kher barged into Mahesh Bhatt's house, called him 'the biggest fraud on this Earth' and cursed him
- Anupam Kher in an old interview recalled feeling so let down by Mahesh Bhatt that he decided to leave Mumbai but not before giving the director a piece of his mind.
Actor Anupam Kher made his film debut with 1984's Saaransh, but he was almost replaced as the lead character despite being promised he'd get to play the part. In an old interview, Anupam recalled that the rejection nearly killed his spirit, and he decided to leave Mumbai, but not before giving director Mahesh Bhatt a piece of his mind for not standing up for him.
Anupam Kher recalled the story in a 2019 appearance on the BUILD Series YouTube channel, where he spoke about his show New Amsterdam and the film Hotel Mumbai. But he also spoke about Saaransh, in which he played the role of a grieving 65-year-old, even though he was in his 20s.
But he also gave some context about his origins and narrated the story of how he got his big break in the Hindi film industry. He said, "I met Mr Mahesh Bhatt, and he said to me, 'Oh, I've heard you're good on stage', and I said to him, 'You've heard wrong, I'm brilliant'. And that's when he cast me in his film, because of that answer."
A few days before the shoot was supposed to begin, Anupam heard a rumour from a friend that he'd been replaced by Sanjeev Kumar in the main role. "I was horrified. I said this city does not deserve me. So I packed my luggage and decided to leave the city forever, on the same day," he said, after Mahesh Bhatt confirmed that this was indeed the case.
But, he said, as he was going to the railway station, he decided to pay Mahesh Bhatt a visit. "Now I must go to his house and tell him what I think of him," he said. "So I went to his house. The elevator was not working, so I walked up -- they say when you're angry it gives you a lot of energy -- and he opened the door and said, 'Oh, fantastic, you've come to confirm you'll do the other part, you must understand, from the producers' point of view, Sanjeev Kumar, he's doing the role, it's not a big role but you'll be noticed'. I said, 'Hold on, Mr Bhatt, come to the window, that's my cab, my luggage is in the cab. I'm leaving this city. But before I leave I want to tell you you're the biggest fraud on this Earth, and you're a cheat. You are making a film about truth, and you don't have truth in you'. I was crying, I was in a very bad state. And I cursed him."
When Anupam was about to enter his cab, Mahesh called him from his apartment. He asked him to come back, and called up the producer and told him that he'd just witnessed 'a scene' that had convinced him that only Anupam could do the role.
"The rest is history," Anupam said. The actor recently completed work on his 519th film, Shiv Shastri Balboa, and works both in Bollywood and Hollywood.