Anupam Kher ruffles Bollywood feathers
Anupam Kher has rubbed Bollywood the wrong way with his comment in London last week that he wants to change the "hammy" acting style of Bollywood through the acting school that he has just set up.
Several leading lights felt it was too impetuous a comment. But Anupam is unfazed.
"Isn't it true that a lot of us ham in Indian films and not because it comes naturally to us? Often we're asked to act that way and the Indian audience to this day reacts more favourably to broad performances as compared to the more subtle ones," he said.
Anupam made his controversial statement on a visit to London to open a branch of his school, called Actor Prepares, March 7. "I flew to London to sign the biggest deal of my life. I returned Sunday feeling satisfied with life."
A jubilant and exhilarated Anupam Kher returned to Mumbai from London after finalising plans to open a branch of his acting school in London in September.
"We at Actor Prepares are tying up with the Ealing Institute Of Media. We signed the MoU (memorandum of understanding) in London March 6. In my opinion, this is the biggest Bollywood-British tie-up. The Times, London, carried a full-page interview last week.
"I was on the people's page in The Guardian, along with Prince Charles. My London school plans have been covered in The Herald Tribune. The Washington Post has also written a lengthy article on Actor Prepares. For a small-town boy from Shimla, it is one big leap ahead."
Anupam is now totally consumed by the idea of carrying his acting school to foreign shores. "I think my school has finally reached an international platform, not because we're opening international branches, but because of the interest it has generated globally."
The actor admits he doesn't have much business sense. "But then schools aren't run by business sense, they're run by passion for excellence. We aim at training only the best students, only 25-40 students per session. After three years of the school in Mumbai, Actor Prepares has achieved the international standard we had set for ourselves.
"I feel in the next five years, my school will prepare actors from all over the world. Actor Prepares in London and other global branches will not focus on Asians. We're hiring teachers from all over the world. But I won't be an absentee teacher. I'll be there on the spot."
According to Anupam, the best thing he has done in his life is to start Actor Prepares.