What can be said about Anupam Kher sir’s vast body of work that hasn’t already been said before. The thespian has played every role conceivable on screen, and has nailed every character to the T. Such is his reach and versatility in the world of Bollywood news that Mr. Kher has not only conquered Bollywood to its fullest extent in both mainstream and indie (art-house) cinema, but has also gained prominence in global entertainment news with some big-name international projects with renowned Directors of world cinema such as David O. Russell and Ang Lee.
However, such is the nature of social media, the actual media coverage and political backlash in the country these days, that whenever Anupam Kher decides to voice his opinions on public platforms about national issues, he’s mostly shot down by liberals and the leftist section of the media, who brand him a host if unsavoury names for his right-wing affiliations. Now, we may not be on the same page with everything he says, but we were curious to know what he makes of the selective approach of certain users on social media or sections of the actual media when it comes to affording him the same right to free speech, and got the perfect opportunity to quiz the legendary actor on it in a recently concluded exclusive interview.
Addressing the issues, Mr. Kher said, “There are two ways to look at this: One is that you have to live with yourself and do what you feel is right. My grandfather used to say that when you’re telling the truth, you don’t need to think about anything else. What I feel about anything happening in the country or anything else, I speak about it, and obviously, it’s going to please some people and displease certain others. But, at least, I’m happy with myself that I didn’t hold back and spoke my mind. Of course, there are times when I’m careful and don’t say anything, but if some issues bother me, I’d rather say it out loud. The other thing is getting manipulated by this whole desire to be liked by everybody. The moment you get rid of that desire, it’s liberating because when you want to be liked by everybody, that’s when you start getting manipulated. But there’s not been a single person in the world who’s always been liked by everyone, including Gandhiji — it’s impossible.”
Continuing about how it’s necessary to speak your mind and filter out the naysayers, the actor added, “At the end of the day, there are only five to six people in the world, your immediate family and some friends, who will never misunderstand you. However, it’s important to speak up when you wish to because that’s what decides who you are. A lot of weaker people want to attribute it to various other situations like my wife (Kirron Kher) being in the BJP or me wanting a political seat or something else, but that’s not the case. It doesn’t matter though; the day you start ignoring it, you feel free because here I am speaking to you about my digital platform (his new play is premiering on it) while they would be miserable somewhere else only taking pleasure by writing something nasty about me. I’ve done 517 films, and if I keep paying attention to what they have to say, my life will never move forward. Yes it bothers you, it upsets you, you want people to sort of understand you, but it’s not possible, and the day you understand that, your life would be much more peaceful. You shouldn’t waste your energy and time on them, it doesn’t matter. As long as you’re faithful to yourself, it’s fine.”
Wise words from a very experienced person.