New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) It was a rare opportunity that Delhi’s theatre enthusiasts witnessed – Bollywood veteran Anupam Kher’s monologue on his ups and downs, laying his his life bare before the audience.
After “Kuchh Bhi Ho Sakta Hai”, the audience was left with a feeling that Kher was not really different from any of them — who failed at many things in life and desperately waited for opportunities and turned things around to succeed.
Known for his strong background in theatre through his association with some of the famed drama schools in the country, there it was, Kher’s life also presented as one – unlike many life stories which are penned down into books.
Born in a family of Kashmiri Pandits of Shimla, dearly known to the family as ‘Bittu’, Kher called himself an “ordinary” boy who “manipulated” his destiny to become a success – showing that anything can happen in life.
With innumerable anecdotes, a specific one where he begins to argue with Richard Attenborough for denying him a role in his film “Gandhi”, or his failed love which left him deeply disturbed.
Kher’s life, as he presented before the audience, was nothing short of a “filmy” tale; it had passionate love stories, it had a young chap who left his home town for B-town with dreams of making it big in life – and also possessed the ego for a while that came with his success.
His association with theatre, which started in class 5 when he enacted Prithviraj Chauhan, for “being the fairest kid in class”, ended on a rather funny note — with a boy heavier than him defeating Chauhan and changing history!
After featuring in Mahesh Bhat’s “Saaransh” movie, Kher said it took a Amitabh Bachchan to bring his ego down.
Kher, who once complained on a film set about a dysfunctional air-conditioning in his vanity room and threw a tantrum about it, met Bachchan who was waiting for their shoot together, fully dressed in a coat, and a shawl over it in the hot summer for the scene.
When being asked if he wasn’t feeling hot, Bacchan’s reply that “he felt hot only when he allowed himself to feel so”, Kher said he stopped complaining about things in life.
The show was a candid presentation, where Kher exposed his strengths and shortcomings — right from his birth till the present day, when he has numerous awards under his belt, and is the only Indian to have worked with actor-producer like Robert De Niro.
In a span of over three hours, Kher was no more just an actor on screen to Delhi — he won the hearts for his honesty and humour.
Being a theatre veteran, he also gave this monologue a metatheatrical twist, as he involved with conversations with the audience amidst the play, once ordering a particular person using his phone to turn it off.
Kher was also quick to remark right at the beginning of the show about the punctuality of Delhiites, as people kept walking in past the start time, and even guided some to their seats — taking the audience by pleasant surprise.
The very same audience who had seen Kher’s good and bad, suddenly flocked around him as the show ended. After all, Indians cannot refrain from treating an actor like a “star”, can they?
(Bhavana Akella can be contacted at email@example.com)