Legendary American actor Sidney Poitier, immortalized by his imperishable performances in the all-time classics The Defiant Ones, To Sir With Love, Lilies Of The Field and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, has won over Anupam Kher‘s heart.
The two actors met on Wednesday evening in a hotel lobby in Los Angeles. They hit it off instantaneously, and stuck up a lengthy conversation. And now Poitier, considered a one-man institution in the arena of acting, would be visiting Anupam’s acting school in Mumbai to address the students.
Speaking excitedly just as he was boarding his flight from Los Angeles to London on Thursday morning, Anupam said, “I met quite a number of really interesting stars and filmmakers on this trip to LA. But meeting Sidney Poitier was as exciting for me as meeting our own Yusuf Saab (Dilip Kumar) for the first time. I felt the same excitement and a sense of being in really distinguished company. I felt blessed.”
Poitier, now 84, spoke at length with Anupam about Indian cinema and actors and expressed a keen desire to visit Anupam’s acting school. Says Anupam, “I told Sidney about my acting school and he was immediately interested. Yes, he keenly wants to visit my school. It would be an honour beyond any honour to have him.”
Phone numbers have been exchanged and now Anupam intends to take the matter of Poitier’s India visit forward.
Still in a daze, Anupam said, “The past few weeks in the US have been like a dream. First the Screen Guild Actor’s Guild award, then the Oscars. When Jennifer Lawrence won the Best Actress Oscar for our film Silver Linings Playbook, I was in seventh heaven. To be associated with a film that’s been nominated for so many Oscars is awesome. I am also very proud of Ang Lee and his Life Of Pi. I am no part of Life Of Pi. But it’s a film about Indian characters and I had the privilege of working with Ang in Lust, Caution… ”
Anupam thinks his new tryst with Hollywood is a significant step forward. “Silver Linings Playbook has opened a new chapter in my career. To work with an actor like Robert de Niro and to meet personalities like Bruce Willis, Leonardo Dicaprio, Quentin Tarantino and the legendary Sidney Poitier whom I met just before leaving LA, can’t be just a coincidence. God has more plans for me, I think.”