He’s played father to them all, and then some. And it began with Anupam Kher defying all odds and, at the young age of 28, playing a retired school teacher and bereaved father in Saaransh (1984). Twenty five years later, he’s still one of Bollywood’s (and soon Hollywood’s) favourite dads, whether in Daddy, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Bend It Like Beckham, Dil or Khosla Ka Ghosla. So here’s Anupam Kher on the occasion of Father’s Day.
What thoughts come to your mind on Father’s Day?
I have one of the greatest fathers possible. He is an ordinary man, a retired government servant who stays in Simla. He was always supportive and has never shouted at me. Otherwise the kind of films that I have done is only fathers, and more fathers! I have played father to almost all the actors and actresses, some of who have been older than me. I think I understand the emotions that are required in any relationship, especially the father and the son relationship which is more complex because the father always wants his son to be like him or wants his son to do the things which he couldn’t do in his life. And sons always think that their father tells them what to do. That’s one side of it. The other side that is that of a friendly relationship between father and son, which I tried to project in DDLJ, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice.
I think I understand the emotions that are required in any relationship, especially the father and the son relationship
What is the greatest lesson you learnt from your father?
My father took away the fear of failure from me. When he thought I had failed in the 10th standard he took me to a restaurant to celebrate. That lesson became the benchmark of my life. In today’s world where everything is being marketed, they always frighten you with the possibility of failure and threat that somebody out there is better than you.
What advice do you give Sikander, your son, and your students at your acting school?
In real life, you are not given lines. In real life the scenes are not like those in films. They are matter of fact and simpler. The advice I give Sikander and my students is that there is no alternative to honesty and hard work. I feel honesty plays a very important part in your career. And in today’s time there are so many platforms in entertainment which you can easily explore. There are a lot of possibilities.
When he thought I had failed in the 10th standard he took me to a restaurant to celebrate
What are your favourite father roles?
First of all, I have played father to Rishi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Anil Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Pooja Bhatt, Madhuri Dixit, Kajol, Rani Mukherjee, Shahid Kapoor and now Ranbir Kapoor, among others. Of the long list, Dil, Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin, Daddy, Saaransh, DDLJ, Chaahat, Waqt Hamara Hai stand out.
What can you tell us about Woody Allen’s film in which you have been signed on to play Frieda Pinto’s father?
I have no clue on Woody Allen’s film besides my agent telling me that I play Frieda’s father.