A dose of positivity
‘Just be yourself’ says actor Anupam Kher as he launches his book in Dubai
Life’s tough and we all know that. But what do we do when our luck’s run out? Well, one of the most iconic actors in the Indian film industry believes in the age-old maxim that when the going gets tough the tough get going. All we can say in reply is that any man who stays true to this word is an inspiration for society – just the way Anupam Kher is.
Masala! was bowled over by the grace, wit and honesty the epitomizes Anupam.He may have over 450 films, 100 plays and multiple awards to his credit but what satisfies him most is writing a book. Masala! chatted with the veteran actor about his semi-biographical book about life’s challenges, optimism and self-confidence aptly titled ‘The Best Thing About You is You!’ at Bookplus in Lamzy Plaza. Here are some excerpts from the interview.
How long did it take you to write the book?
Almost a year. I am not the sort of writer who waits for the right peaceful moment to start writing. I believe creativity stems from chaos and confusion. Plus I had to write it all long hand since I am not comfortable with computers.
Why is the book titled the ‘The Best Thing About You Is You?’
I initially wanted to call the book ‘The best thing that happened to you is you’ but my editor at Hayhouse publishing said it was grammatically incorrect. Anyway the purpose was to keep the title smart and catchy and also convey what the best feature of the book is.
What difficulties did you face while writing the book?
Time management was hard but the content came easily because I simply had to relive my life and reflect on what I had learnt. It was to give the readers a glimpse of how I am the person I am today. To be yourself and celebrate the fact is the highlight of the book therefore I didn’t have any trouble putting it together, there was no pretention!
Did you seek advice from anyone while writing the book?
Yes, from friends, family and also my publisher. Still the language is just simple and the content isn’t very difficult to grasp, since each chapter isn’t more than two pages.
Considering you served as the chairman of the Censor board for films, what do you think of the Indian government’s present stance on internet censorship with sites like Google, Facebook?
When you work in the Censor board for films it is necessary to classify what kind of content is suitable is for the audience and what is not. But about internet censorship I think it is just politically motivated as there is a lot at stake. It is certain that this gig will eventually die down because India believes in freedom of expression therefore the content cannot be possibly monitored.
Well, do you think then that freedom of speech should be absolute?
Definitely not. There should be checks. Topics like religion can create a mass upsurge if it is dealt with callously. It is important in a secular country to not hurt the sentiments of the people.
Well what you have written is a self-help book. Does this mean you have read a lot of self-help books?
Not at all. I grew up reading fiction like Munshi Premchand, Leo Tolstoy’s works. The only self-help book I read was by a certain author and one of the lines in it read ‘To know someone’s character you have to look into their eyes’. I just found it funny because one doesn’t have to read a book to know that. Anyway my book isn’t exactly a self help on how to get famous or rich. I just want people to feel happy about themselves.
Would you like to talk about your upcoming H’wood project ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’ also starring Robert De Niro?
Well, the movie has a great story. I am playing a therapist to Bradley Cooper and the role was a joy to play.
Your acting school ‘Actor Prepares’ is doing very well. We would like to know what the attitude of youngsters who join your school is. Do they all want to be superstars?
Yes, they do want to be superstars. This is an alluring profession. But with time they understand that it is important to be qualified and prepared for the job unlike earlier when it was okay to just walk away with good looks. We are going through a very distinctive phase in B’wood because chances are available to a lot of people but the winner is one who is prepared as a trained actor for the big moment.
What sort of questions do they generally ask you?
How can I be Shah Rukh Khan or Kareena Kapoor! And my answer to them is they are already there so just try to be yourself.
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