I want to make my absence felt: Anupam Kher

By Manpreet Kaur

New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) Having done 400 films in a span of nearly 30 years, veteran actor Anupam Kher is staying away from the big screen. He says it is sometimes important to stay away from the cameras and lights to make one's presence felt.

"People ask me these days why I am not so prominently visible on screen. But I feel in life, a time comes when you don't feel like running after work. After doing 400 films, I feel contented. Sometimes it becomes important to make your presence felt with your absence; that is what I am doing now," Anupam told IANS in an interview.

The Padma Shri awardee arrived in Bollywood with his powerful performance in "Saaransh". From villain to funny guy to character roles, he has a variety of performances under his belt in his nearly three-decade-long career.

If he scared people as a ruthless villain in "Karma" (1986) and "Hum", he made them emotional with "Daddy" (1989), "Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara" and "Khosla Ka Ghosla" (2007). He even entertained fans by playing lighthearted characters in "Lamhe" (1991), "Shola Aur Shabnam" (1992), "Darr" (1993) and "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge" (1995).

But nowadays the 55-year-old is not doing too many films. "Experience teaches a lot. After a long journey one becomes selective by default. In the urge to try and do different roles, one becomes an expert at sorting between the good and the okay roles."w

But what keeps him busy?

"I keep myself busy with a lot of projects - films, family, my acting school and programmes like 'Lead India' and now 'Discover India with Anupam Kher'. It is important to lay the foundation and understand that at this age what is it that you want to do and achieve," said the actor.

Right now it's television that excites him more as it allows him to be himself. After hosting shows like "Say Na Something To Anupam Uncle", "Sawaal Dus Crore Ka" and "Lead India", he will return to the small screen as the host of quiz show "Discover India", which will go on air Sunday on Star Plus.

"On shows I get to be myself. I get the opportunity to showcase my real self. In movies we play characters and people identify us with them. But on shows on small screen I have the liberty to show the real me," he said.

Though he is looking forward to his quiz show on television, the actor rues there is a dearth of educational shows on the small screen.

"I agree that quiz shows are not there on television now. What we see is only reality shows and the politics participants plot against each other. The market wants more masala now as we have become market driven. These shows have shown a rise in demand but that doesn't mean one should stop attempting to make educational shows," he said.

The versatile actor, who also did crossover films like "Bend It Like Beckham" (2002), "Bride and Prejudice" (2004) and "The Mistress of Spices" (2006), will be see in another such project called "Break Away", which is Bollywood star Akshay Kumar's first international venture.

"Based in Canada, 'Break Away' is an emotional father-son story. It is based on Ice hockey. The film brings across the cultural differences abroad. If I have to put it directly, it is the 'Bend It Like Beckham' of ice-hockey. The film is directed by Robert Lieberman and stars Russell Peters, Gurpreet Ghuggi and Camilla Belle," said Anupam, who was last seen in the recently released "Yamla Pagla Deewana".

But that doesn't mean Anupam is completely averse to Hindi films.

"One of my upcoming Hindi films is 'Yeh Faasle'. It will release on March 3; then I am doing 'Game', starring Abhishek Bachchan and Boman Irani. I am also doing a film with Disney which is called 'Zokkomon' and lastly 'Hawai Dada'. These are the projects that I am working on currently," he said.

(Manpreet Kaur can be contacted at manpreet.k@ians.in)

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