There was a certain order amongst the apparent disorder as books mingled with musical instruments on stage. Penguin India's Spring Fever 2012 was holding as book talk with noted actor Anupam Kher followed by a musical performance by Faridkot, and the Amphitheater at the India Habitat Center was starting to fill up slowly. As Faridkot left the stage having just finished their sound check, hustling sounds from the back informed that Mr. Kher had arrived...
Animated, humorous, humble, and down to earth are but a few words that can be used to describe Anupam Kher. Ready to talk about his recently published book The Best Thing About You is You, Mr. Kher instantly lightened the mood of the gathering by cracking the joke "There are only two kids of people. There are baldies and there are future baldies". What followed was an hour and half long interaction where he spoke about his life, his father, his upbringing, and how he came about to becoming an "accidental writer".
Anupam Kher has long been an institution in Indian cinema. He has been part of some of the most successful Indian films ever taking on numerous diverse roles. He is also one of the few Indian actors who have seamlessly integrated themselves into the western counterparts of Indian cinema. His most famous “international” role till date being in the movie Bend it Like Beckham.
Mr. Kher’s move towards writing a book has a certain aptness to it. His autobiographical play, which has been running successfully all around the world over the last few years, is titled Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai (Anything Can Happen). It seems only appropriate that one of India's prominent film actors would end up writing an inspirational self-coaching book that would go out to become a best seller. After all, Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai.
The Spring Fever 2012 Anupam Kher book talk was quite the lively interaction. Mr. Kher made us laugh, a lot. He made us think, He made us emotional and he made us introspect. In the end, as the audience surrounded him to get books signed, he disappeared in the sea of bodies, but he did leave behind a few words, words that give us an insight into his life and hopefully would have a long lasting impression on everyone present;
"My life started when I reached Bombay on 3rd June 1981"
(Mr. Kher talks about how having grown up in a loving environment in Shimla, his life changed when he reached Bombay)
"In every life there are people who resemble Hindi films"
"In Bombay nobody had time for me"
(Talking about the initial hardships he faced when he was looking to act in Bombay)
"Bheega hua aadmi baarish se nahi darta"
(A man drenched in water is not afraid of rain - A lesson in life Mr. Kher's grandfather wrote to him when Mr. Kher contemplated leaving his dream of acting and return to his hometown)
"For all of Saaransh I got Rs. 10,000"
(Playing an old man at the age of 27, Mr. Kher's breakthrough performance came in the movie Saaransh)
"My ghar ka naam is Bittoo"
("My name at home is Bittoo - Mr. Kher gets personal)
"Lessons My Father Taught Me Unknowingly - can be my next book. I don't know"
(Talking about the title of his next book, if ever he writes another book, Mr. Kher said that the only thing he can write about next is about his father)
"I am always ready to make a fool of myself"
"Failure can teach you much more than success. To me failure is multidimensional and success is single dimensional"
"I am a people oriented person and I genuinely like listening to people's stories. I am a good listener"
(On why people feel at ease talking about their lives with him)
"Cinema and acting are not my life, but a part of my life"
"I don't want to carry the burden of being someone else, I want to be myself"
"Meditation is concentration"
"When you are poor, the cheapest thing you have is happiness"