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Anupam Kher: “I’ve Never Cared About The Naysayers”

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Anupam Kher’s appointment as the new chairperson of  the FTII  hardly comes as surprise. Among all the denizens of  Bollywood he is the one of the  most qualified .

Anupam who has been fielding questions on his sudden appointment while travelling to promote his new film Ranchi Diaries which opens this week, took time off to talk to me.

“Yes  it  is  a hectic time. Ever since I started working I’ve made sure I am always working. I hate free time. I’d  love to be doing something  or the other with every moment of my life. That’s why you will  never hear me  say two things, ‘I am too busy’ or ‘I am bored’. I can never be too busy to do  anything. My father taught me one thing:if you want to do something you will make  time for it.”

Which brings  us  to the new job on Anupam Kher’s hands as the FTII chief. Considering he is already so super-engaged  with various activities how will he fit the new stint into his timetable?

Sighs Anupam, “Aren’t you  listening to what I’m saying?Aisa kuch bhi nahin hai jo main karna chahta aur nahin kar pata(there’s nothing I want to do that I can’t).I have to admit this new responsibility came to  me out of the blue. I got a call from the I& B ministry on Tuesday and on Wednesday I was on.  I’ve had no time to think about how when what where…. All I know is, I am fully  prepared for this new challenge, as I’ve been for all the challenges that God has been  kind enough to throw at me.”

What does Anupam have to say about the murmers of protest specially regarding the “clash of interest” that the FTII job poses  with his own acting school?

“Oh them!”  he scoffs at  the protesters. “They have always been around whenever I have been given a governmental  position.When I was made the  chairperson  of  the CBFC they said there would be a clash of interest with my relationship with producers and the film fraternity. When I  took up stage acting very seriously they said there would be  a clash of interest with my film assignments…so if they had not come  forward now I’d have missed them….But no, I am not worried about any clash of interest. I prioritize my various commitments in avery systematic  way.”

Has he  thought  of  what  he would like to do at the FTII? “It is too early to start planning. I first  need to appraise the situation meet all my team members there. From what I gather the FTII is running smoothly, so I won’t ruffle  the status quo just to let the world know  of my presence. But yes, eventually there will be changes…I’ve never been scared of failing.If I was I wouldn’t have played a 65-year old man when I was only 25(in MaheshBhatt’s Saaraansh). Today when I  approaching  65 I don’t think there is any responsibility I wouldn’t be up to.”

Anupam says he  enjoys every challenge equally. “I had already started making Ranchi Diaries in Jharkhand when I  suggested to the local administration, why not have  proper film industry in the state?  Dhoni was shot there, so was Begum Jaan. They said, yes why not? By the time I landed back in Mumbai they had already appointed me the chairperson of  the Jharkhand Film Development Corporation. I decided, why not? Every challenge is  fine by me. I am being asked why I did that small role in Judwaa 2? I did it for the fun of being in both parts  of the franchise  and  for my long association with David Dhawan. I don’t forget friends or abandon  associations as per my convenience or inconvenience. I  think that’s one reason why I am given such huge responsibilities.”

What  would Anupam like  to say to the students  of FTII?  “Wait and watch. Let me first catch my breath, interact with you and then let me do my job. Judge me after that.”

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