My dear friend Anupam Kher is a very passionate man. He doesn’t like to let go of any opportunities in life. Which is why he takes on a Saaraansh with as much excitement as a Kya Kool Hain Hum, although the two are as different as Rajesh Khanna is fromMukesh Khanna.And the other brings him flak for being a greedy actor.
But as he told me, when one has been jobless and seeking ways to make one’s life worthwhile for many years, the hunger to take optimum opportunities is a given.
To Anupam work is not worship , it is a war-ship…He treats every minute as a visit to the warzone optimizing his energy to top-up the frenzy of the moment. For Anupam every day is a tall large glass of lather, foamy and heady at the top, deeply invigorating at the bottom.
It was no surprise when he agreed to become the chairperson of the FTII. I was not so sure there was room for more in life and then he had his own acting school.Was it even ethical to take on the chairpersonship of a film school?
“Anupam, this is a very tricky job. Would you be able to do it?” I asked.
Anupam lectured me on time management and how it was possible to do anything one wanted to as long as one had the will to do it.
Fair enough. But soon after it became clear that the FTII was not going to see much of Anupam. He was , as usual, here there everywhere while the serious problems of the FTII needed urgent and sustained attention. Anupam was like a band-aid put on a gaping wound.
I think his decision to opt out of his responsibilities as chairperson of the FTII was a good one. I think Naseeruddin Shah had a hand in i. Some time ago Naseer was quoted as saying, “Where is he(Anupam)? How can I comment on his work when he’s hardly ever at the FTII? I don’t think he’s been there more than twice. I am told that he’s not seen there very often. If he chooses to spend some more time at the institute, we’ll get to see the work and be able to comment on it. Till then, what can I say?”
The entertainment industry knows there isn’t much love lost between Anupam and Naseer. Attempts at projecting a façade of bonhomie notwithstanding, the two stalwarts have always been at war , secretly or otherwise. I think Naseer must have made Anupamre-think about his responsibilities at the FTII.
Was it fair for him to hold on to his prestigious post when he was unable to give it the time and attention it urgently needs? I thinkAnupam needs to become more selective about his work load. He must realize that after reaching the pinnacle that he has in his career he need not be a famished opportunity-seeker any longer.
That it’s okay to say no to opportunities even if they are big, SPECIALLY if they are big. Because with big opportunities come big responsibilities.
I remember when Anupam came home a couple of years ago. He was full of beans, clicking pictures with my cook maid and man-Friday,arguing me down to helpless submission, ticking off a guest for not giving us(Anupam and I)alone-time together.
Then he said he wanted to see my workplace. I took him to my room. He looked around and then without warning, lay down on the bed in the room.
“Just for a quick power nap,” he said before shutting out the world.
Sometimes, it’s good to simply stop in the middle of hectic activity and shut one’s eyes for a few minutes.