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Anupam Kher’s Resignation Should Surprise No One



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.


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