'Brilliance has one language'

Despite being no stranger to awards, nominations, accolades and great roles, Anupam Kher retains his down-to-earth persona, even at a time when David Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, co-starring Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence has bagged eight Oscar nominations and has been making news worldwide. 

Yet, Golden Globes (where Lawrence won the Best Actress in a Comic Role for her role in Silver..) was a ceremony that Anupam chose to miss because he wanted to promote Neeraj Pandey’s Special 26. “I am very fond of Neeraj. He’s like family. Both of us are there for each other and so it was right that I stay back for Special 26.”

A film about tricksters, con men with treatment which promises to be tongue-in-cheek, the film sounds like a smart entertainer and of a different genre. “It’s like a cat and mouse game – almost Tom and Jerry. Charming film,” says Kher warmly.

The promos seem to suggest that he is a mentor to Akshay Kumar in the film. Is that correct? “It may appear like that but nobody is anyone’s mentor. I am playing Sharmaji (aka L N Sharma) from Punjab who has several kids. It is kind of a double role where he is different at home and a completely different man outside. At home, he is a very darpok (scared) chap, unsure of himself kind of a character while outside he poses as a CBI officer, conning people. A very different role indeed.”

Anupam maintains that A Wednesday is one of the finest films of his career. Has Special 26 also turned out to be equally so? “I submit to Neeraj’s brilliance. He has etched out the characters so beautifully that the joy of acting is much more. One wants to give 200 per cent. There are two different aspects to Sharmaji’s character but one knows exactly how the graph will shape up. There lies the joy of it.”

It took this veteran of over 450 films and a 100 plays with an experience of over 30 years to be part of a film that is making news worldwide – the Silver Linings Playbook. How does it feel? “I am a fortunate Indian actor, fortunate enough to be counted among the best in the world. I will be present at the Screen Actors Guild Awards where I have been nominated personally and for the Oscars.”

In Silver… Anupam plays Dr Cliff Patel, “a dysfunctional therapist, who is treating other dysfunctional people. David Russell has put together a great ensemble cast.” Would a comparison between Special 26 and Silver Linings… be fair? “For me, both Special 26 and Silver Linings Playbook are equally important because brilliance has one language. There are no rules that it follows.” Sounds just like Anupam Kher.  

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