Keep politics away from farm laws: Anupam Kher

Stressing that it is important to ascertain that farmers’ concerns are addressed, and that their true representatives constantly meet the government to break the deadlock, actor Anupam Kher believes that while the present government at the Centre would want to solve their problems, it was paramount that politics be kept away from the farm laws. “A section of people are trying to hijack the cause. They are the ones who created anti-CAA protests. Some people had major issues with the abolition of Triple Talaq and Article 370. But we have seen that these changes have been for good. I would like to believe that the new agricultural laws will benefit the farmers.”

Kher, whose latest book ‘Your Best Day Is Today’, published by Hay House India recently hit the stands, says that it is a result of a strong urge to confront his fears, uncertainties and sense of never giving up during the period of pandemic and lockdown. Adding that he wanted to focus on the fact that it was a temporary phase, the actor adds, “As I landed in Mumbai from New York, the city was unrecognisable. I had never seen it so completely deserted. The first three-four days were tough as many family members were elsewhere and I had to be quarantined for 14 days.”

Calling himself the eternal optimist, the veteran actor says that considering the fear during the initial days, it made all the sense to pen down his thoughts. “The best way to get rid of your fear is to write them down — that is how this book came about. In my entire existence of 39 years in Mumbai, I had never heard the sound of the koel and audible chirping of birds outside my house, nor seen a clear blue sky. It seemed nature also wanted some respite and cleaning — we humans had somehow forgotten that there were other animals and birds on the earth besides us. This pause seemed to have been important. Precisely why though there were tough days and tough times — I was losing my friends to cancer, covid but I had to keep myself going.”

Kher, whose mother, brother and many other family members were diagnosed with Covid-19, complimenting the health workers for their commitment, says, “Sadly, so many people were going that death became a statistic rather than a reality — in a way it took away the fear of death in me. In your 60’s, one tends to think that the end of life is closer and you don’t want to talk about it, there is a certain superstition around it.”

Also, I never thought that I would take a social media detox ever in my life. I did that for 20 days and went and shot for a film. When you’re faced with a situation like this, the best thing is to challenge oneself and see how much steel one has inside. I have tried that and luckily, I have triumphed against every tragedy, set back — isn’t that what liberation is all about?”

Talk to him about his advice to readers not to consume too much news, and Kher laughs that more than information, news has become all about interpretation. “Sadly, news is nothing about anything that is good. During my young days in Shimla, the kind of violent news that used to be on page 8 or 9 is now usually on page one. Information one needs somehow reaches us. So, why sleep with the thought that we live in a very dangerous world. Why wake up with fear? There are certain things you can avoid to feel that you are at a better place.”

Asserting that the recent phenomenon of major films being premiered on OTT platforms is a positive development, the actor feels that it is important to change with the times. “Producers have spent a lot of money on films that were supposed to release in theatres but could not owing to the pandemic. Let’s be clear that digital platforms are a reality now. My grandmother would make food on the angithi, mother on a gas, and now it is the microwave. We need to adapt. Also, we will have better content with more films coming on digital platforms. One is always at the mercy of the audience. People are not paying to see you in particular. The moment you start boring them, they change to another film or programme. This is bound to raise the standard of performances, movies, and cinema in general. And yes, theatres will bounce back when audiences feel safe enough to go there — that culture is not going away anywhere.”

No immediate plans of writing another book soon, the actor says that things might change in a year or so if new ideas come to him. “I can write only about things that I have gone through and cannot really ‘form’ a book. I don’t really feel a need to communicate anything that I have not gone through.”

Talking about the kind of roles that interest him now, Kher, who recently completed the film ‘The Last Show’ and is working on another one titled ‘Kashmir Files’ says that actors mature with years and the way he approaches a role now has changed. “Earlier, it was about impressing, now it is about expressing. I like to be a part of sensitive human stories, and look at the role and the director who is going to handle the script. Of course, money is important too because I believe that one’s hard work should be remunerated. However, most importantly, now I want to make a difference in people’s lives — through my writings and motivational lectures. One sees so many people unhappy about little things.”