March 15, 2010

Discovering oneself, key to contentment

By Anupam Kher.

As an actor with over 400 films in my repertoire, it has been my privilege to travel the world and meet several hundreds of people engaged in a wide spectrum of endeavours. From presidents to commoners, from billionaires to paupers. For me, this is not a privilege to be taken lightly as I enjoy meeting people. I also find it a very stimulating exercise to analyse them.
Actually, I find that I have a gift of analysing people. As I talk to them, I sometimes wonder what kind of lives they must be leading, what kinds of backgrounds they come from, the families they have raised and what makes them tick. Certainly, my calling as a trained actor has helped hone this process as understanding your character and getting under his skin makes your portrayal more convincing.
But for me, it has not stopped at analysing others. I have constantly tried to analyse myself and reinvent myself. You cannot be emoting the same way as say, a father, in 50 films. You have to be different and reinvent yourself. And that process begins only when you rediscover yourself.
That process of rediscovery for me began when I was contemplating my one-man play Kuchh bhi ho sakta hai some years ago. Here I was, a very successful actor if you count the number of films I had done.
And judging from critical acclaim, I was not doing too bad a job of it either.
For a boy who had grown up in the family of a lower division clerk in Shimla with dreams for company, I had fame and fortune beyond my wildest imagination.
And then, like it happens to most of us, the dreams got the better of me. I thought I had the Midas touch and nothing could go wrong. As was the fashion a decade ago, I too set up a huge production house to make ‘software’ for the industry.

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