ANUPAM KHER |He is an award-winning actor and best-selling author and has appeared in over 500 Bollywood and Hollywood movies like Silver Linings Playbook. The actor speaks with Shalini Saksena about his recently released book on the pandemic and lockdown and why he chose to auction an hour of his time for charity
How did you partner with CharityBuzz.com to raise funds for Magic Bus India Foundation?
I am very happy that we can leverage a huge platform like this for a great organisation like Magic Bus. I am proud to be doing this for an organisation that has transformed the loves of one million children and young people and has ensured that children on their programme to complete secondary education, have delayed their marriage and go on to get jobs in the organised sector. I urge my fans and supporters to join us in this great cause and make a bid.
What made you auction an hour of your time?
No one could have imagined an event of this magnitude. The country as a whole has been affected, people without jobs, there is scarcity of food, people migrating to their villages and unfortunately children and young people have faced the consequences too with an interruption in their education and halt in their hunt for jobs. Thankfully organisations like Magic Bus are doing some tremendous work in helping affected families and it is our duty too help in whatever way we can. This organisation is doing great work with its COVID-19 recovery plan to revive incomes and get back on their feet by connecting them to employment opportunities. As an actor if my interaction can ensure that no children drops out from school, I am happy to give my time.
Most Indians don’t do much for charity. How important is it for us to give back to society in some form or the other?
First of all, I don’t agree that Indians don’t do charity. Not everyone wants to publicise what they do. Many people do the same quietly. I think people in India, over the last few years have become more conscious about giving back and it has become stronger after COVID-19. They are making a difference and contributing and changing the landscape of giving in India. If we all contribute, we will be able to send at least one more child to school, give one more young person a stable job and bring one more family out of poverty. The task seems mammoth, but if we work together, we can see that change coming.
Would you agree that films are a medium that can change the mindset of the society?
Films are a reflection of our society so they can change. But the message can’t be that obvious so it is important for people to take out that message. Otherwise, films are there to entertain and out of entertainment there lies a message, people are smart enough to take it.
A lesson that life has taught you thus far?
That there is no alternative to hard work and honesty.
You are a public figure and what you say carries weight. Does it bother you when it gets misconstrued or people troll what you have said?
As long as I am honest with what I have said and am truthful it doesn’t bother me because my grandfather used to say that when you are telling the truth you don’t have to remember it so stick to it. I don’t really get bothered by trolls, sometimes you give them attention, sometimes you ignore them.
You have been part of Bollywood and Hollywood. Are they different?
They are different from a language point of view; they are different from a professional point of view. But both the industries are of story-tellers. Sometimes you tell great stories, sometimes you tell stories that don’t connect with people.
From an actor to an author to a teacher to a motivational speaker. What role do you love the most?
It is difficult to choose. Sometimes when I am acting, I am very happy, when I am writing a book, it is the author, when I am at public functions and speaking, I love the role of a motivational speaker. I love to make a difference in people’s lives, I am a people’s person and love connecting with them and if my conversation and eternal optimism can help, I am a happy man.
What are your upcoming projects?
I have already completed a film —The Last Show with Satish Kaushik. I am also the producer here. Then there is my podcast Anupam Cares on iHeartRadio on Spotify and Apple. Then there is my book Your Best Day Is Today, it is about my experiences of the pandemic and lockdown.