Anupam Kher talks about Boycott culture, reinventing himself as an actor
On August 20, actor Anupam Kher appeared in an interview with Times Now Group editor Navika Kumar on his show Frankly Speaking. During the interview, Kher touched on several topics, including the boycott trend that happened in several movies, and explained that it didn’t hurt the movie. “If the movie is good, people will see it,” the actor said.
During the interview, Anupam Kher said, “They have to live with it now. They have to live with that fact now that I’m a nationalist. I love my country. Anyone who loves my country, I will love that person. Tomorrow, if I feel that Rahul Gandhi loves this country, I will be his good friend. Tomorrow, if Sonia Gandhi Ji thinks this country is the best thing that ever happened to her, I will be with them. Denying that he said Congress leaders didn’t like the country, he said: “Rahul Gandhi’s tweets I’ve seen, the only thing he does is criticize people who are doing a good job.”
When Kher was asked if he turned to foreign films because his movies weren’t doing well in Bollywood, the actor replied that it wasn’t. He said: “My last film, The Kashmir Files, did very well at the box office. I have been part of many blockbusters in Bollywood. Even in Kartikey 2, even though my role only lasted 10 minutes, I’m glad it did well at the box office.
Navika asked Kher about the series of flops Bollywood has been giving lately. She pointed out that 27 of the 30 recently released films did not perform at the box office. Kher said, “During the pandemic, something changed in the audience. Everyone was affected at some level. He added that OTT has played a vital role in the way Indians view entertainment. He said, “When people are done with Indian cinema on OTT platforms, they watch Malayalam, Tamil, Korean and other language cinema. They unknowingly discovered that there was a lot more entertainment than what they had watched before.
Talking about Laal Singh Chaddha and Rakshabandhan, which failed at the box office, Kher said, “I haven’t watched any of the films. Maybe they weren’t good movies. Maybe RRR, KGF and Pushpa were better films and related to people. We have to do some soul-searching about what we want to do. Do we want to make bubblegum movies or fake movies? Are we going to look at what is more real, more India-centric? All South Indian movies are very India centric.
“No one thought Kashmir Files would do so well”
Speaking of The Kashmir Files, he said, “No one had thought that a film made on a budget of 15-20 crore without songs and based on genocide would work. At the same time, Bhool Bhulaiya 2 has done more than 150 crores in business. Even Gangubai did well. Those movies that didn’t do well, maybe they need to look at it in a different way. Maybe Aamir Khan took five years to make this movie, and in those five years the audience changed.
During the interview, Kher mentioned that he charged 1/5 of his fee for Kashmir Files because he wanted to do the movie. “I have worked for the cause for 30 years. Don’t teach me what to do and what not to do. You don’t come to know what happened during that time. Stop telling me what to do. It won’t make any difference. Calling allegations that Kashmir Files led to attacks on Hindus in the valley as “nonsense”, he questioned whether the terrorist attacks happening around the world and the killings of Muslims in the valley were due at Kashmir Files.
He added, “In this way, movies that feature rape, murder, swearing should be seen as the cause of such incidents happening in society. Anurag Kashyap movies have swear words. Should we blame his movies for kids as young as eight using swear words?
“I am not part of mainstream films”
Kher pointed out that it was no longer part of the mainstream films as the offers did not come. He said, “I have done films by Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra, Sajid Nadiawala. I don’t blame them for not offering me roles. I found my calling during this period. I made a movie called connect in Tamil. I’m sure it will do well because it’s a horror movie with a story around the pandemic. He mentioned other projects he’s been involved in lately and said, “I’m sure these films will do well at the box office.”
Kher said he might have been depressed because his old friends weren’t casting him, but during that time he found more ways. “When a door closes, so many windows open. I rediscover myself as an actor. Suddenly so many things happened. Reinvention is important.
“I am disappointed with Anurag Kashyap’s statement”
Talking about the statement that filmmaker Anurag Kashyap made recently that he would be fine if RRR went to the Oscars, Kashmir Files is not expected to be selected to represent India. He said: “I am disappointed with the statement he made. He can vouch for RRR. It’s a great movie. But doesn’t he have the right to say about Kashmir Files that it should not be selected? Why? It was loved by critics. It’s a well-made film about the genocide. [His] statement was in poor taste.
“The boycott does not harm films”
Speaking about Arjun Kapoor’s statement, Kher said, “I know Arjun personally. I don’t know who he was mad at. But he has to be careful what he says. We all need it. The boycott does not harm films. A few years ago, people wanted there to be controversy around their films so that people would go see them. I know that; I am part of the system. A few years ago, in 2015, Aamir Khan made some controversial statements, and after that his movie Dangal was released which was an all time hit in India.
He added: “Everyone has freedom of expression. If someone says they don’t want to see the film, that’s their right. But telling them we’re going to do something about it is not the right way. If the movie is good and the audience likes it, there’s no way it won’t do well.
When Navika asked about people’s comment that Kashmir Files did well at the box office because Prime Minister Modi endorsed it, Kher said, “In that case, his biography starring Vivek Oberoi would have did well at the box office. Did it?” He added, “It’s childish to say that if their movies didn’t do well, but ours did, it’s because we favor Modi Ji. You are a bad loser [for saying so].”
He said whatever anyone said in the past will come back and bite him. “I tweeted under the previous government [UPA] that the price of gasoline has increased and that my driver would not come by bike. I always pay for the tweet. People ask me why I’m not talking now.