Saaransh to DDLJ: Anupam Kher Is B’wood’s Coolest ‘Daddy’ & More
Before ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ hits screens, here’s looking back at Anupam Kher’s best performances.
When you think Anupam Kher, you think Daddy, the film and an actual Papa bear. Having clocked in about 34 years in the Indian film industry, he’s Bollywood’s most coveted Dad. From tyrannical, to laid-back to jovial, to cool - Anupam Kher has played the father figure with a striking flourish.
But there’s more to Kher’s oeuvre. Not trapped by genres, he slips into comedic, empathetic and villainous roles with assured flair.
With a formidable body of over 500 films, the 63-year-old actor Anupam Kher received the Outstanding Achievement in Cinema award at the 19th edition of International Indian Film Academy Awards in Bangkok - IIFA 2018.
The veteran actor has piqued our curiosity again with his Manmohan Singh avatar. Before The Accidental Prime Minister hits the screens, here’s looking back at some of his most memorable performances.
It was his portrayal of BV Pradhan, a man grieving the death of his only son killed in a mugging incident in New York that made the audience and B-Town sit up and take notice. Only 28 at the time, he played the part of a 60-year-old retired headmaster.
Saaransh was India’s official entry for the 1985 Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category. One of the scenes from the Mahesh Bhatt directorial, where Kher has a meltdown in the office of a customs officer while telling him that he shouldn’t have to bribe his way to get his son’s ashes marks his brilliance as a debutant.
“I simply remembered all the miseries and humiliations I’d faced as a struggling actor in Mumbai. I told Mahesh I didn’t want any rehearsals or glycerin and the shot taken in an office in Film City, was okayed in one take and is unforgettable.”Anupam Kher
Kher bagged a National Award (Special Jury) for his nuanced performance as an alcoholic man in Mahesh Bhatt’s autobiographical film, Daddy. His compassionate portrayal once again gave viewers a glimpse of Kher’s wide range.
In an interview to Hindustan Times, Kher said, “Daddy was a very unconventional take on a father-daughter relationship. You can’t have every performance as a masterpiece. Daddy is a milestone in everyone’s life. I meet so many people who say the film made their life and improved their relationship with their father...The speech at the end and the ghazal song, Aaina Mujhse Meri Pehli Si Surat Maange was so moving that we, especially Pooja, broke down. There are some haunting visuals that stay in your mind because of the pain on the face of the characters in the film. That’s why these are called landmark films in one’s career.”
Ram Lakhan (1989)
Anupam Kher’s ability to inhabit the skin of diverse characters became conspicuous with this Subhash Ghai directorial. He switched gears with a rare fluidity. Kher even bagged the award for the best performance in a comic role for this film starring Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Madhuri Dixit and Dimple Kapadia. His portrayal of Deodhar Shastri was commended for the comic timing.
Kher may not have been one of the leads of the film, which was way ahead of its time but Lamhe would lose its lustre, if not for the goofy antics of Kher. It earned him another Filmfare Award for his performance in a comic role. His uproarious partnership with Sridevi gave us the iconic parody of Bollywood songs - a format that almost became a template in Bollywood.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
Anupam Kher blazed the trail with his portrayal of a liberal father asking his son, essayed by Shah Rukh Khan, to grab life by the lapels. He played the version of a dad that we all would hanker for - Fail hona aur padhai na karna ... hamare khandaan ki parampara ha. Don’t you wish your father said that? Kher played a father who accepted his son with his flaws and celebrated failure too.
The romantic drama was one of the biggest musical blockbusters of the 90s and was was even remade in Telugu. Playing Hajari Lal, the penny-wise, greedy father of Aamir Khan was another step forward for Anupam Kher in proving his comedic prowess.
Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006)
Anupam Kher brings the haplessness of a middle class father putting up a fight against corruption and bureaucracy to Kamal Kishore Khosla, a retired service class man in Delhi, in the Dibakar Bannerjee directorial.
Some Honourable Mentions:
Papa Kehte Hain
Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi
Bend Like Beckham
Silver Linings Playbook
Maine Gandhi Ko Nahi Maara
Mast Kalandar may have earned the repute of being one of the ‘worst’ Bollywood films - the ones that are classified as so bad they’re good but Anupam Kher played the role of Pinku, one of the first flamboyantly gay characters on Indian screen.
May Anupam Kher never lose his audacious spirit as an actor!
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