I want to spread my optimism: Anupam Kher (Interview)

By Ruchika Kher, IANS
Saturday, November 13, 2010

MUMBAI - Anything is possible - that’s what he believes in deeply. And now versatile actor Anupam Kher, a diehard optimist, is to translate his life’s philosophy into motivating others through inspiring lectures.

Anupam is taking on the avatar of a motivation speaker as part of a worldwide programme, called Power Within, he is launching early next year.

“I’m a great optimist and I have lived a life which has had its own ups and downs, and I have never indulged in self-pity or bitterness… the only way to live is to live optimistically and the only way to live is to decide to be happy,” Anupam, 55, told IANS in an interview.

The actor, who has worked in more than 400 films, has already lectured in many international and national universities and even to corporates. He will officially launch the programme in February or March 2011.

IANS caught up with the Padma Shri awardee to ask him more about his latest venture.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: Tell us something about this programme Power Within.

A: Power Within will be launched officially early next year in February or March. Till then I will continue doing what I’m doing. For the last almost two years I have been lecturing at various places, which come under the bracket of motivational lectures. The idea is to spread my optimism. I’m a great optimist and I have lived a life which has had its own ups and downs and I have never indulged in self-pity or bitterness. So basically the idea is to make people understand that there is no point dwelling upon your shortcomings, failures or setbacks. One should turn them into something positive because the only way to live is to live optimistically and the only way to live is to decide to be happy.

Q: What prompted you to become a motivational speaker?

A: I believe that if you have not made a difference in anybody’s life, life is not worth it. Also my autobiographical play “Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai” was the major thing that prompted me to go deeper into this. I was always positive and optimistic but this play was the culmination of all those things that zeroed down on my philosophy of life that anything is possible. That’s when I decided to do something about this programme.

Q: What do you think goes in your favour as a motivational speaker?

A: What is my plus point in giving these lectures is that I have lived it, I don’t have to borrow examples, I don’t have to read a book and say that this is written in that book, my theory is based on my book, my life. So since it’s on a life lived, it’s a culmination of that, it’s much more direct. That’s why I don’t make powerpoint presentations or I don’t write notes. I just understand the kind of audience that I get and then talk. I always feel that being yourself can be the most difficult thing in the world and can also be the easiest thing in the world. You need to choose and I choose being myself.

Q: Till now where all have you lectured?

A: I have done it in Kellogg School of Management, University of Maryland, Illinois Institute of Technology. In India, I have taken lectures in various organizations of corporates like Tata, Chartered Accountants Organization of Bombay, many IITs, IIMS, etc.

Q: So what has the audience response been like till now?

A: The response is fantastic. Lots of people come up to me and say that it actually made a difference to their lives. I’m a people-oriented person and wherever I have spoken, it has made a difference in people’s mindsets or at least they have done a certain kind of retrospection. Also my lectures are based on a certain kind of humour because I make maximum fun of myself; that makes it interesting. Then there is a lot of audience participation. I get a member of the audience on stage and tell him to get rid of his inhibitions and stuff; so it’s a very interactive kind of thing.

Q: Do you remember any of your weak moments when someone motivated you?

A: When I was a struggling actor that was the most difficult part of my life, those three years from 1981 to 1984 till I got “Saaransh” were tough. But I survived on motivational lives. I survived on autobiographies of Charlie Chaplin, “Lust For Life” - autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh, Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography and even Pandit Nehru’s. Then I realized that these great people have also gone through so much, so what if I’m also going through tough times, I’ll make it one day and then I’ll talk about my life. That kept me going. Even my grandfather’s stories helped me; I used to remember them.

Q: You are an actor, you have acting schools, a talent company, a foundation, your own play and many other things. How do you manage so many things together? How do you balance your life?

A: My grandfather used to say that a busy man has time for everything; so I follow that.

Q: You said that you have always been an optimist, but have you ever regretted anything that you have done personally or professionally?

A: No I don’t look at life like that. I have no regrets, I’m very happy to be born in the family I’ve been born in, comical, strange, all kinds of people. I don’t look at regrets. I feel sad and disappointed sometimes but the optimist in me is so strong that it washes everything else.

(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at ruchika.k@ians.in)

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