“Special 26 is cheeky, fast-paced, light hearted thriller” – Anupam Kher
In an illustrious career spanning over 450 films, Anupam Kher has portrayed a variety of characters with solid conviction. He is now super-excited about his next film Special 26 which sees him in a completely new light. In an exclusive interview with Bollywood Hungama’s Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Kher talks about re-uniting again with his ‘A Wednesday’ director Neeraj Pandey, the asli power of Special 26, his fondness for Akshay Kumar, and the euphoria surrounding his big Hollywood release Silver Linings Playbook that has bagged 8 Oscar nominations. You don’t wanna miss reading this one…
When an actor of your caliber has such an impressive body of work, it’s hard to pick favourites; yet you seem to be mighty kicked about Special 26. What’s the main reason for that?
Special 26 is a cheeky, fast-paced and light hearted thriller. It doesn’t give you time to think and I feel it even has a great repeat value. Every time a character challenges the actor in me, I get lot to bite on. I always believe in re-discovering the actor in me. When you have a team like the one we have in Special 26, you have no excuse but to be perfect. Then I push myself to give my best. Life is about re-inventing yourself as a person and only when you grow as a person, you grow as an actor.
The promos have generated tremendous buzz, especially your dialogue ‘Asli Power Dil Mein Hoti Hai’. Who came up with that gem of a line?
It was always there in Neeraj Pandey’s script. The script is the real hero of the film. Neeraj’s script is so foolproof that very rarely do you have to make any changes.
In the recent past a lot of people feel that Neeraj Pandey’s A Wednesday is among your best works. Do you think he has outdone himself this time with Special 26?
He certainly has and I will leave that for the audience to decide. Neeraj Pandey is my godfather of the New Millennium. He is one of the most remarkable filmmakers I’ve worked with in my whole career. In 4 years since A Wednesday, he has matured even more and has only got better with each passing day like wine.
Tell us something more about your character in the film…
Special 26 gave me an opportunity to play a character which has two shades to it. One is that of an ordinary person, a middle-class farmer in Punjab who has 8 kids and is devoted to his family. The same man then becomes this great trickster and slaps people around as he is now posing as a tough CBI officer. It’s a character with a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour.
You seem to be sharing great camaraderie with your co-star Akshay Kumar. Are you happy to see him doing different kinds of films?
Hats off to Akshay Kumar for being part of an ensemble cast. He is a big star for a film like this. He just surrendered himself completely to Neeraj Pandey’s vision. He brings his stardom yet he re-invents himself completely as an actor. It’s remarkable how Akshay has evolved as an actor and a person. We bonded big time. I loved spending time with him. He is very genuine, very disciplined and very punctual. When you are punctual and disciplined, you respect other actors. He is a warm Punjabi guy who believes in jhappis. He is a good listener which is the greatest quality about any person. He keeps re-inventing himself with his choice of films and enjoys great connect with the audience.