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Terrorism does not have specific religion: Anupam Kher
On a promotional tour of Akshay Kumar starrer Baby, versatile actor Anupam Kher speaks to TWF correspondent Deepayan Sinha in Kolkata about the film, his other works, about terrorism and the censor board resignation row
Share your working experience with Baby director Neeraj Pandey.
I love working with Neeraj Pandey. He is a great director, he has a clarity of mind, his subjects are very, very impressive. Either it is 'A Wednesday!' or working for 'Special 26' and now 'Baby'., it is a delight to work with him He is a great writer also. Very preciously he writes fantastic stories and gets maximum results. Neeraj is a perfectionist. He knows very well what to do exactly. He also does home work.
Say something about your character in 'Baby'.
Though I appear in the second half in this film, my character is very interesting. I play a technical engineer's role in this movie who is an undercover agent and provides technical support to other team members. My character's name is Om Prakash Shukla who hacks the enemies' systems. So, the whole unit is dependent on each other. Om Prakash Shukla is on precision and and he likes the perfect planning, but unfortunately Ajay (Akshay) likes to change the plan in the last moment.
What is the theme of this film?
The main theme of this film is patriotism which was one of my most favourite genres. This film deals with terrorism, which now has become unfortunately a global phenomena.
What are the reactions 'Baby' getting?
Reactions are super. We have shown the film to the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, to the Indian Army and Airforce people. They all loved the film. This film is a tribute to the unknown faces of security agencies. We don't know the people of army, airforce, navy, police, home guards who works for our country, for our securities. We don't have any idea about undercover security agencies, neither we know their name nor their works. But they solve everyday a lot of problems, save us from many attacks. For instance, recently they challenged a boat of Pakistan near Porbandar after getting specific information and foiled a terrorist attack. Nobody knows about their heroism. They don't get publicity, so it's a tribute to all of them.
This film is released in the week of Republic Day, do you think it is the perfect time to release this movie?
This film has been released on Netaji Shubhas Chandra Bose's birthday (Jan 23), who was one of the greatest leaders of pre-independent India and ahead of Republic Day. I think the director has planned to release this movie in this week to get boost. Obviously this is the perfect time to release this movie. But I feel that nationalistic and patriotic feeling will be there 365 days in every Indian. Obama's visit also plays an important role. Obama and our Prime minister Narendra Modi are very active in dealing with terrorism. So, I think it is a very good week for this film. Hope this film should reach the larger audience, it should be seen by a lot of people. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should watch this movie. When I was watching it, I felt national pride in being an Indian. This film will show how terrorism can be killed, so this is a very important time to watch this movie.
You said in an interview earlier that 'Baby' is one of the best films of Akshay Kumar....
Yes, according to me 'Baby' is the best film of Akshay in his career.
Why do you think so?
I think so because, he enters into his character completely, he is very good in this film and very believable too. If you are a popular hero, it is very difficult to act such kind of character. But he does it perfectly. And actions are also real, nothing is absurd in this film.
Does the film touch the attack of 26/11 ?
Not like that. This film was shot one and half years ago. There is one scene in our film, which is similar to the boat-blast incident of Porbandar. Unfortunately we have to live with terrorism. This film gives you the solution on how we can catch the terrorists before they give the final shape to the act of terrorism, which is fantastic.
You are also a very good stage actor but you are not doing enough dramas....
Yes, I have a play at Rabindra Sadan (in Kolkata). Actually there are very few opportunities and and limited scope in plays. Drama needs a good promotion to bring back it's huge popularity.
We observed a bulk resignation in Indian censor board. As a former member of censor board how will you react?
I think it is a political move. I think Leela Samson was technically wrong about it because, there are three stages in censor board to pass a movie. First a film goes to examine committee and then to revise committee if rejected in examine committee. If a film is rejected by both committees, then the producer has the last chance to go to the tribunal. The particular film went through all stages and it was passed by the tribunal. And secondly I think Leela Samson ji whom I don't know personally, had her 10 years period already over and she got extension in her job. She spoke of the interference, but I don't think so. Because I never had to deal with any interference. Actually this was a media hype. Good news are not news and bad news are always breaking news.
Pakistan censor board bans this film in their country. They said that you had used the names of Muslim community's people as terrorists. Your reaction..
It is a very bad decision. There are three actors in this film from Pakistan. Pakistan itself is the victim of terrorism. Many innocent people lost their lives in terror attacks there. I don't think that every Muslim is terrorist. Terrorism doesn't have any specific religion or any specific country or any specific face. Anybody can kill innocent people. They never have a religion. So, you can never kill anybody taking the name of religion. And this step of Pakistan will help this film to reach to the greater number of audiences. Negative promotion sometimes plays useful role in film.
Say about your upcoming films....
My next film is 'Roy' where I have a guest appearance. Then I have another film 'Dirty Politics'.
Opportunities in film career in Kolkata...
I run a film acting school. I have plans to open a school here in Kolkata because there are so many talents. But the opportunities in Kolkata are not good enough.
Want to do Bengali movie?
Yes, of course. I produced a successful Bengali movie 'Bariwali' with Rituparno Ghosh which won national awards. Actually the directors and producers of Bengali film industry don't offer me roles. If I get, will surely act in Bengali movie.
Do you think Kiran Bedi will be a good chief minister if she is voted to power?
Yes, I think so. Because, she is a great administrator and a very honest person. She will be a very good chief minister of Delhi.
Images by Avishek Mitra
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