Anupam Kher had won the ‘Oscar’ in his mind, but Richard Attenborough did not give him the role

Anupam Kher: Anupam Kher has acted in more than five hundred films so far. His work is also appreciated in Hollywood. He also made him memorable forever by breathing life into many of his characters, but he was very sorry for not getting a role in a film. Anupam Kher, who reached the silver screen through theatre, was ready to play any character in that film, but things did not work out.

The story is actually from 1980. Till then Anupam Kher was being recognized in the field of theatre. Especially in Delhi. It was at this time, when the great filmmaker Sir Richard Attenborough came to Delhi to select the actors for the film ‘Gandhi’. Dolly Thakor, a journalist who knew Anupam through plays, told Anupam that she felt that he (Anupam) could get a role in the film ‘Gandhi’. Catching up, Anupam Kher raised the question – “Gandhi’s?” According to Anupam, Dolly herself had also been an artist and casting director.

Dolly told him that no, she suggested Anupam’s name to Attenborough for Nehru’s role. Anupam felt that Kashmiriyat might be the reason for this. Nehru was also a Kashmiri and Anupam too.

The song is silent, the ghazal is silent, the rubai is sad… Neeraj should be called in such an environment

What was it then, rose blossomed in my mind. Like Nehru, Anupam also managed to wear achkan and tight pyjama. Started planting roses on Achkan every now and then. Watched all the films of Nehru present in the archives. Started studying their gestures closely. Memorized an important part of Nehru’s speech after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. He started repeating it continuously in the style of Nehru.

meeting attenborough
Journalist Dolly told that Richard Attenborough is staying at Ashoka Hotel. They go there and meet him. Room number and meeting time was also told. While going there, Anupam Kher started feeling that he has to get Oscar. In his book “Unknown Lessons of Life – An Autobiography” he writes – “…in fact in my mind I had even won an Oscar award for playing Nehru.” Dressed in Nehru’s dress, with a rose in his pocket, he reached the Ashoka Hotel with one of his friends, Vijay Sehgal.

The accompanying friend Vijay Sehgal praised Anupam Kher. This made Anupam’s thinking more firm. As soon as he reached the hotel, Vijay took him to the corner and said in a whisper – “You have done it…. You really did it.” There Dolly and the English casting director of the film were also waiting for him. On introducing Dolly, Anupam felt that even the English casting directors were ‘looking at him with appreciative eyes’.

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Dolly and the casting director of the Gandhi film took him to Attenborough’s room on the fifth floor. As soon as he got out of the lift, he saw Attenborough in front of him, who was holding a man on the shoulder and saying, – “I am very pleased to meet you, Roshan. I got my Nehru.” Roshan Seth had played the role of Nehru in the film Gandhi.

“Sir I am Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru”
Then Attenborough asked Dolly whether this young man had come here for any role. By then Anupam and Dolly had understood the situation. Still Anupam himself said – “Sir I am Nehru. Pandit jawaharlal nehru.”

He said – “Sorry friend, I have selected Roshan Seth for this role.” Anupam bursts out on this. In his book he writes – “How can you choose someone else for this role. You didn’t even take my audition…. Have you seen me playing Nehru?” Anupam Kher did not stop there – he launched a direct attack on Attenborough – “This is completely unprofessional. This was not expected from an Englishman… that too from a man of your stature.”

“So play the part and…”
After this, Attenborough said – “Play the role of Nehru.” Anupam writes that hearing this his mind became numb and all the practice he had done disappeared from his mind. However, after a few moments, he said that he wanted to give him any role in the film ‘Gandhi’. After watching the file Vagarah, Attenborough, after thinking a little, said that he should play the role of Abdul Ghaffar Khan. Then the English cast director said – ‘I have selected the liftman for him.’ The liftman was more than 6 feet tall. Seemant Gandhi was also 6 feet 5 inches.

And finally Attenborough said to Anupam – “Sorry my friend. I have tired.”

Book- Unknown Lessons of Life An Autobiography Anupam Kher
Writer- Anupam Kher
Publisher- Hind Pocket Books

Tags: anupam kher, Books, Gandhi, Hindi Literature, hindi writer, Jawaharlal Nehru, Literature

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