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Writing more cathartic than acting, says Kher


When he returned to Mumbai in March 2020 after a shoot in Amsterdam, actor Anupam Kher was shocked. “The airport, and the streets were empty. I have lived in Mumbai for 39 years and never seen it like this,” he recalled. The pandemic had struck and the “fear of the unknown” had changed not just his beloved city but also his home and family.

Kher’s latest book ‘Your Best Day is Today’ released recently was a way to overcome this fear, admitted Kher, and proved to be more cathartic than acting. “When I am acting, I play a character. It is possible to be fake, to pretend to be in pain or be angry. But there is nothing fake about writing. It was a way of drowning my fears,” he said.

The session ‘Tuning into Happiness with Anupam Kher’ in conversation with festival director Vinita Dawra Nangia at the Times Litfest traced the changes in the actor’s perspective because of the pandemic, whether it was calmness in the face of chaos or facing the death of loved ones. Kher said that the past year had helped him overcome the fear of death and realigned his priorities.

The actor confessed that he was not an instinctive writer. “The book is a conversation with myself. I speak into a dictaphone and get it transcribed,” he said.

Son of a forest department’s clerk in Shimla, Kher spoke about growing up on limited means and described himself as an eternal optimist. Recalling his days of struggle, the actor said, “I had spent more than a year in Mumbai. I wrote to my grandfather, telling him I wanted to quit. He wrote back ‘bheega hua aadmi baarish se nahin darta (one who is drenched is not afraid of the rains). I decided to stay back and fight”.

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