INTERVIEW Anupam Kher says he reinvents himself each time he plays daddy on screen

Countless may be the times Anupam Kher has played father in Hindi films, but each of his roles is clearly etched in not just his memory but also the audience's. As Devinder Dua in “Yeh Faasley”, the actor dons the father's hat once more, and he is upbeat about his role. “Dev Dua has shades of grey. And, that's what excites me as an actor; people are accepting the fact that characters are not all black or white. In spite of having played uncle and dad in over a 100 films, each of them is remembered.”

“Yeh Faasley” is a movie about a man and his daughter and the warm relationship they share till a murky mystery of the past comes to haunt them. Arunima (newcomer Tina Desae) is the daughter of a construction magnate. One day she stumbles upon the will of her mother who, she has been told, died in an accident. The girl wonders why her mother made a will when she was 28, and questions her dad about it. Her father refuses to tell her the truth, and asks her to find the answers on her own. “Devinder Dua is arrogant and loving at the same time. He can end the questions his daughter has by simply answering her. But he leads her on to find the truth. Obviously that creates a bigger rift in their relations,” says Anupam.

The veteran actor says he has no qualms about working with first-time directors. “I have done the first films of Ayan Mukherjee (‘Wake Up Sid'), Dibakar Bannerjee (‘Khosla Ka Ghosla'), Neeraj Pandey (‘A Wednesday'), Abhinay Deo (‘Game' – to be released), to name a few. I think they are all full of energy and fresh ideas. They bring out something new in you. So when Yogesh Mittal came with the script of ‘Yeh Faasley', I had no issues. In fact, I start from scratch and approach every role as if it is my first one,” he says.

The actor adds that Indian cinema is reinventing itself. “The best part about the change is that we are finally getting rid of clichés. The audience is more responsive and you can anticipate that they will understand a new concept better now than before. For a trained actor such as me, that's wonderful news. I keep challenging myself every day,” he says.

He is also excited about Vivek Agnihotri's next film, a political thriller dealing with Maoists, and “Kuchh Log”, a film about the victims of terrorism in a Muslim family. He will also been seen in the forthcoming Disney adventure “Zokkomon” with Darsheel Safary, in “Game” with Abhishek Bachchan, in David Dhawan's son Rohit Dhawan's debut film “Crazy Boys” and Akshay Kumar's Canadian production “Breakaway”.

Currently Anupam is in Kochi shooting for a Malayalam film “Pranayam” with Mohanlal and Jayaprada. “I have played Hindi-speaking characters in two Malayalam films earlier, but this is a full-fledged role for which I speak in Malayalam. It is difficult,” he says. The actor who runs Actor Prepares — an acting school with branches in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and the U.K., is now opening its next branch in New York.