chat Anupam Kher tells harshikaa udasi what it was like working with David Russell on Silver Linings Playbook which has swept the Critics’ Choice Awards and earned eight Oscar nominations
It hadn’t yet sunk in that his Hollywood film Silver Linings Playbook had earned eight Oscar nominations when Anupam Kher got another spot of good news. That the film had swept the comedy awards at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards winning the Best Comedy Film, Best Comedy Actor (Bradley Cooper) and Best Comedy Actress (Jennifer Lawrence). “Being a part of such a great film that deals with dysfunctional people, telling their heart-warming story and watching it get rewarded is an experience that’s difficult to describe,” said the actor who plays the role of a psychiatrist Dr. Patel in the film based on the book of the same name. “It is truly the biggest moment of my life. You keep pushing yourself to achieve greater heights and something of this stature makes you reaffirm your faith in self.” Personally, Anupam has also been nominated at the Screen Actors’ Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast.
Anupam says when he read the script that director David O. Russell offered him, he knew they had a winner. “Moreover I had just watched Russell’s The Fighter and I instantly knew we had a gold mine. What I also liked was he was dealing with bipolar people whom I think are more normal than the normal. He has always mentioned that it is a tribute to his son who has the same condition,” he says.
Anupam had auditioned for the role for which several other Indian actors had been short-listed. In fact, at the Toronto Film Festival where the film was screened, someone from the audience asked Russell how he cast Anupam and the director immediately Skype-ed his actor. “You know what Russell answered? He said, ‘I wanted a bald man who could act and I think I am very lucky I got that!’ He has the most amazing sense of humour! Of course, he later said that he wanted someone with a kind face and penetrating eyes and that felt really good,” he confesses.
“Working with Russell, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper has been one of the finest experiences of my life. Russell comes with a bound script but doesn’t hesitate to improvise on the sets. He encourages it in fact. That’s why all his actors are always adding that something extra when on the sets. It shows in his films which have a vibrant quality,” says Anupam.
While he missed attending the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, he is definitely attending the Screen Actors’ Guild Award and the Oscars. “I am promoting my Hindi film Special 26 which I think will be the best film of the year even though it releases in February. Needless to say, Neeraj (Pandey, director) has done a very good job,” he says. The Screen Actors Guild Awards will be held in Los Angeles on January 27, while the Oscars will take place in Los Angeles on February 24.