Cannes Lions Live: Anupam Kher talks about why success is boring

Perfection is boring, and those who seek it are always unhappy, says the veteran actor in the At Home segment on Day 4

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: Jun 26, 2020 8:14 AM

On Day 4, Lions Live had a special session with actor Anupam Kher under the At Home segment where they quizzed the Padma Bhushan awardee about his creative inspiration, career path, outlook for 2020 and beyond.
Kher shared how he came to Mumbai with just Rs 37 in his pocket in 1981, and how despite being a gold medalist from the National School of Drama, people found it almost laughable back then that he had come to Bollywood to become an actor. “Hairstyle was more important than talent for many in the industry, unfortunately. It took me three years to get my first break, but by then, I had seen everything; I was homeless, sleeping on the railway platform. But I am an eternal optimist, always have been. And now I can proudly say that I have done over 500 films,” said the veteran actor.
The former chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India said perfection is boring, and those who seek it are always unhappy. When Kher was asked how one gets to the point where it is comfortable to have failed, to make peace with failure, Kher responded, “Success is one dimensional and thus boring, while failure is fascinating and multi-dimensional. While talking to friends and colleagues, one rarely talks about what went right in life, it is always about what went wrong.”
Narrating a couple of personal examples that made a huge difference in the way he perceived himself, Kher added, “I almost went bankrupt at the peak of my career because I wanted to be this media tycoon in 2005. But I had no idea how to manage money. And one day my CA came to me and said we have no money and both my house and office are mortgaged. Then during the shoot of one of the most successful films in Indian history, where I played a very important role, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun, I woke up with facial paralysis. In usual circumstances, even if an actor gets a pimple, he gets worried. So this news literally freaked me out. I was told I can’t shoot for two months. This was in 1999. But I still went to the set and told my producer that I want to shoot. He said he can delay it but I didn’t want to get bogged down by the fear. If you notice the film, there is not a single close-up of me.”

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