[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ovie Farm spoke to Bollywood legend Mr Anupam Kher whilst he was in London to shoot for the forthcoming Bengali film Shongram. Directed by newcomer Mansur Ali, it is a romantic drama which is set during the 1971 liberation war in Bangladesh. A star of films such as Bend It Like Beckham and Silver Linings Playbook, Kher spoke to us about Shongram, as well as about the centenary of Indian Cinema.
MF: Firstly Anupamji welcome to London. Tell me why you decided to be part of a film like Shongram?
AK: I like to work with newcomers and first-time directors. Apart from that I thought the script is interesting, the premise of the film is interesting and is based on a reality and something which has happened. It’s based on a time when I was a teenager. It’s an interesting cast and I wanted to work with a lot of people who are involved in the film.
MF: Tell me how you were approached for this film and your role in it?
AK: I have an agent in London Ruth Young from United Agents. Mansur’s team got in touch with them and that’s how I became a part of this film.
MF: Has working in this film made you more aware about the atrocities which transpired during the Bangladesh liberation war?
AK: We are always aware but life moves on. It made me revisit a part of my life and the whole thing sort of went into flashback. My character himself provides the flashback in the film.
MF: What are your thoughts on the impact which Bollywood is having in Bangladesh?
AK: I think Bollywood has the biggest impact on Asian all over the world. And not only Asians now but also Europeans and Americans also. Because with Bollywood, they celebrate life. That’s what comes across as entertainment. Whatever social change has to come or not to have to come. And if that happens under the garb of entertainment then it’s much better. And in the neighbouring countries whether its Bangladesh or Pakistan, our films are very, very popular.
MF: What do you love most about being an actor?
AK: I get to meet a lot of people. I get to travel. I love interviews and being pictured and giving autographs. And also with that also comes social responsibility. So if I can make a difference in anybody’s lives then I’m blessed.
MF: Do you have any other films which you are currently working on?
AK: I have about 10-12 films and most of them are coming out in December-January time so I’ll be shooting until then.
MF: Finally, it’s 100 years of Indian Cinema. What are your thoughts on the industry?
AK: When you are in the cinema hall in India nobody’s poor, nobody’s rich. No religions but people are together. I think the cinema in India has kept the country together and entertained them. It’s a rich traditions and I’m very happy that out of those 100 years, I have been there for 29 years!
You can catch Shongram in cinemas when it releases in the UK next year! In the meantime check out an exciting short preview of the film below.