In one of his interviews, veteran actor Anupam Kher opened up about his experience when Deepika Padukone was her student in his acting school. Anupam, who has been in the film business for a while, shared an experience when he was teaching the ropes to Deepika.
“I remember one about Deepika. She was a very successful model before she joined my school. She was good at everything, punctual, and would do things with finesse. I had told her ‘you are here for three months, you can’t take a break’. I felt that she wanted to do everything perfectly. My point is, acting is not about perfection, it’s about the rough edges too. One day, to break her composure of being a perfectionist, I gave her an exercise in improvisation. I told her ‘you work as a bai (maid) in a house, there is nothing called ‘perfection’ (about her)’. She was spick and span about mannerisms, but her character wouldn’t know how to use a fork and a knife. That went on for 45 minutes… till I felt she had discovered (new things). I think she started crying!”, Anupam recalled.
Anupam qualifies well as a connoisseur of the craft, and also believes in teaching it to other people too. Which is why he manages his professional commitments along with with his acting school, which he started with a desire to “give back to his craft”. He has since trained actors such as Deepika, Varun Dhawan and Kirti Kulhari. However, not many know that initially, Anupam was all set to become a teacher by profession.
The veteran recalls, “I came to Mumbai to be a teacher in an acting school. But when I reached here, I discovered that the school was actually just a fake one, a fraud kind of thing. I was very disappointed, as there was no building, no teacher, no classroom. I made up my mind then ‘If I ever become somebody, I would first open an acting school.”
And the 64-year old kept the promise made to himself. “When I had a small office on Veera Desai road in Mumbai, I converted one room into a studio, and we started our first batch of eight students on February 5, 2005. I used to work with newcomers, who had no background or formal education in theatre or acting… I used to see their beautiful faces, nervous and frightened of acting, and made up my mind,” says Anupam, crediting “his Hindi medium school teacher, Balwant Gargi, and (former Director of National School of Drama) Ebrahim Alkazi” for his acting skills.