'When a producer says 'Mother ka role hai,' I refuse instantly'
'It would be nice if there is a film where both Anupam and I have something substantial to do. Strangely, we haven't got such offers.'
'It need not be as husband and wife, but it should be together in a way that we are interacting with each other as characters.'
Kirron Kher discusses her movies, and the kind of onscreen work she'd like to do with husband Anupam Kher.
Veteran actress Kirron Kher, who served as one of the judges on India's Got Talent, returns to the silver screen with Total Siyappa, set to hit screens on March 7.
The film is produced by Neeraj Pandey, director of hit thrillers such as A Wednesday and Special 26 and directed by E Niwas.
Starring Ali Zafar and Yami Gautam, Total Siyapaa is the love story of an Indian girl Asha (Yami) and a Pakistani boy Aman (Ali).
Their marriage plans are progressing smoothly until the boy's nationality is revealed and all hell breaks loose.
Kirron Kher and her real life husband Anupam Kher play Yami's parents in the film.
In conversation with Rajul Hegde, Kirron Kher talks about her new film, working with her actor husband and much more.
Your husband Anupam Kher also stars with you in Total Siyapaa.
Anupam has a guest appearance and we share screen space only for a short while in the film.
We have previously worked together in the film Pestonjee and done some theatre work together. It was nice working with him again.
We have often been cast in the same films like Veer-Zaara and Rang De Basanti, but not in the same frame.
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Image: Kirron Kher walks the ramp for fashion designer Gaurang Shah
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
'Before I did my first comedy in Hum Tum, Anupam and Satish Kaushik would make fun of me'
Why aren't you working more with him?
I would love to do an entire film with him but both our roles have to be equally meaty.
We mostly get films in which he has a great role and I don't have much to do, or vice versa. That's no fun.
It would be nice if there is a film where both of us have something substantial to do. Strangely, we haven't got such offers.
Would you like to do a comedy with him?
Yes, but he is very good in comedy so mera kya hoga (What will become of me)?
Before I did my first comedy in Hum Tum, Anupam and Satish Kaushik would make fun of me, calling me the tragedy queen of theatre because I have done all the great tragedies but I hadn't done comedy at all.
I was so scared when they approached me for Hum Tum. They told me you are very funny in real life, so try it.
I managed to pull it off and both of them kept quiet after that.
Image: Kirron Kher in Hum Tum
'Personally, I like him (Anupam Kher) better in serious roles'
How is Anupam Kher as a husband?
Anupam is a very easygoing person. He believes in the 'live and let live' philosophy.
He doesn't get into my space and he doesn't like it if someone gets into his.
We are good together. He is my best friend in the sense that I can tell him anything even when I have a complaint against him.
I don't need another friend to cry to; I can cry to him. He understands. (smiles).
Which are his best films according to you?
I loved him in Saraansh and Daddy and also in negative roles.
I loved him in A Wednesday. I thought he was so real, it never felt like he was acting. Actually it's his most brilliant performance yet.
I liked him in Special 26 too, where he is both serious and comic.
Personally, I like him better in serious roles.
Image: Anupam Kher in A Wednesday
'I think Devdas is my best work in commercial cinema'
You have worked with Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and John Abraham, and now with Ali Zafar and Yami Gautam, a different generation of actors. Have the equations and working style changed?
Aamir and SRK are 48 years old, so in a way they are closer to our age and we have been friends with them.
Working style and equations have a lot to do with the production house rather than the co-actors.
Yash Raj and Dharma have always been very planned, decent and graceful with actors, which makes a difference.
Personally, the films that I loved doing were Khamosh Paani, Bariwali, and Sardari Begum. I miss that kind of cinema.
Those are closest to my heart, where you become the person (you are portraying).
In commercial cinema, it's different. But once I said 'yes' to Devdas, which was mainstream, I could not say 'no' to the others.
The role was so exciting in Devdas and I wanted to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali -- I loved his Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
I think Devdas is my best work in commercial cinema.
Image: Kirron Kher with Aishwarya Rai in Devdas
'Some of the actors on television are far better than many Bollywood newcomers'
What did you think of Bhansali's Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela?
I loved it. I watched it on TV the other day.
Sanjay (Leela Bhansali) had called me for the trial, but I couldn't make it because I was shooting for India's Got Talent.
I loved the passion and the fire between Deepika (Padukone) and Ranveer (Singh) and how he shot their love scenes.
Supriya Pathak was wonderful. I loved that he used actors from theatre and TV.
The other actors like the two sons, the daughters-in-law were all so different and yet their characters had so much strength.
Some of the actors on television are far better than many Bollywood newcomers.
They are good looking, perform well and I wish they were given more chances.
Image: Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in Goliyon Ki Raas Leela Ram-Leela
'If I hadn't become an actor, I might have been in the Foreign or administrative services'
Has acting taken a back seat for you? Of late, you have not done many films and you are mostly seen on political debates on TV.
No, I have been doing both. I am not into electoral politics.
My interest is to make my voice heard and to make sure that this country gets some sense of balance.
In the West, most actors have very definite political views. Unfortunately, in India, actors are known only for their looks so people tend to imagine that there aren't any with brains.
If I had not become an actor, I might have been in the Foreign Service or administrative service. I was studying for that.
My parents wanted me, like all good girls in Punjab and Delhi, to join the IFS or IAS. But I got sidetracked into theatre and I loved it (smiles).
Theatre teaches you a lot about life, movements, about writers from different countries, their thought process.
World drama is a reflection of the times. Both things went hand-in-hand. I mean just because you are acting you can't stop your thinking, insights and opinions.
Also, every actor goes through a certain phase after doing so many films. Nowadays, when a producer calls and says ‘Mother ka role hai...’ I refuse on the phone itself.
I say 'What do you mean by 'Mother ka role’? Did you tell the heroine that she has a ‘daughter ka role’?'
On TV, whether on my chat show or India's Got Talent, it is extremely rewarding because it keeps me in touch with people from across India. I express myself as Kirron and it's a complete package in that sense.
When Anna (Hazare)’s Jan Lokpal Bill started, Anupam and I were the only ones to take a strong stand for it. The minute the political shenanigans started, we were the first to criticise it.
What's happening in Delhi is not Anna's movement, it is a different movement.
I did not do any films for a few years, as there was no mazedaar (fun) film coming my way. You see, the pressure to run the house is not on me, it's on Anupam (laughs).
Is there any plan to re-launch your son Sikander Kher?
We don't have any plans as such. Waqt se pehle aur kismat se zyada kisiko kuch nahi milta (before time and more than destiny, nobody gets anything).
Now he is doing Tere Bin Laden 2. Let us see how it works.
The makers are very happy with his work and so is Sikander.
Image: Kirron Kher with Yami Gautam and Ali Zafar in Total Siyapaa