New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) Actor, writer and now lifestyle counsellor Anupam Kher says most children are lonely but they don't know it. He says it is in the small towns that childhood is the way it should be.
"When you come from a small town, your childhood is the way childhood should be. You get to know the psyche of children. I came to know children through my television show, 'Say na something to Uncle Anupam'," Kher told IANS in an interview here.
The actor was born to a middle-class government employee in Shimla.
"I used to do counselling at the National School of Drama. A lot of my friends came to me with issues," he said.
Kher, who has appeared in more than 450 movies and plays, was in the capital to release his motivation book, "The Best Thing About You Is You", published by Hay House.
Kher, hailed as one of the finest screen and stage actors in the country, spent time on the occasion counselling "a young interior designer who wanted to be a movie director against her parents' wishes".
"The problem with children is that their parents do not understand them or pay attention to them. They live in nuclear families. They are lonely and most of the time they don't realise they are lonely. I come from a joint family and I was never left in the lurch. There was always someone to satisfy my curiosity," Kher said.
Kher's book is about letting go old patterns to welcome the new and learning to adapt to circumstances to be happy.
At the heart of the book is Kher's "Change Within" concept, a theory that he evolved when he was fighting a "flurry of court cases from creditors".
"That was when I discovered myself and began to do some self therapy. I asked myself why did I want to become larger than life," he said.
Kher said the primary lesson he teaches every actor or those who come to him for advice is to be themselves. And then make voluntary choices by manipulating parents and relationships to make room to push the choices through.
"We all manipulate relationships - manipulation is a positive aspect. In my acting school ('Actor Prepares'), most of the students are doctors, professionals or IT professionals. They say now that we have done what our parents wanted us to do, we will do what we want to do," Kher said.
The writer-actor's philosophy of "using one's own experience, observation, imagination and cultural memory to make choices in life" reflects in his outlook to cinema.
"I didn't follow any school of acting like Konstantin Stanislavsky's method acting or Bertolt Brecht's alienation effect. I try to be myself. Formula acting in Hindi cinema is passe," he said.
He said cinema was going through a reality phase and the audience had matured.
"The audience is not a fan but a judge, who comes to appreciate your work. If the audience is in a good mood, you can get away with 15 minutes of rubbish. Most people now decide at a promo whether they want to watch a particular movie," Kher said.
The actor-writer is also shooting for "Special 26", a movie by Neeraj Pandey, in the capital.
"It ('Special 26') is a brilliant character...I recently played Dr Patel, a psychiatrist, to Bradley Cooper in the 'The Silver Linings Playbook', also starring Robert De Niro in Hollywood. The movie is based on a novel by Matthew Quick. I have just sent him a copy of my book," Kher said.
"The Silver Linings Playbook" is to be released in the US in November 2012.
The actor said he was also planning his second motivation book, "The Lessons My Father Taught Me Unknowingly" - a reflection of his relationship with his late father.
(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)