Bollywood veteran Kher thrilled at Woody Allen role

Thu May 28, 2009 4:01am EDT
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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters Life!) - He has effortlessly straddled arthouse and mainstream cinema in India for 25 years, and now actor Anupam Kher is going to Hollywood to work with American director Woody Allen, a filmmaker he has always admired.

Kher, 54, made a memorable Bollywood debut with "Saaransh" in 1984, earning critical acclaim for playing a 65-year-old while still a young man.

Twenty-five years later, he's a familiar sight in Indian movies and has also acted in British productions like the 2002 film "Bend it like Beckham."

By bagging a role in Allen's next project, Kher has joined other Indian actors -- Aishwarya Rai, Irrfan Khan, Om Puri and Freida Pinto -- who have made a mark in Hollywood.

Kher plays Pinto's father in Allen's untitled project, which is to be filmed in London later this year.

The Indian actor spoke to Reuters about clinching the role on the same day "Saaransh" was specially screened at a Mumbai cinema to mark the film's 25th anniversary.

Q: How did you get the role in the Woody Allen movie?

A: "I got a call from my agent in London, saying Woody Allen wanted me to come for an audition for his new film. I asked her to show him the show reel, with some of my work. She showed it to Allen's casting director, who in turn showed it to him in New York and I am told he liked what he saw."   Continued...

<p>Bollywood actor Anupam Kher talks on a walkie-talkie while directing his Hindi film 'Om Jai Jagdish' in Bombay, April 15, 2002. REUTERS/Arko Datta</p>