Shimla: Noted Bollywood actor Anupam Kher is in his hometown to mentor budding talents in the city. He says that it is payback time and that he will do that by grooming aspiring actors and organising a theatre fest here.
He started a three-week long session Monday at the Gaiety Theatre, the prominent landmark of the town.
"Shimla has given me a lot and now it is time has come to pay back by bringing out hidden talents in aspiring actors. I will share whatever I have learned about acting," Anupam said.
For him, the actors are not born but made.
"Formal training and a right platform are must for one to grow," he added.
Of course, one day these aspiring actors would popularise Shimla just like me, said Kher, who has a deep emotional bond with the "Queen of Hills" where he spent his formative years.
The versatile actor, who left Shimla July 27, 1974, to pursue acting, is trying to hold an international-level theatre fest in the town.
"Next year we are aiming to hold Edinburgh International Festival in the Gaiety, which is an annual event in Scotland," he said.
The Gaiety Dramatic Society (GDS), which manages the theatre, has roped in Anupam`s Actor Prepares acting school.
"The workshop is dedicated to my esteemed father (Pushkar Nath Kher) who had a great love for this hill town," he said.
Pushkar Nath, who settled in Shimla in 1949, died Feb 10 in Mumbai after a brief illness. He was 84.
Rakesh Kanwar, director of the Himachal Pradesh Art, Culture and Language Department, the organiser of the acting workshop, comprising students, housewives and businessmen, said, it would be an annual event now.
"The workshop is a platform for inspiring actors to hone their skills and talent. Anupam`s school would also spot the talent and the selected one would get the chance to get formal training in his school," he said.
The Gaiety Theatre has been the centre of cultural activities in Shimla right from the day it opened in 1887.
"Time Will Tell" was the first play staged there. At one time, popularity of English plays earned Shimla the nickname - Mecca of Theatre.
Besides Anupam, actors like K.L. Sehgal, Shashi Kapoor, Jennifer Kendall, Raj Babbar and Naseeruddin Shah have also performed here.