Kirron Kher is one of the most respected actresses in Hindi cinema and you have seen her outstanding work in Devdas, Veer Zaara, Rang De Basanti, Fanaa, Kurbaan and Dostana to name just a few of her films. Besides acting, Mrs. Kher has also appeared on several television shows including the hugely popular India’s Got Talent, where she sits on the panel of judges. She joins in once again for the second season of Asia’s biggest talent show, along with her co-judges Sonali Bendre and Sajid Khan, as they travel India looking for the most talented acts in the country. Mrs. Kher spoke passionately about the show she calls brilliant to BollySpice, and you can tell she really loves being a part of the program. She also let us in on what she thinks defines talent. Read on to find out what that is!
How did you become a part of India’s Got Talent?
I was on the first season and they asked me to come back and judge the show. Colors, the channel approached me and so I became a part of it again! I was only too excited to be a part of it again because I think it’s a brilliant show. It showcases different disciplines and different people from all over the country, which I think is fantastic.
So, in your opinion, what defines talent?
An inborn quality to excel at something. Whether it is something which is already an existing discipline or an inherent ability to be able to engage your attention, while being really good at what you’re doing. Not just engaging your attention by being stupid.
When you’re watching a performance what is the one thing which stands out to you and immediately makes you say ‘yes this person/act needs to go to the next round’?
It just has to be something that reaches out and gives me gooseflesh and say ‘oh my god how absolutely stunningly brilliant this is!’ Whether it is dancing, a great voice, a great band or somebody with great comic timing, or anything like martial arts or perhaps the folk forms of India, which are just beautiful because India is so rich and varied in culture and every state has its own folk theatre. There are people from little villages in India who have certain unique forms of art in their family for generations. So, in short it has to be something that is amazing to watch.
As you say, you get to see a variety of talent on the show, so does it become hard to judge them on the same level?
It can be hard. You know obviously if someone is atrociously bad, they are out or if they brilliant, they are in. It’s the average ones that are hard, because when you’re doing the preliminary rounds and someone is just average or little above average then you don’t know whether to send them up or not. The worst part is when you do the culling episodes, which is when you do the sorting out of the people that go on to the semis and those that get left behind. Those episodes are the most heart-breaking of all because you’ve chosen so many people and they are all so good, but only so many can go on. I think that is tough.
You travel all over India for auditions, how is the experience of seeing different styles of talent across the country?
Well, having come from theatre and being an army officers daughter, which means extensively travelling across India, I think I already have a good grounding of what is out there. But travelling for the show is the most enriching experience, because there are so many things you’ve heard about but haven’t really seen. It’s truly a privilege to be sitting there and seeing people give you great performances. It ends up being a journey through the country. It is really beautiful.
Are you surprised ever by what you see?
Yes, definitely! Last year’s winning dancing group, The Prince Dance Group, surprised us completely! They came on in this very simple way and suddenly came forward and gave this brilliant performance. Absolutely stunning. And they followed it up with an even better one in the semi finals. They completely surprised me. They were from a small town and were daily wage laborers, so you can just imagine the amount of discipline in them to bring an act like that. The creative ability that lies dormant within all of us because of lack of opportunity that it never gets the window to show it to the world – there must be so many people like that. I think the world is full of very talented people.
What advice would you give to aspiring acts for the show?
I would say don’t come on and do something stupid just to grab attention. Sure we’ll have a good laugh, but you won’t go through. Do whatever you’re doing to be the best. Practice it to the best, so that it is perfected as perfect as you can make it. Rehearse it properly. At the end of the day, a well rehearsed and a well presented act is definitely going to score over something that might have inherent talent, but might not be presented as well.
So, having been on the show for two seasons, do you see a growth in this season?
We’ve just finished auditions in Calcutta and last year we had some bands from that area, however this year we saw some very astounding talent, which floored us. So, I would say yes, definitely there’s been growth so far. Let’s see what happens through the rest of India now.
Do you enjoy being on the show? What is your favorite part of the job?
I love it! My favourite part is watching the auditions. Although the semi-finals are less taxing, it is the auditions when you actually get to see so much more stuff. It is long hours and very tiring but at the same time very enriching.
What do you think makes India’s Got Talent special?
The fact that it has no boundaries. The fact that it showcases all the richness of Indian culture and tradition and its great heritage of music, dance, puppetry, wizardry, jugglery, gymnastics, martial arts and everything! There is so much of it. The fact that there are little kids who are fantastic, as well as elderly people who’ve never had a chance to showcase their talent, the fact that they all come together on one platform and everyone gets to appreciate them. I think that’s the best part of India’s Got Talent.
Now outside of India’s Got Talent, are you working on any movies?
Well yes, right now I have just finished Vipul Shah’s Action Replay and then my next will be Dostana 2, which will be filmed in England.
Do you have any advice for actors and actresses wanting to break into the industry?
Get yourself good training. Be sure to be trained properly. Make sure you have the talent and spend some time training that talent and then come in because it is very competitive now. People with no training really do have a handicap as opposed to people who are well trained in their craft.
It was a wonderful experience to talk to Mrs. Kher and hear about her experiences on India’s Got Talent and her love of being a judge for the show. We can’t wait to see her and the rich array of performances when season 2 hits the air. We also are really excited to see her in Action Replay, Dostana 2 and whatever else the esteemed actress has in store.