SUMIT SURI – ON THE CHALLENGES OF ACTING IN THE WILD OCEAN AND ON LIVING HIS DREAM
Posted by barkha on October 11, 2013 | No Comments
There are those who show up in Mumbai, from small cities every day, to make it as actors, struggle, then give up or decide to do something different. Then there are those, whose dream is to just make it to Mumbai and be a part of the film industry, any part. By sheer dint of their hard work, enthusiasm and determination, they find that suddenly they are in front of the camera and instead of getting awed, seize that moment with full gusto. To this category belongs, Rishikesh native, Sumit Suri. You have seen him in Khatron Ke Khiladi, in numerous Ad Films and recently as one of the leads in WARNING. Before the next 6 months are done, Bollywood, is going to see a lot more of this bundle of talent. Here we talk to him:
On the challenges in filming Warning?
The challenges began from the selection process. After passing the acting audition, we had to go through extensive Blood, Medical, ECG tests. Then it was this whole adaption with the water. Initially we were trained in a swimming pool, but then began the real thing. We were taken to Fiji and when we first stepped out to the middle of the ocean, we realized and were scared, by the sheer expanse of the wild water of the South Pacific, all around us. It was totally different from swimming in a pool and also swimming close to a beach. Even Life of Pi was filmed in a tank in a studio; here the real ocean was our studio. First to overcome our fear they took us to the top of the Yacht, which was like 16 feet over the water and said at the count of 3, all of you are going to jump into the ocean. I came from a sports background growing up, so to say that I was not scared, I would be lying, I was very scared, but we all took our leap of faith literally. Those 27 days of being in the Ocean, acting, floating (quite different and more difficult than swimming), avoiding Jelly Fish, having no clue what was floating below us and sometimes filming in the middle of the night, it was one exhausting shoot, but when we wrapped it up, so overwhelming for all of us.
The most difficult scene of Warning for you?
Definitely the climax when Madhurima and my character have to swim away in the vast expanse. It was a long helicopter shot, so we could not wear floating devices since it would be caught on camera. Also we had to be in the middle of the ocean, as opposed to near the Yacht cause it was again a long shot and in the film, it was us swimming away to determine our own fate. There was no luxury of the word cut and because it was the Magic Hour, for filming, we had to get it right in that one shot. We swam so fast and so furiously that before we realized we were out of sight of the crew boat and even the chopper lost us. Everyone was dead worried and I was exhausted. After what seemed an eternity we saw a boat and heard the chopper. As soon as the boat picked us up, I remember Madhurima fainting and me, just about gasping for breath. That day both of us, almost did not make it.
You seem to have a special attraction to the Ocean?
J That is right, I have done Khatron Ke Khiladi in the first season that they did not use any harness, that Akshay Kumar hosted, which involved the water, then An Ad Film in Dubai for Tata Safari, also involving water and now Warning. Did not plan it that way, but I guess that ‘s the way it has turned out. Plus I am from Rishikesh, so there is always a special relationship with water, the Ganges in my case and water sports too.
Going back to those struggle days?
I won’t call it struggle because my only desire in life was to be a part of the Mumbai film industry, any part and I am living that dream. Growing up in a business family in Rishikesh, my father has a book store and a Stationery business I was the youngest of three, but we were never pampered or spoiled. I remember reading al lot of film magazines and always being very fascinated by this film industry and how people lived in Mumbai. In those days I just wanted to be in Mumbai and be amongst these people, not necessarily as an actor. Academically I was average, but always very good in sports. And when I arrived in Mumbai, it was primarily the film industry that fascinated me, rather than television or modeling. I remember memorizing the car number plate numbers of all the top stars, still have them memorized. I worked in odd jobs, from office boy, to assisting a photographer, to a whole lot of other things, sometimes sleeping in the shelter of watchmen, since there was no sure shelter. But all this while totally loving it, since my dream of being a part of the industry was coming true. So it actually never bothered me that I did not know anyone in Mumbai. I also had the inherent confidence that I would make something of my life. My father has given me the basic three principles of life a) Take risks b) Helping people and c) Hard work and Honesty. Actually I look at the industry with a lot of respect. I think it is one of the best in the world and made up of nice people. I think it is great for both the men and women, and I honestly believe that.
How did it feel when you saw your first shot in Warning as a member of the audience?
Two instances I remember, first, at the Trailer launch of Warning, we were to make it to the stage, as our names were announced. I am not an emotional person, I am a very practical person, but when the Trailer played out, I don’t why I started crying. Till around 2 minutes prior to the launch of trailer I was ok, but I don’t know what overcame me. I think it is the magic of this industry and my aspirations to be a part of it. It was the same stage where I had once assisted boys and girls, through their act.
Then for the Mumbai premiere, my sister, her family and my parents and other family members were there. Seeing my name in their midst, on the big screen, seeing my appearance on the Silver screen, even the best of us, can’t hold back there.
Tell us about your other upcoming projects?
I have had the good fortune of having three more releases all lined up and all different kind of roles. There is Guru’s (the same director of Warning), WHAT THE FISH, with Dimple Kapadia and an ensemble cast; my role has shades of comedy in that. There is also LOVE IS NOT MATHEMATICS, by director Nila Madhab Panda, who had earlier made I Am Kalam. This one is one of his most commercially oriented film and again with an ensemble cast. Finally there is SURKHAAB, a film where I have enjoyed the most freedom as an actor and had the luxury of improvisations and loved it. It is filmed in Canada and Punjab and is having a very strong festival run at this time and slated for release very shortly.