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    “It Is Survival of The Fittest,” says Sanjay Suri

    [Interview by Faridoon Shahryar]
    Monday, September 11, 2006
    “I don’t want to restrict myself as an actor,” says Sanjay Suri, a promising actor earnestly working towards creating a niche for himself in the big bad world of illusions. Having made a spunky debut with a small film ‘Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi’ (Also the debut film for Dino Morea), Suri went on to do films like ‘Jhankaar Beats’, ‘Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar’, ‘Dhoop’, ‘Filhaal’, ‘Plan’, ‘Shaadi Ka Laddoo’ and ‘Pinjar’. But it was with ‘My Brother Nikhil’ where he played a homosexual afflicted with AIDS battling for life-n-social-acceptance that Sanjay Suri really became a name to be reckoned with. Commercial success may have eluded him so far, but with new wave cinema like ‘Iqbal’ gaining both critical as well as mass applause, these are exciting times for a sincere actor like Sanjay Suri. Personally I’d like him to try out that Chance-Pe-Dance humour streak of ‘Jhankaar Beats’. IndiaGlitz caught up with the actor as he is gearing up for his second coming with director Onir in their forthcoming venture ‘Bas Ek Pal’, a film about Urban Relationships and their Complexities.

    What is your role in ‘Bas Ek Pal’?

    In ‘Bas Ek Pal’ my character’s name is Nikhil, extremely passionate, intense kind of guy. He lives life king size and is very impulsive. Lives by his heart and not his mind. Little aggressive, short tempered, sometimes forgets to differentiate between passion and obsession. And kind of crosses the line sometimes. He gets so involved in what he does that he forgets to get a reality check. Over all, a very charming person.

    Sanjay Suri won acclaim as an actor with ‘My Brother Nikhil’…

    It feels good if people take you seriously. But one feels bad too when people keep on saying that he does these serious kind of films. And they forget that if I’ve also done a ‘Jhankaar’, a ‘Shaadi Ka Laddoo’. If I’ve done a ‘Jhankaar’ then I’ve done a period film like ‘Pinjar’. If I’ve done a ‘Plan’ then I’ve done a small film like ‘Dhoop’ which I feel was a great story. Then a ‘Filhaal’, ‘My Brother Nikhil’ and then ‘Bas Ek Pal’…My next film is ‘Speed’ with Vikram Bhatt which is a proper mainstream commercial film. And then a romantic comedy coming up. As an actor I don’t want to restrict myself and do all kinds of films. In my short filmography of 14- 15 films, I can say four five films that I can be proud of it.

    This is your second film with Onir…All this Camp business news doing the round with SRK Camp, Chopra Camp etc…Do we have a new group emerging here…?

    I really don’t understand all this camp business, all these cabals. But yes, you work with one person, you enjoy working with that person. And then you work again with that person. And rediscover yourself and that person as well. That in a way is challenging in itself because you do new things. A camp on the other hand has these walls, that doesn’t allow other people to enter. We don’t have a camp. Everyone is welcome and be a part of our cinema.

    Sensible cinema is coming up like ‘Iqbal’, ‘Rang De Basanti’ doing well…Do you think it’s time for a good story?

    I think, ever since I can think of, stories have always been important, but right now more than the story, the marketing force or muscle that has come in. It’s going towards opening weekend business so whether the film is good or bad, people don’t really care because it’s had a huge opening. I think the rules of entire film business are changing. ‘Rang De Basanti’ and ‘Iqbal’ were growing hits. But there are certain films which are bad films but they’ve done well purely because of the marketing muscle and probably the packaging, the banner, the star power pulled people in. The one time viewing is so high that the Box Office results are good. But obviously there’s also a dangerous thing which is happening…Like sometimes a good film with less marketing muscle might miss the board because the piracy is out. These are exciting times, everyone is trying to outdo one another and survive. But at the end of the day it is survival of the fittest.

    What about the cast and crew of ‘Bas Ek Pal’?

    Fantastic. Very rarely all of us were acting together. Rehaan is a very refreshing actor. I’ve seen ‘Everybody Says I Am Fine’. I enjoyed working with him. Juhi is comfort zone now. She played my wife, sister and now a friend. With Urmila, this is my second film. And what a professional actress. Jimmy is a friend….We did ‘Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar’ together and we are playing friends in the film. Overall it was a relaxed atmosphere on the sets because Onir is the kind of guy who is very seriously and passionately into his work. So, the mood trickles down from the director. Obviously he doesn’t appreciate people fooling around. But a joke here and there was passable.

    The ending of ‘Bas Ek Pal’ is apparently a tragedy

    The ending is tragic. We went through the ending on script level several times. Everyone has a different opinion. It is a tragedy at the end of the day. Now we’ve left it to the audience.

    Finally what’s the USP of ‘Bas Ek Pal’?

    I hate answering this question. It will be expected that when I am promoting the film (I am expected to say) ….Please and go and watch the film….I can say only one thing that it’s a film that you will take home…Not very many films you take home. It’s value for money…Definitely for Rs 150/ plus parking and popcorn. So, go, enjoy the film, I am sure you will bring it back home.

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