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Two much

I had just one release,Sorry Bhai last year. The business was heavily affected by the terror attacks...

Written by PriyankaPereira |
March 13, 2009 12:12:18 am

After a not-so-happening 2008,Sanjay Suri has back-to-back releases with Firaaq and Sikandar

Two of your movies are coming up in the next two months. Lots to look forward to?
I had just one release,Sorry Bhai last year. The business was heavily affected by the terror attacks. So the two films,Sikandar and Firaaq,mean a lot to me.

There have been several movies on communal riots in Gujarat and militancy issues in Kashmir. How different are Firaaq and Sikandar from the rest?
Firaaq is not documenting life during the riots. It is about how violence can affect all kinds of people—both psychologically and physically. Unlike Firaaq,Sikandar is not an issue-based film. It is a thriller with an universal appeal. It is not just about insurgency in Kashmir,it could be in Afghanistan,Iraq or Iran.

What character do you play in Firaaq?
I play a modern-day liberal urban Muslim man who doesn’t wear his religion on his sleeve. But during troubled times,he takes advantage of his name Sameer which could also pass off as a Hindu. I had gone through a similar situation when I was studying in Kashmir. There was a mass migration of Hindus from the valley at that time and I had to give my exams. I grew a beard to pass off as a Muslim.

Was shooting for Sikandar in Kashmir sort of a homecoming for you?
I went back to Kashmir after really long. It brought back childhood memories. But this time,I was there as an actor to play the role of a refined politician.

In Firaaq,you share screen space with veteran actors like Naseerudin Shah and Paresh Rawal and Sikandar has young artistes like Ayesha Kapur and Parzan Dastur. How was it working with them?
For me,it is like playing a game. Players keep changing but I have to adapt myself to the conditions. With senior players like Naseer and Raghuvir Yadav,you need more mind and technique. But with junior players like Parzan and Ayesha,you need more stamina. But it is great fun to work with kids. They have less of a professional burden.

Piyush Jha and Nandita Das are both experienced campaigners. So were they hard taskmasters?
Nandita being an actor knows exactly what actors like and dislike. There is tremendous clarity. Piyush is willing to take risks and makes sure his actors work hard on their character.

You are often associated with movies that have some kind of social relevance like Pinjar,My Brother Nikhil,and now these two. Is it a conscious decision?
I obviously don’t sign films unconsciously. But there is a certain genre of films that I am offered and most of them are issue-based. I have also done light-hearted comedies like Jhankaar Beats.

So was it difficult for you to establish yourself initially?
It’s still difficult. Star kids also struggle. But their struggles are different. We get limited opportunities. But I don’t resent them,to each his own.

But you seemed to found a business partner in Onir?
We have done three films together. Right now we are developing more scripts at our production house.

What’s next on the agenda?
Sanjay Gupta’s Alibaug and a supernatural

thriller Flat.

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