Indian actor Suraj Sharma, who came into the limelight for his role in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, says that being a student of films, he cannot watch any film like an audience anymore. The actor is excited about his debut Bollywood film Phillauri, featuring Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh, he is simultaneously preparing for his exam and studying for the completion of his graduation in New York.
Asked if extensive study and working in films has changed his approach to movies as a viewer, Suraj told IANS here: “Yes. Now I cannot watch a film like an audience anymore. At times, I do not like the fact that I cannot enjoy a film like an audience as I keep thinking and analyzing about various aspects of it. Having said that, I want to mention that while watching a film, if I am enjoying it in the moment, without thinking too much, I believe the film is affecting my mind.”
It is interesting to observe how in both the crucial films of his career, Life Of Pi and Phillauri, he essays characters that deal with nature and supernatural power. Does that bring any change in his thought process on spirituality and existence of other world?
“Well, it has changed my mind. As a kid though I was not a believer in God and religion. Knowing these characters closely, I realized that overall, there is a spiritual power that flows and connects all of us in our lifetime. As far as the existence of spirits is concerned, though logically I can say certain things are nothing but coincidence, in my mind, I know, some supernatural power is there,” said Suraj.
In Phillauri, Suraj plays Karan who is made to marry a tree before he weds his sweetheart. The comedy ensues when the tree turns out to be inhabited by a friendly ghost Shashi, who then haunts him. One of the reasons for accepting the film Phillauri was its story with commercial entertainment value, says Suraj, adding that there was no intense preparation process for the character unlike that in his earlier films. He sought help from external elements.
“There are certain things like the body language, mind frame… that you cannot get from dialogues. You have to find it out. For my character in ‘Phillauri’, I used to listen to lot of neo-Punjabi music, hip-hops to get into the zone of Karan who studies music in Canada.
“I observed people from Govindpuri (his neighbouring place in Delhi). I hope everything translated on screen correctly,” Suraj said. Suraj grew up with no ambition of entering the film industry. In fact, his elder brother was keen to act in films. As destiny had its own plan, Suraj bagged a part in Life Of Pi while accompanying his brother for the audition of the same role.
So now that he is gaining popularity as an actor, how does his brother feel about it?
“My brother is very happy for me. I think he is doing more cool stuff than what I am doing. He goes on long bike rides from Delhi to Hampi (Karnataka), exploring village sides and raises funds to buy cycles for little girls who face difficulty in going to school and walk 2-3 km everyday. I want to do all that,” Suraj said. Directed by Anshai Lal, the film — produced by Clean Slate Films and Fox Star Studios — is releasing on Friday.