Sooraj Pancholi will be seen in Satellite Shankar hitting screens this Friday. In this interview with indianexpress.com, the actor talks about the film and his journey through the controversial Jiah Khan suicide case.
Excerpts from the conversation:
You have been offered a movie after four years of your debut film Hero. Tell us about Satellite Shankar, and your Bollywood journey.
This film came to me very late in my career. But some films happen to you for a reason, and I think this could be one of those films for me. It will be an evergreen film. It is a film about an Indian soldier, who doesn’t have a high rank like a Major or General. He is a ‘sipaahi’. I wanted to do this film because it is so real. It is so humble and so human. We see our soldiers as superheroes or war heroes, but we don’t realise how they are also someone’s son, someone’s brother or someone’s husband.
Satellite Shankar is about a soldier who wants to meet his mother. It is about a soldier’s life off duty, how he sees India and the numerous hurdles to meet his mother for half an hour. It shows how a soldier’s natural duty is to help and give when he sees people in trouble.
In the last few years, you and your dad (Aditya Pancholi) have been named in some controversies.
My dad and I are different people. People relate me with the mistakes that he has made. He is a nice, honest person. People who know him think he is a very real and humble person. Of course, he has made a few mistakes because of his temperament. But people relate that with me because I have Pancholi surname attached to my name. I cannot help that. He is my father and I love him a lot.
It has been tough for us as a family, but we have been strong throughout and are still fighting for justice.
Coming to me, it has been very very unfair because people who have put this case on me have not been showing up in court. Why? If you are slamming a case on someone, it is your responsibility to find out the truth and get justice. I want justice, not only for me but also for Nafisa (Jiah Khan).
This should end because it has been a long time and I haven’t spoken about it until now because I have high respect and sympathy for everyone involved. I haven’t started talking about it because I want to prove myself innocent, but now nobody else is doing it so I have to do it myself. I will only speak the truth. It is a fact that my trial has started but not started because the complainants are not coming to court and are flying back every time the trial starts. It is not fair.
How has the trial affected your career and personal life?
Every time I sign something or announce something, the complainants come up with some or the other articles in the newspapers. It is only to put me down, and they might have their own reasons to do so. Talking about facts and showing up in the courts, that they don’t do. People need to understand the reality of this case. The kind of immaturity the media has shown in this case is unfair, as it affects many lives attached to the case.
However, I have also found very supportive people in my life. These are the people who know me personally. Even the industry has been very supportive of me. Salman (Khan) sir knows me really well. Athiya and Suniel Shetty, Tiger Shroff, Karan Johar know how I am in real life and are only nice to me as they know I am not the person people think I am. But no one can do anything about it because perception is everything and my matter has been in the media from day one only because I have not spoken thinking that I don’t have to justify my innocence. I am doing it today because I can’t wait much longer. It has been seven-eight years already.