In a career spanning fifteen years, Sanjay Suri has not too any films as an actor. But, he has been part of some quality cinema like ‘Jhankaar Beats’, ‘Pinjar’, ‘My Brother Nikhil’, ‘Sikandar’ and ‘I Am’, among others. Apart from being an actor, he is also the co-founder of Anticlock Films, a production house which has backed several important films in the past and is now ready with a new film called ‘Chauranga’. In this interview, the actor-producer talks about stepping into a rural setup for the first time, striking a balance between his responsibilities as a producer and plans to release his new film.
One has mostly seen you playing urbane characters. This is probably the first time you will be seen playing a character that is based in a rural setup. How did you prepare for the role?
Yes, this is the first time I did a film which has a rural setting to it. I spent a lot of time talking to Bikas about the character. The character was very well defined in the script itself. While we were pitching the film, we travelled a lot together. I wanted to know what kind of world he is setting the film in, the kind of look I need to adapt for the character and the language I need to learn. He asked me to stop working out as the character is someone whose life is dwindling away and comes across as a worn out person. I did multiple recces, sat for readings and did everything that was required to understand the character. I practiced the language for a long time. After that, I played the character according to my own interpretation of it.
Apart from playing an important role in the film, you have also co-produced it. How do you strike a balance between being a producer and an actor?
Acting and producing are two completely different things. I try not to bring the pressures of a producer when I am acting but I guess somewhere it seeps in. I try to channelize the stress and pressure in the right direction. Acting is a very therapeutic process for me. So, even when I am going through some stress related to the production, I get over it after I enact a scene as an actor. As a producer, I enjoy the whole process of turning an idea into a film.
The film deals with the issue of class oppression in rural areas. How aware were you of this issue when you stepped into the film?
Every individual based in India is aware of the issue of caste discrimination in the country. Our film is set in a rural area but this issue is also prevalent in urban cities. Even though I have never lived in a rural area, I was well aware of the situation in these places.
The film has done very well in the festival circuit. What plans do you have in mind for its theatrical release?
The film is about a young boy writing his first love letter to an upper caste girl. In today’s age of modern technology, nobody writes a love letter but people used to write letters in the past. We thought it was a nice thought we could put across in the promotional activities. The trailer had got a decent response. We are releasing the film in select cities and we hope it will appeal to the discerning audience.