In one of the four short stories in his next production, I Am, Sanjay Suri plays Abhimanyu who after years of sexual abuse in the hands of his stepfather ends up with a fear of commitment, ambiguous about his sexual preference reflected in the different coloured socks he wears, working up to a confrontation with his mother who he blames for his troubled past and ending up becoming a bit of a ‘user’ himself. Interestingly, his stepfather in the film is played by filmmaker Anurag Kashyap who has admitted to being abused as a child.
“Anurag had spoken to Onir (director and co-producer Onirban) but we met only on the set and haven’t touched on the topic,” says Suri, but acknowledges meeting the person who triggered off the initial concept and other vulnerable victims, bits of whose stories have gone into I Am Abhimanyu. The actor says that since he became a father, he has grown more sensitised to the issue. “I worry for my kids, determined to protect them from such horrors,” says the hands-on daddy to a three-year-old and a three-month-old who’s still in his mother’s care.
I Am, that has been winning accolades on the festival circuit, is gearing up for an early-2011 release. “We’re looking at February,” says Suri, who’s already planning his next production. “Onir is in the process of locking three scripts—Shabd, an untitled social thriller and a coming-of-age road trip about reunion and rediscovery.”
He says he’ll definitely be acting in the third one, along with two other actors and three actresses, since the characters are in their mid-30s to early-40s. “But we’ll go on the floors with whichever film attracts funding first since money is the criterion for such away-from-the-beaten-path cinema. But it’s films like this that I want to watch and invest it. Otherwise instead of My Brother Nikhil or I Am, I could have made a ‘masala’ comedy and made my money,” he points out.
There’s also a Hindi-Assamese bi-lingual, As The River Flows, shot in Majuli. An NFDC film, it has him playing a journalist who ventures into the ULFA infested North-East to look for a social worker friend who has gone missing. And like the river Brahmaputra, he loses his way in unfamiliar areas that involve local politics, social workers, builders’ lobby and the militants. “It is loosely based on a true incident and should also come out next year,” informs Suri.
This Friday, he returned to the theatres with a horror thriller, Flat. “It was my first supernatural experience,” he laughs. “But while an errant lift in the building where we were shooting gave us something to scare the team with, shooting for the movie didn’t really spook me out. I guess when you know what’s waiting around the corner for you, there are no surprises. Besides, the real world is far more terrifying than the other world.”