Role Model / Sanjay Suri

poised for his first major release since daman and already having put its moribund run at the box office behind him, sanjay suri is looking forward to the release of filhaal and a place of prominence in bollywood. he says so to bhisham mansukhani

filhaal is your first key role since pyaar mein kabhi kabhie. has been a long time coming, hasn’t it?
well, it has. but i’ve hung in there and acted alongside the likes of abhishek bacchan (tera jadoo chal gaya) and raveena tandon (daman). i did catch the eye of many bollywood biggies, not to forget, a significant fan following. i was appreciated in both these roles and in a way, these may lead to future, meatier roles. that’s the way i perceive every film i sign. so i wouldn’t see that phase leading up to filhaal from pyaar mein kabhie kabhie as quiet by any measure. and the wait, if you could call it that, has been worth it.

how did filhaal happen?
well, meghna gulzar met me through a common friend of ours. she had heard of me, but funnily enough, hadn’t seen any of my previous work. anyway, we met, she gave me the script to read and i took all of 30 seconds to count myself into her maiden project. she said she needed an actor, not a star. i took it as a complement.

is modelling still a priority?
i started with that avenue and it’s still the profession most people associate me with. i haven’t made the transition into the clique of brand ambassadors just yet (laughs). but yes, i don’t model as much as i used to. i never did ramp modelling anyway. some assignments capped in the south, but beyond that it’s shooting schedules.

marriage, at the onset of a career. is that a concern?
no. in fact, i’m in a bit of a quandary here. i didn’t feel a tinge of anxiety, or jitters, marrying the woman i wanted to. that perhaps got me thinking if there was something odd, considering the conjecture centring around marital ties. prioritising between my career and marriage is not a problem, because i had working parents who found quality time for me inspite of their occupation. i’ve been brought up believing you know where to draw the line.

are you concerned that all your commercial releases have turned lemon at the box office?
i’m proud of what i did. i see roles unequivocally as good or bad at a subjective level. public appreciation is a separate matter. likewise, i may not want to recollect a role i played, even if it sat well with audiences. my role has to have a strong character base, not just be the archetypal hero. aamir khan, for instance, conforms to that idea. i think, that attitude will eventually hold good for me. also, i wasn’t launched as a hero, neither was i expecting much from pyaar mein… or the cameo in tera jadoo… in fact, one of the reviews for the latter, read that i was the only silver lining in the film. if you were to remind some of the now established actors of some of the roles they emoted when they were neophytes, they may be embarrassed. i’m not.