Since your brother, Raj Suri, is settled in Australia, what was your initial reaction when you heard stories of racial slur against Indians there?
It was a natural reaction to call him and others in the know. Although he lives in Sydney, news of this magnitude would be shocking and worrying to anyone.
Some say that such attacks are born out of a sense of being. Over-powered or a feeling of being a minority in their own nation. What’s your understanding of the reasons behind racial abuse? Have you or anyone in your family ever faced any problems in Australia?
No. My family there has never had any such problems ever. Australia has been a peaceful country and home to many ethnicities. Indians abroad predictably do well for themselves, academically and otherwise, since the systems in place allow them to prosper a lot more easily than in our country. In the wake of the current economic recession spawned by disastrous policies, one is therefore, seeing a renewed offensive of racism against migrants brought on largely by frustration.
Many in Bollywood don’t wish to shoot in Australia any further as a mark of protest. Comments.
Protests are fine but I doubt it matters if Bollywood does or doesn’t shoot in Australia. As we protest against the attacks on Indians in Australia, what surprises me is that there was never a murmur from Bollywood when India’s own homespun variant of anti-migrant chauvinism was unleashed by the right-wing Shiv Sena against North Indian migrants in Maharashtra!
Have you advised your brother to return to India in the wake of such crisis?
Never! Solutions don’t come from escaping situations. Once thrown out of Kashmir in our own country and called a refugee and migrant, why on earth would I advise him to return?
Coming to your films, few critics have questioned why you agreed to play a gigolo in your recent release, which they’ve described as semi-porn in the name of art. Do you question your choice of doing this film? How do you react to such strong criticism?
When National Award-winning director, Rajeev Nath, approached me with the script of this film, I liked it. I still do. But all went wrong in the making of the film. There is a huge chasm between the written word and what is translated on screen. And that makes all the difference. This film too suffered that translation. As far as one of the reviews tagging it as semi-porn goes, the same review said that it had nothing titillating. I wish I knew what the reviewer was talking about. But, yes, that sure makes for eye-catching review — semi-porn, ha! Wonder why the CBFC passed it in that case? I am cool with criticism. It’s healthy but should make sense.
Your film, As the River Flows, is inspired by the life of Sanjoy Ghose. Unlike the West that’s made films like 9/11 and W., are we as a nation still too afraid to make biopics and ambiguously state that such films have shades of the person’s life and are loosely inspired?
Well, India surely is a country of people confused in many areas. Someone dying of hunger does not offend anyone’s sensibilities but skin show in an ad immensely does for a country of a billion. It’s funny and sad. A majority of films will only reflect what society is made of or is becoming. We will not see many films like 9/11. However, As The River Flows is definitely inspired from Sanjoy Ghose’s disappearance. But the film is a work of fiction in a thriller format.