Suri turns journalist in film inspired by abduction incident

After earning critical acclaim for his varied roles including that of a homosexual and a gigolo, actor Sanjay Suri is now donning the hat of a scribe in a suspense thriller that is inspired by the abduction and killing of social activist Sanjay Ghose in Assam 12 years ago.

‘As the River Flows’, the debut feature film of Mumbai-based Assamese filmmaker Bidyut Kotoky, will bring on big screen for the first time the rich culture and lifestyle of Majuli’s famous Vaishnavite centres.

“I play a journalist, who goes on in the search of a lost friend in the movie. It is loosely inspired by the death of activist Sanjay Ghosh, who went missing. His body was never found and there was no official statement about how he died,” Suri told PTI in an interview.

Produced by the National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC), the bilingual film will have an Assamese version — ‘Ekhon Nedekha Nodir Xipaare’.

The film, also starring veteran actor Victor Banerjee (in the role of a Gandhian), Raj Zutshi, Nakul Vaid, Naved Aslam and newcomer Bidita Bag, is in the post-production stage and is likely to be completed by October.

The story is about Abhijit Shandilya (Suri) who is caught in a multi-layered world of intriguing happenings in the world’s largest inhabited river island Majuli. The music has been composed by Zubin Garg of ‘Ya Ali’ fame who also plays a cameo.

“We just shot in Assam for a month. Though the film is inspired by a true incident it is not only about that incident. It is a suspense thriller,” Suri said.

Apart from ‘As the River Flows’, the actor is looking forward to the release of ‘Sikander’ on August 21.

The film, again a suspense-thriller, deals with a young boy growing up in the shadow of violence. Directed by Piyush Jha and shot in the back drop of Kashmir, the film sees Suri playing the role of a militant-turned-politician but the actor is quick to point out that the character is not based on any real person.

“I have never liked politicians but now I am playing one. My character in the movie tries to bring peace in the region but the situation is complex and the area is hostile. The character is not negative but it has its own ambiguity,” the 36-year-old actor said.

‘Sikander’ gave Suri the chance to return to his native place after a gap of over 18 years. The actor, who lost his father due to militancy, said he felt relieved to confront his past by visiting the place.

“I kept delaying it, somewhere not willing to confront the past and delaying the catharsis that was waiting to happen. It all came back, the memories were so raw. It looked liked it just happened yesterday,” he said.

“But it was good that I went back and confronted my past,” he added.

Suri said though the film was shot in Kashmir it does not deal with the militancy problem directly.

“Kashmir serves as a backdrop to the story, which can be placed into any violence hit region. ‘Sikander’ is based in Kashmir it is not on Kashmir,” he said about the movie, which stars Parzan Dastur, Ayesha Kapoor in the lead and R Madhavan and Arunoday Singh.

Suri, who turned producer with “My Brother Nikhil”, is currently working on his “I Am” series. A collection of five stories, the movie, which has been partly funded by public, deals with contemporary issues like child abuse and homosexuality.

“The idea was to do something out of the box, to be able to tell stories that have not been tackled in mainstream cinema. These stories deal with real life situations and are thematically connected and define identity,” said Suri about the movie that is being directed by good friend Onir.

Suri has also roped in “Dev D” director Anurag Kashyap to act in one of the stories.

“He (Kashyap) liked the script and we requested him to be the part of it because it did not require a 30 days schedule. He agreed to be a part of it and it was fun. He is a very good actor. People did not know but he has done lots of theatre. It was good to have him onboard,” Suri said.

Apart from “I Am”, Suri is also looking forward to the release of “Flat”, a supernatural thriller and the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer “Alibaug”.