While Sandalwood has always been ruled by a handful of stars, the film industry is now seeing a new dawn rise. More youngsters are choosing moviemaking and acting for a career and, we say, more the merrier. Interestingly, most of the newbies are from families with a filmi background. While we have Shreyas Manju, Abhishek and Dhiren Kumar to name among the few, Sandalwood gears up to welcome another hero -- producer SA Srinivas’s son Suraj Kumar. While his father has produced films of Rajkumar, Ambareesh and Jaggesh, Suraj also belongs to the Rajkumar clan. His father is Parvathamma Rajkumar’s brother. But, this six-footer says that he was driven to career out of “sheer passion”.
“They may say that acting is in our blood and that where I come from matters, but I believe that only talent and hardwork will help me succeed in this industry. I have always craved to be an actor, even when I was a child, and the feeling has only intensified over the years,” says Suraj.In school, he took part in dance competitions and stage shows in pursuit of his interest in show business. But the actor always knew that he must understand the industry better before choosing this as a profession.
He says, “When I first expressed my desire to be actor, my family’s first response was ‘prepare yourself’. And my first step was to train in dancing and stunts in Chennai. I also did an acting course in Bengaluru at Actre and then went to Ninasam”. But Suraj’s says that he gained practical knowledge of filmmaking while working as an assistant director in two films.
“I was told that this kind of experience is necessary before facing the camera. After working in the two films and learning different skills over the last four years, I decided to get a photo shoot done. I have now entered Gandhinagar and meeting various kinds of people from the industry,” he says.
Fortunately, for this young talent, he has found a mentor in a star. He mentions that Darshan has been guiding his every step.Suraj says, “I have known Darshan from my childhood. He is from Mysuru and I am from there too, and he is like family and a brother. We both come from families that are connected to movies”.
“When he heard that I am considering a career in movies, he suggested that I take up a course at Ninasam and helped me in getting a firsthand experience in direction… I worked as an assistant director for Airavatha and Tarak. And honestly, it worked to my advantage. I have come to realise that not everyone can face the camera. The experience you gain behind the scenes helps you be a better actor. I have been seeking his advice at every step,” he says. This newcomer has understood that no one has the time to wait on a young actor, and that is best to come prepared to the sets.
He has made his Sandalwood debut when many of his peers have made theirs. Does Suraj think that this is the right time then?
“It is not the entry but how we sustain our career that is important When I decided to become an actor, I started preparing for it. Cinema is a learning process and we cannot master it in a day. We have to be confident and I am that, that’s why I have decided to debut now,” he says.But, wait, what is his movie? Suraj asks us to be patient. “I have a few offers in hand out of which I have heard 5 to 6 stories and need to decide on one. I hope to make a big announcement soon,” he says, adding that he does not want to be typecast. “I don’t want to be classified as a mass or class actor. Right now, I want to prove that I am a good entertainer,” he says.