From Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi to Jhankaar Beats to My Brother... Nikhil, Sanjay Suri has been the face of indie cinema for a while. However, as the entertainment industry is opening its arms to streaming and VOD platforms, Suri, too, has joined the bandwagon of actors who have made the digital switch. After appearing in ALTBalaji’s Dev DD, Amazon Prime’s Inside Edge, the 47-year-old is set to appear in Viu’s Love, Lust, Confusion Season 2.
The series in its first season chronicled the life of character Paroma Sarkar (played by Tara Alisha Berry) and the latest season too will see her strive hard to stick to her don’t-do list as she continues to experiment with her love life. Talking about his role in Love, Lust, Confusion 2, Suri says, “I play the role of a guy who is a friend, philosopher, guide to the protagonist. He is going through a mid-life cleansing as opposed to a mid-life crisis and provides the protagonist with sound advice about her life choices.”
Besides the ongoing web series, Suri is also gearing up for another digital show, Leila, which will be released on streaming giant Netflix on June 14. The show is an adaptation of the Indian novel of the same name and explores a dystopic society. When asked whether Suri prefers doing web shows over movies, he is quick to say, “As an actor no matter what medium your project is showcased in, the craft doesn’t change. I won’t stop giving my 100 per cent. Only the method of delivery [to the viewers] changes. Unlike a movie, a web series gives the makers more to develop a character. Movies are time-bound. So, I wouldn’t say that I prefer one over the other. But watching a movie in a dark hall with the acoustics made just for watching a movie, is a special experience altogether. Even when we had special screenings of Inside Egde in a movie hall, the feeling was very different than watching it on a tab or any other on-the-go device.
Despite being a well-known face in the industry, Suri has been largely missing from the big screen. He was last seen in Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi that featured Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal in lead roles. When asked about this, the actor tells us that he has been busy with his own cinematic venture My Birthday Song that was released in January 2018. The crime drama was helmed by his production house called Kahwa Entertainment and directed by another well-known Bollywood actor, Samir Soni.
Talking about how the film did not fair well at the box office, the actor-turned-producer says, “Unfortunately, our film released, one week before Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, so all we got was a week. Padmaavat literally took over all theatre screens leaving space for no other movie to do business”.
The actor laments that despite the rise of indie films, the entertainment market dynamics has drastically changed from when he started out. “We need media backing, film festival support and social media, unlike earlier times. It’s got to do a lot with how money is spent on marketing these films and creating awareness,” he rues.
But Suri remains hopeful and highlights that he has three films and a few web series lined up. “With the emergence of streaming platforms, indie films and their makers have found some relief but it’s not a full-fledged solution for feature films. The ROI (return on investment) is not always great. The entrance of Netflix and Amazon has suddenly woken local players. Netflix and Hulu have existed in the foreign market for decades. India has been unable to tap the local market until now.” he points out.