‘I am a learning actor’
Sonu Sood, the
tall, handsome Punjabi is making a mark in Bollywood. Whether as
Sujamal, the affectionate Bhaisa in Jodhaa-Akbar, or
Abhishek Bachchan’s brother in Yuva, Sonu is here to
stay. Shoma A. Chatterji in a
tete-0-tete with the actor
Where do Sonu Sood’s
Sonu Sood as Sujamal in Jodhaa Akbar
I am from Moga in
Punjab. My father is a businessman and my mother is a professor
of English and History. Among the three children, I am the only
son. After school, I did electronics engineering in Nagpur. I
did modelling for some time in Delhi. But there was this desire
to reach out, to do something more relevant and lasting, which
could only happen in Mumbai. Though my family has no connection
with films, my parents have been extremely supportive.
Why did you move
to films in the South when you did not know the language?
Working in Tamil
and Telugu films, two of which were big hits, was like manna
from heaven. The industry in the South is technically very
competent and it gave me a good learning experience. Language
does not matter especially with the sophisticated dubbing
techniques available. Besides, they kept me from signing films
indiscreetly in Bollywood and ending up nowhere. When many of my
Bollywood films flopped, southern films helped me hone my acting
skills. Sheesha, Siskiyan, Aasihque Banaya Apne, Boom are
some of the Hindi films in my portfolio. They had to happen to
make me wiser.
And then came Bhagat
I played the title
role under director Iqbal Singh. Among those who watched Bhagat
Singh and Yuva was Ashutosh Gowariker. I have been
lucky to work with some of the best directors in the industry.
Mani Ratnam, who directed me in Yuva, had seen my Tamil
films. I had initially given myself a year to see if I could fit
into films. It’s been 11 years and I am still here.
How did you
prepare yourself for your role in Jodhaa-Akbar.
made my day when he said, "I can see only you doing Sujamal
and no one else." While shooting for Jodhaa-Akbar, I
committed myself exclusively to this film for one year. My
mother, Dr Saroj Sood, an academician, got me books on Mughal
history from her college library. She read them herself, asked
me to go through some parts and gave me inputs. She has played a
pivotal role from outside the film team to contribute to my
performance. Ashutosh too gave me a couple of books to read. By
the time we were ready for the first shooting schedule, I knew
Sujamal very closely and then, everything fell in place.
But what about the
swordfights, action scenes and riding shots?
I had done some
sword fighting in college and we all`A0trained in these skills
much before the shooting began. I am ever willing to learn. We
practised a lot. I am a disciplined person. I am a confident
actor because I never allow get complacent.
over-awed by your co-stars?
When we are
performing, we are characters, not actors. So the stardom
hierarchy does not come in front of the camera and on the sets.
For Jodhaa-Akbar, the co-actors helped. Aishwarya was
exceptionally warm and cooperative.`A0She is one of the greatest
co-stars one can have. We shared a common ground because I had
acted with Abhishek in Yuva and I was acting with her in
this film. She still calls me Bhaisa.
What projects are
you working on?
I am doing the
lead role in Rajshri Films’ Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi opposite
Isha Koppikar. It is about a man who dreams of making it big as
a singer which brings him from Bhopal to Mumbai. The other big
project is Singh is Kinng directed by Anees Bazmi. It is
a fun film where Akshay Kumar is Singh and I play Kinng. Kinng
is a multimillionaire don who lives in Australia. Singh is a
simple Punjabi boy. What happens when the two are in Australia
makes for a lot of fun. I am looking at other scripts too.
Meanwhile, I am still working in Tamil and Telugu films because
they have made my face familiar in the south and I love their
Have you been able
to come out of the Sujamal persona?
No one in this
industry can keep resting on past laurels and must look forward
to better films, better scripts, and better roles. I am a
learning actor. Every director has his own take on things, his
way of handling a film, character and script. I go for a role
that gives me a kick. I look forward to working for different
directors. Everyday, after your work on a set is over and it is
pack-up time, you would want to take something new back home
with you. Every assignment I accept must be exciting enough to
make me want to get up early in the morning and go straight to
the shoot. I have decided not to do any film that I may later
regret. I have had my share of the uphill climb, the sweat and
the tears. But there is that pot of gold at the end of the
rainbow. You must reach there yourself. It will not come to you.