We have seen him romance Rekha in Utsav, make us laugh in Dekh Bhai Dekh and judge comedy shows with much humour and style. Shekhar Suman can safely be called one of the biggies or even the King of Indian television. And yes, before one forgets, he can sing. Now he is back, in another interesting role which is of a film director. His debut film Heartless will see him direct his son Adhyayan Suman and Ariana Ayam. It has been inspired by Awake, a Hollywood film which starred Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba.
This makes you ask him of how he has made his version different from the 2007 crime-supernatural thriller. Suman reveals that Heartless has some elements from Awake. “We have the official rights to Awake. But it is my own story, though some elements have been incorporated. Many don’t do that or admit has been inspired. This film has my own creativity and a slice of my life. The screenplay and dialogues are my own. Just one part of it is thriller. Though I have the rights, the take is different. It has a romantic and emotional film.”
Suman sticks to his choice of picking an unusual subject for his directorial debut and not going for the same old stories which were seen in the last 30 films released recently. He feels filmmakers have gone into the loop mode. This is despite the fact that there are so many stories to tell. “A certain melody is gone. We need to inject different emotions.” Choosing his son Adhyayan as the film’s lead was a natural choice for Suman – to be his heir apparent. “I consider him a good actor. But once he is the actor on sets, I become detached. We know our roles there. As a co-actor, I have also played a character in this film. I have not given him preferential treatment, because he is my heir apparent. There are no short cuts and have been as strict with him as to others.”
One does not need to be a genius to know that actors turning directors are looked upon with suspicious – prone to creative obsessiveness and are just not able to control it. Suman assures you that he knows his responsibility. Though he has acted in the film, it takes a back foot here and you see him concentrate as the director. Yet, you are curious of the point that he became a big name on television but preferred to make a directorial debut on the bigger screen. He could have done something for television. Suman’s answer is simple – he is a cinema boy. “I started with films, before I took a detour with television. Then I had to take a sabbatical. Television has taught me a lot and it paid me well. But I have to give back to films. It was my big dream to direct films. Television can wait as I pay attention to cinema and the big beautiful city of Mumbai. It is never to late to give it back to this city which gave me everything.”
Yes, you have to market your product, in this age and world. So what makes Heartless, a film by Shekhar Suman, a film to watch out for, according to the director? Is there anything in the film which will stay with the audience? Suman feels there are many directors but few filmmakers. “A director will do a film without even knowing the craft. The industry has been good to many and they can do what they want. Many came here just like that. But few filmmakers have that creative side where they stick to the script and casting.” In his words, he is not here for the money. If the audience accepts the film and the money comes in, Suman would be a satisfied filmmaker.
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