‘We All Grow Up, Become Wiser’

‘Since we are in the same party now, there has to be political camaraderie if nothing more.’

Photograph: Kind courtesy Shekhar Suman

Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar has given a new lease of career life to Shekhar Suman and his son Adhyayan.

He shared the tough times the family has faced, and how they overcame that phase.

“At the moment, there are three scripts lying on the table, but Mr Sanjay Bhansali spoils you. Once you work with him, everything else pales in comparison,” Shekhar tells Rediff.com Senior Contributor Roshmila Bhattacharya in the second segment of a multi-part interview.

The Heeramandi role is not much in terms of footage…

I have always believed that the strength of the role lies not in its length.

Case to point, Priyanka Chopra in Bajirao Mastani who with just one line, ‘Aap humse humari zindagi maang lete hum aapko khushi khushi de dete, par aapne toh humse hamara guroor cheen liya‘ walked away with all the honours.

Bobby Deol in Animal doesn’t even have a single line, and yet he makes such an impact!

It’s a compliment when people say, ‘I wish there was more of him.’

At the moment, there are three scripts lying on the table, but Mr Sanjay Bhansali spoils you.

Once you work with him, everything else pales in comparison.

I lost the opportunity earlier…

Really?

Yeah, he offered me Chunnilal’s role in Devdas. I couldn’t do it since I was so busy with Movers & Shakers. The regret has stayed with me all these years.

Now, after Heeramandi and the respect he showed both Adhyayan and me, I hope we get another opportunity to work with him.

Adhyayan, who during Raaz: The Mystery Continues was seen as one of the most promising talents, also faded away. Where was he all these years?

That was Mr Bhansali’s first question too.

He says it’s the industry‚Äôs loss that a relative newcomer who can hold his own against seasoned actresses like Manisha Koirala and Richa Chadha, has gone unnoticed all these years.

‘What a brilliant actor Adhyayan is, Shekharji, he is a real heera (diamond),’ he told me while hugging my son.

He showed that scene at the party where (Adhyayan’s character) Zoravar learns the truth of his birth, to Ranveer (Singh), Ranbir (Kapoor) and Alia (Bhatt). He even sent it to the Netflix team in the US, he was that delighted.

Earlier, Bhattsahab (Mahesh Bhatt) had confided that he cried watching my 19-year-old son in Raaz and Jashn, wondering where the emotions came from.

Like me, Adhyayan’s luck changed too, but he held on with stoic silence, stayed beautiful from within, and today, thanks God for this learning experience that has made him a better actor.

I’m really happy for him and proud that the validation has come from one of the best directors in the country. There can be no bigger award.

IMAGE: Adhyayan had dated Kangana Ranaut during the filming of Raaz: The Mystery Continues. Photograph: Pradeep Bandekar

As a politician, what are some of the changes you would like to bring about?

Since charity begins at home, I’d like to start with my town, Patna, and my state, Bihar, which is lagging behind in infrastructure.

Patna doesn’t even have a good five-star hotel.

I want to build roads, bridges, acting institutes, theatres and a good airport.

Also, with all the controversies happening around new releases, I want to become the voice of the film industry.

You have said you wouldn’t mind campaigning for Kangana Ranaut. That’s magnanimous given all the accusations hurled against Adhyayan and you.

We all grow up, become wiser.

Since we are in the same party now, there has to be political camaraderie if nothing more.

When we cross paths, we can smile and bridge the barrier.

Life is to be cherished.