'I'm pretty decent'
Suchindra Bali is not new to the film industry.
Son of popular actress Vyjayantimala Bali, it was natural for Suchindra to follow his mother's footsteps. Now with two Tamil films, (Kannodu Kandethellam and Mugavara) to his credit, and one still under production (Varsha), the actor is now working on his first Hindi film, Aanch.
Ronjita Das met up with him in his Andheri house to find out more.
You're a law graduate. What made you get into films?
See, I had to finish my education. That was my priority. After completing law, I found modelling quite interesting. A lot of my friends are into modelling, so they told me to give it a shot too. So I did!
Some South producers saw my photographs in magazines. They were looking out for a new face. So they approached me. That's how I started.
You were doing Tamil films. How did Aanch happen?
Well, I always wanted to do Hindi films. So I came to Bombay, met the director and the production people through common friends. I really liked the script.
Besides, the cast in this film is great. I feel it's good to work with Nana Patekar, Paresh Rawal and Nirmal Pandey in my first film. They are all experienced and seasoned actors. That's going to help me a lot. It is a good learning experience for me.
What is it like working with Nana Patekar?
I've heard so much about him; have seen so many of his films. I think he's a brilliant artiste. He's very intense and comes across very strong on screen. It's a delight watching him perform.
You have constantly do your best, because you're working with such stalwarts. It makes you want to at least try and stand up to their level.
Tell me about the first scene that you shot for in this film.
The first scene was an intense scene, with a lot of people present, including Nirmal Pandey and Paresh Rawal.
It was a shootout scene in the village. The Panchayat is present, and a few people have come from the neighbouring villages. Suddenly, someone is shot and everyone is stunned. The first few minutes are chaotic because no one knows what to do. Then we try to rescue the person who is shot and try to get out of that place quickly.
The whole time I was just concentrating on the shot and thinking about how I should react in that scene. Only after you do something you realise that you could have done it better.
Is there any difference between acting in a Hindi film and a Tamil film?
The only major difference is that the South is faster in making films. In two or three months, they wrap up a film. So they say that they are more organised and disciplined. Of course, it really helps everyone if the film is wrapped up soon.
But I think the trend is starting in Bombay also. Films are completed in one or two long schedules. If a film lags, then everyone gets busy with other projects and it gets very tough to coordinate.
What about working with directors Rajesh Kumar Singh (Aanch) and Vijay Kumar (Varsha) who are from two different industries?
There is quite a difference. In the South, in regional cinema, they know that the film is restricted to that area. So they know that they have to cater to that kind of lifestyle and culture. They have to work within that frame.
But Bollywood caters to the whole of India and even overseas. Of course, the South has a big industry too, and their films go out of India. But the approach is definitely different, because they still target a particular audience.
But as far as the working style goes, both the industries are highly professional and focused.
What is Aanch about?
It's a love story. There are two heads of two villages, who are constantly at loggerheads with each other. Nana Patekar and Paresh Rawal play the two heads. But I can't tell you the entire story.
The story is very close to reality. In the sense, that this kind of kind happens quite often in certain parts of Uttar Pradesh. It has all the ingredients of a film like romance, action, etc.
Tell me about your role.
I play a carefree guy who stays in the city, but has his roots in the village. Due to certain circumstances, he has to go to the village. He gets into some problems in the village, so he returns to the city. He gets involved with a girl from another village, which causes more problems for him. So he fights for her.
What do you expect from this film when it is released?
Well, it should do well and the public should accept me. That will help build my career and move ahead. I will focus more on Bollywood than the South. But if a good film comes my way from the South, I will definitely take it up.
Your mother, Vyjayanthimala Bali, has been one of the best actresses of her times. Do you feel intimidated about the fact that people may expect you to live up to her name?
Expectations are always there. Even if you try to disassociate yourself from them, they will always be there. But I will definitely try to do my best. I'm very proud of my mother. And I would like to make her proud of me, too.
I will try to live up to the expectations and maybe go beyond. This will always be there at the back of my mind. Expectations make you think and be focused. Of course, just thinking will not help. Action is also required.
How has your mother influenced you?
She is my best friend. I can discuss anything and everything with her. When I started shooting for my films, down South, I would always come home and discuss the scenes with her. She is my friend, philosopher and guide.
I took a lot of tips from her. Especially for dancing.
How do you rate yourself in dancing?
(laughs) Well, actually, people should say that. I can't rate myself.
I can't give myself points. I would say I'm pretty decent.
Who has been your greatest influence in life?
I look up to my parents a lot, even though my father is no longer alive. They are my idols.
In the face of Hrithik and Abhishek, where do you think you stand in Bollywood?
Hrithik and Abhishek are already established and they are big guys now. They've made a niche for themselves with their styles. But each one has their own place.
I would like to do good work for myself. Competition will always be there, no doubt. But you have to focus and believe in yourself. You must do your part, don't concentrate too much on other people. Everyone is doing their part. You must give your best in what you are doing.
The rest is in God's hands.