Suhaas Ahuja, the actor who is being appreciated for his portrayal of the character Salim Khan in the Star Plus show ‘P.O.W. Bandi Yuddh Ke’ and has also been a part of the movies Talaash with Aamir Khan and Katti Batti with Imran Khan, is a passionate theatre artist who is now working towards establishing himself as a singer-songwriter.
On the difference between theatre versus mainstream TV and cinema, Suhaas says, “There definitely is a lot of difference, but the mediums complement each other too. In terms of characterisation, you get the most time in theatre thanks to a lengthy rehearsal schedule. If you don’t give yourself that much time for film or TV, you have to sometimes think fast and work quickly.”
“There are some filmmakers who believe in rehearsals. Like in Katti Batti, director Nikkhil Advani had our casting director Mukesh Chhabra workshop all the scenes between Imran and myself, since I was playing his buddy and thus that camaraderie was built upon way before we got to set. On the other hand, Reema Kagti, the director of Talaash, felt that over-rehearsing could ruin spontaneity. So it depends, a lot on the director, but in the end, the actor has to figure out what strategy works best for that project.”
About working in theatre, he shares, “In theatre, you express outwardly, as theatre is actually all about connecting with the audience. Every show is unique. The first mission in the theatre is that you should be loud enough so that you are audible even to the last person. Only then can you even begin to consider acting for them.”
On the idea of being a director’s actor, Suhaas expressed, “Look, on the set, the director’s pretty much your boss. At the end, you’ve been hired to fulfill his/her vision. However, as a professional, my job is also to provide the director with some interpretations that perhaps even he/she hasn’t anticipated. And when that influences the director’s vision, that’s when the relationship becomes a collaboration. And that’s a win-win situation for everyone. It even helps in furthering the actor’s career, because his/her work can be showcased better in the director’s film.”
“My parents belong to the theatre. That’s how they met. While I was growing up, they continued doing it. My siblings and I grew up in that environment, and we all have done a fair amount of acting. Later I studied filmmaking in college. I am into music as well. I play the guitar, write my own songs and was a full-time composer for some time too. One thing led to another, and that’s how I find myself here,” shared Suhaas about how he got into this industry.
“I am attracted to tragically flawed characters but also love doing comedy. I did a role in a TV series called ‘Bahu Humari Rajni_Kant’, which was a very comic character. It was an exaggerated character, but the challenge of playing such an exaggerated character is to make him real, and I love that process,” he said on trying out various roles.
About his favourite characters and co-stars, Suhaas shares, “My most favourite character I’ve ever played was from this Indo-French theatre collaboration called ‘Gates To India Song’, in which I acted opposite Nandita Das. Another one would be Thomas from a play called ‘Bull’ directed by Jim Sarbh. Also, Salim Khan’s character from POW is now a favourite, although I often found him hard to believe. I often used to ask Nikkhil, wouldn’t Salim get angry here, just once and briefly? But Nikkhil would always say, not Salim. He was like the most patient and calm character ever.”
“My favourite co-star so far would be Satyadeep Misra. We have done some fantastic scenes together in POW. Due to the nature of their relationship, there were a lot of scenes wherein while I was expressing something to him, I was hiding something too. Getting to essay such contradictions in a character is just gold for an actor, and Satyadeep is an incredibly generous co-actor who’s very comfortable with his own intensity. Jim Sarbh is another one of my favourites. We have done a lot of plays together; he is incredibly talented and highly intelligent. I enjoyed working with Imran Khan too. He is like, the nicest guy you will ever meet. Super chill to work with. As an ensemble cast, the entire cast of POW is just outstanding. They’re all excellent actors, perfectly cast for their characters. I think POW is a genuine achievement in casting,” he added.
Lastly, while signing off, on upcoming projects, Suhaas says, “Right now I have some time, so I’m spending it on my singer-songwriter material. Once my acting career picked up after Talaash, I sort of became preoccupied with it and have been looking for the opportunity to make some progress with my own music.”
We thank Suhaas for his time and wish him good luck for his musical endeavours.
Read more Celebrity Interviews in our featured section Chai Pe Charcha.