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Suman - Actor and Person
Vasu Reddy from Chicago
I met Suman for the second time in Chicago when I went to receive him at O’Hare airport on 27th February 2004. He was instantly engaging and extremely polite despite being tired from his long journey from Hyderabad, India. He was visiting Chicago for nine days, and was in town as the chief guest of Telugu Association’s Musical Night.
Over the next nine days I attended many a get-togethers organized on his behalf and was extremely touched at Suman’s ability to chat, discuss, advocate and be available to any topic and to folks around him. He was always polite and warm in speaking to every person who he came in contact with. More over he was full of praise for his fellow actors, producers and directors. By the time he left Chicago he had made many friends. Suman also called everyone who was a part of hosting him in Chicago after he returned to India.
One evening in a dinner hosted by Iftekhar Shareef he spoke to a group of people form the Chicago press, leaders of the Indian community and friends passionately about politics, reforms in India and community development. He spoke of government, political reforms and why he joined politics. What struck me is his humility in being with fellow Indians. Suman spent a lot of time with many families, and visited a church while in Chicago. While Suman visited with as many people as possible he was tireless in being available to all.
To write this profile I spoke to Suman (Sunday May 9, 2004) at his home, and also requested his responses to specific questions I had for him. He had just returned from campaigning and beginning to focus on his movie career and away from the hectic schedule of political campaigning for BJP. He mentioned that he visited my native place Proddatur for a day in his campaign, and I was touched that he remembered my native place, and did not forget to mention this. I informed him that I was beginning to write a series of Internet articles and requested his assistance in working on his profile, which he graciously agreed to. Due to his various movie and other engagements, we were able to complete the specific responses by May 29, 2004.
Interview with Suman
Question: What are your current assignments and types of roles you are playing?
Response: Assignments nearing completion are Eenati Kurukshetram, where I play a role of a rebel, as a Police Commissioner in Leela Mahal Center and Simha IPS.
A variety of roles namely, John –The Baptist in the movie Shanti Sandesham, Lord Venkateswara Swami’s role in the movie titled Jai Balaji - a film based on the famous Chilakur Balaji Temple, a freedom fighter in the movie Sardar Papanna - a period film are forthcoming movies.
Other projects include Love in Cricket - a film based on Match Fixing, as a Police Officer in films namely - One town police station, Abhinayasree, lakshayam, Ram, and Shabdham. A commando in a rescue operation in a movie titled 5’0 Thariku (read as Aidho-tariku), and a thriller titled Mystery are also in the pipeline.
Question: What are your impressions on the current state of the movie industry in South India, and how you compare the current environment to your earlier days in the industry?
Response: As far as the technical aspect of the South Indian Movie Industry is concerned, Tamil language movies have come of age. They have set precedence to a new era of film making for the rest of us to follow. With regards to the Soul of a movie - a Story line, which seemed to have relied on set formulae of the past, has witnessed a new lease of life with Malayalam movies churning out fresh ideas with a new outlook.
Telugu films like Okkadu, Varsham, Satyam, Show, Missamma etc., to name a few, belong to the genre of films with original story lines, backed by a good technical and team support. A large part of films made in Telugu have treaded the usual path of remakes of successful films in other languages. The success of films like the ones mentioned above have showed that the audiences are appreciative of original and varied ideas, if delivered with a strong technical and star value in terms of good acting and craftsmanship.
As far as the overall trend of films in India, clean family entertainment has taken a backseat with vulgarity ruling the Box office with commercialism as its soul and sole purpose.
The current environment is witnessing a refreshing change, with new generation of filmmakers and talented artistes, who are equally dedicated and passionate in their chosen field. In spite of a spurt of fresh lineage, the senior generations of artistes and filmmakers have carved a niche for themselves, which is worth mentioning.
As far as the physical environment of the industry is concerned, Ramoji film city has set a benchmark in the technical and aesthetic environment provided for the film industry in India. Such passionate contributions have made the people sit up and take notice of this large community to regard it as an industry in the true sense of the word, which was otherwise regarded as an industry only for namesake.
Question: Did your involvement with Politics change your career in the movie industry?
Response: I firmly believe that, involvement in Politics that limits itself to social and community service does not change, for the better or worse of one’s career. It has been the same regardless of my stand in the political arena.
I must add that involvement in politics has been an enriching experience. I treat it as a larger platform to interact, reach and serve the society at large-, which has made me what I am today.
Question: I am aware of your plan for a play "Srivari Vaibhavam" in the USA. Can you elaborate on the play and how you got involved with this?
Response: The concept of live audience feedback through theatre is something I have always wanted to try. The play Srivari vaibhavam will mark my entry in theatre. It is a dance ballet. The producer and director of the play Dr. Sinduri Rahul (Savitri dance academy), is a very good friend of our family. Inspired by my role as Sri. Venkateswara Swami in the film Anomaly, she offered this unique concept of a dance ballet. Under the able guidance of Sri. DV Narasa Raju, Veteran Playwright in Telugu (my grand father-in law), the play has lyrics and dialogues by Sri. Indarakanti Srikant Sharma. The play is scheduled as a series of shows in and around US in October 2004.
Question: your thoughts on your experiences with the Movie Industry.
Response: It has been an experience of a lifetime, spanning a period of 25 years in the film industry. It is indeed a matter of Pride, Privilege and Luck by God's grace to witness and be a part of Three generations of Film fraternity from Senior NTR to NTR Jr.
Question: What would you have done if you were not in the movie industry?
Response: Had it not been for a career in the silver screen, I would have perhaps, followed my childhood dream of reaching the silver lining, as a pilot.
Question: What message to your Fans?
Response: “Past is Past, we cannot go back in time to start a new beginning, but we can with the present and future in our hands, start now and give a good ending”.
Suman Bio Data
Suman's full name is Mangalore Suman Talwar. Suman was born on 28th of August 1959 at Chennai. His mother Late Mrs. Kesari Chander was the Principal of the prestigious Ethiraj College for women in Chennai. His father Mr. Susheel Chander worked for IOC in Chennai.
Suman now makes his home in Hyderabad, with his wife Sirisha (granddaughter of well-known Play-Wright Mr. D.V. Narasa Raju) and his eight-year old daughter Akilaja Prathyusha. His in-laws are Mrs. Kavita Raju and Mr. D.V. Narasa Raju. His mother tongue is Tullu (Mangalore, Karnataka). Suman attended kindergarten at Church Park Convent, Chennai. He went to school at The Besant Theosophical High School, Chennai. He joined the Pachayappas College to complete BA in English Literature. Suman can converse fluently in Tullu (His Mother Tongue) English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Hindi. Suman learnt Sanskrit from Sri. H.A.S. Sashtri. Suman also learnt playing the Veena and the Guitar. He is a Black belt in karate (Shotokan Style). He also learnt Kalari Payiut (Martial Arts of Kerala) from Sri. Gopal Gurukkal.
Many folks in Chicago recognized Suman’s portrayal of Lord Venkateswara in “Annamayya”. He has been an action hero, with very strong personality; acting skills, command of multiple languages and ability to withstand difficult circumstances. Suman has over 25 years of experience and over 150 films in the film land, while acting in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and English.
Suman started his career as a Sensei (Master) in Karate. His family friend Mr. Kittu introduced him to a Tamil producer. He thus started off his film career in the year 1977. In his final year of college he acted in his first Tamil movie "Neechal kulam" produced by well-known producer in Tamil Nadu Late Mr. T.R. Rammanna. His first role was that of a Police officer.
Suman has emerged as a true survivor from a mid career crisis which almost ended his contribution to cinema. I did not probe in to this area, as it seemed meaningless at this point of time.
I first saw Suman in 1984, while he was acting in “America Alludu”, which was produced by Dr. Vemuri Ramesh. I was young and going to school in Chicago. Almost 20 years later and over one hundred plus movies in this time, Suman remains a very handsome and humble person.
Suman speaks of and attributes his patience and endurance to martial arts. Suman Budokan Karate Association is an extension of his involvement in promoting Martial Arts.
Extending good wishes to Suman
With profiling him I extend my best wishes to Suman and his family. Many folks who came in contact with him remember him fondly for his humility and his ability to reach to people. Suman is planning to enact in a play “Srivari Vaibhavam” which will be on stage in USA later this year.
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