American actor of Indian descent, Sendhil Ramamurthy is talking his baby steps in Bollywood with Gurinder Chadha’s It’s A Wonderful Afterlife (IAWA) releasing in India on May 7. He has also been signed up by Ekta Kapoor for Shor and it looks like he’s here to stay. A tete-a-tete with the theatre actor who made it big with the American television show, Heroes.
How was your experience working on the much loved TV show, HEROES.
It was an amazing experience to be a part of a show that blew up to be so big and has captured the imagination of people worldwide. It runs in 226 countries, and there’s no place in the world where people don’t know who we are. It’s been four great years of working on it, and the show has opened doors for more work – for all of us.
How kicked were you playing a geneticist in HEROES?
Well, I’d really been doing theatre when I landed the role. So, I was just excited to have a job, because it paid well. And it was a sprawling concept, very filmic in nature. They have spent a lot of money.
You mean, HEROES was shot on a movie camera?
Yes, it was fully shot on Panavision film, which is very rare these days.
Had you seen any of Gurinder Chadha’s films before you accepted IT’S A WONDERFUL AFTERLIFE?
I had seen Bend It Like Beckham, which was terrific. I knew that she was doing very commercial, popular films. I accepted IAWA because it was very different from Heroes.
How was it working with Shabana Azmi?
Amazing! We don’t have too many scenes together, but even watching her was great – someone so much more experienced than I am.
How do you research for your role? What is your approach?
It depends on the character. In IAWA, I play a cop. So, I roamed around with the London Metropolitan Police, and talked to them.
Tell us about your Bollywood project, SHOR. How did you land the role?
I finished shooting it in February. The writer-directors, Krishna D.K. and Raj Nidimoru, flew to Los Angeles and offered the role to me over breakfast. They showed me their short film, called Short, which went to Cannes and which I liked. My role in Shor is that of an NRI who comes to set up a non-profit organisation in India and gets caught up in corruption and the mafia. I work with a terrific new actress, Preeti Desai, who’s been Miss Great Britain in 2006.
Are there any more Bollywood films in your kitty?
I don’t speak Hindi, so only if films are being made in English, I can do them. There are three stories in Shor, and my story is in English. So, I’m looking at more crossover and character-based kind of films.
You’re a Tamilian. Have you been approached for a role in south Indian cinema?
I have been recently approached for a Tamil and a Kannada film. But I will wait for the right script.
Will you go back to theatre?
Yeah. I have done theatre in New York and London, and would love to do West Enders or a Broadway.