The year was 2020, when the entire country was in lockdown. A bunch of friends and colleagues, who have earlier worked in short films were roped in by director Sandeep Raj for his debut film ‘Colour Photo’. For Suhas, who has until then acted as a comedian in many hit films, and was part of many short films on Youtube – this was the first film where he plays the lead role.
‘Colour Photo’ released on Aha and went on to become a huge hit on OTT, and has changed the destiny for Suhas. The actor, who until then was happy and quite busy with his comedian roles, began to be sought after for lead roles. Like many from this generation of actors, he began to pick and choose roles that are different and stories that excited him.
Suhas’s career began with the YouTube. What started with watching films and coming back home to imitate a variety of actors like Kota Sreenivas Garu and Rajendra Prasad attracted him to stage. He used to dance during college fests, and now an actor, and director Teja Kakumanu, back then when he saw him dance, advised him to try acting in one-act plays. “I consider Teja my Guru. He put the idea in my head. He advised me to try and act. I started acting in skits. He then encouraged me to try my luck in film. Whatever I do in acting are his suggestions,” he says.
That his first film as hero ‘Colour Photo’ went on to win the National Award is the icing on the cake. “Like my co-actor in the film Chandni says – the film is like a never-ending gift for us. When I was first offered the film by Sandeep Raj, I was actually afraid to take it up. After much struggle I was quite comfortable with my place in the film industry at the time. As a comedian I had made my mark and I had been very busy with work. I was working with films like ‘Majili’ ‘Agent Atreya’, Uma Maheswara Ugrarupasya’. I wondered if it would be too much of a risk to take up this film as a lead. I was recently married and wondered if it would be a good decision at all. It was like a make or break moment. I took some time and agreed to do the film. And, it was a turning moment in my career,” he shares. “Colour Photo is a memorable film for me.”
His latest to release ‘Writer Padmanabham’ follows his heart. It is directed by Shanmukha Prasanth and is a fun and emotional story of a 25-year-old aspiring writer from a middle class family in Vijayawada, and his struggles to publish and sell his book. Suhas has known Prasanth as an Asssitant Director of ‘Colour Photo’ and the production Chai Bisket is like a home production from his initial days as an actor. “I made a short film with him ‘Nandan’, and Prasanth was also the writer for my other film ‘Family Drama’. It was during the shoot of the latter I heard the story and was super excited. We approached the producers and they were happy to take it up. With DOP Venkata Ramana this was the third film. Chai Bisket is closer to heart for many reasons, and so we worked with more caution. Even though, they asked us to take enough time, we were able to deliver the film to them in 45 days,” Suhas relates.
Speaking about the story of ‘Writer Padmanabham’ – “I personally like dramas, and this is a perfect drama that you can watch with the youngest in the family and the oldest. We got a clean U/A certificate for the film. For the first one hour forty minutes you will be in for a hearty laugh and the last few minutes you will be drawn into the emotion, and will come back from the film with a heavy heart,” he explains. “It is a happy and peaceful watch.”
Suhas’ career as a hero of a film is no less a pot broiler as his first film was a direct OTT and his next ‘Writer Padmanabham’ was completed and the country went into second lockdown. For Suhas who was dreaming to see himself as a lead on the big screen, this came as a major disappointment. “I played many roles as a comedian. In fact, I was looking forward to see myself as a hero on the big screen and I was very disappointed that even this would end up as an OTT release. However, the producers Anurag and Sharath said that they will wait for it to release in theatres at any cost.” And, true to their word they waited two years to finally get a good release date on February 3.
“I have known a few writers who were working with Chai Bisket and have been my friends. In Vijayawada PWG grounds we have one of the biggest book fairs conducted annually where I used to see writers. My wife’s grandfather is a writer of repute back home. They have all been references to reprise the role of a writer in the film. I was not into reading books. However, a few Assistant directors with whom I worked were into writing and they introduced me to books, says the actor who was seen promoting his movie at the recently organized book fair in Hyderabad. “Subconsciously I knew about the struggles through people I have known, and I have also spoken to many writers to help me prepare for the film,” he adds.
With so many films and the many aspirants trying their luck in the film industry – he says he believes that it is only good writing and good stories that will help the actor stand out. “When I get a project, I invest my 100 percent for it. I give my best. And, I believe you need good scripts for you to be successful and identified,” he states.
Today, the actor, who first got a role that is a commentary on the obsession with skin colour and caste has writers creating story lines for him. He is working in a bunch of films ‘Ambajipeta Marriage Band’, ‘Anand Rao Adventures’, ‘Prasanna Vadanam’. And, he has also acted in the latest ‘Hit 2’ where he plays an antagonist. “I am not fixated in a particular genre. I have okayed stories that excited me. I did ‘Hit’ as I wanted to showcase what I can do as an actor. But I won’t repeat myself as I do not want to be type cast,” he reveals.