Entertainment

For Delhi boy Suhail Nayyar, ‘Udta Punjab’ was a dream debut

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It’s not easy for a newcomer to get noticed in a multi-starrer film like ‘Udta Punjab’. But Delhi boy Suhail Nayyar has been able to impress many with his portrayal of Jassi, Shahid Kapoor’s cousin, in the film. “It’s a dream debut for me. The likes of Ayushmann Khurrana tweeted praising my work,” says the FTII alumnus.

Was it easy to play a role like Jassi’s? “Frankly, yes. Staying in Delhi, you meet these guys who emulate everything about some rockstar or change their accent after a foreign trip, par asal mein hote woh pendu hain. But there is a difference between a Delhi-based Punjabi and a Punjab-based Punjabi. Take the former and multiply his emotions, of both love and anger, by three times, and you get the latter,” he jokes. Growing up in Model Town, not very far from North Campus, Nayyar says he used to be in awe of du students.

“Mujhe lagta tha main correspondence wala hoon aur yeh DU mein padhne wale students… seedhe muh baat bhi nahi karenge. Unse main bahut complex khata tha,” Suhail says. While his fondest childhood memories are of India Gate outings, when in Delhi, Suhail loves to go for a morning run on Rajpath and gorge on delicacies at Khan Market in the evenings.

Suhail wanted to be a commercial pilot after graduating from school, but that’s also when the acting bug bit him. “My family thought that I should either focus on becoming a pilot or an actor. So I chose the latter. I took up a correspondence course because you need to be a graduate to apply for FTII. Meanwhile, I did theatre in Delhi and helped my father with his real estate business,” he says.

The several cuts proposed by the CBFC gave the newcomer jitters, since in his first scene in the film, he uses several cuss words. He tells us, “To add to the misery, the film got leaked as well. We were all disheartened as two years of our hard work were getting wasted.”

Suhail says that his dream is to star as the lead in a film, and feels that ‘Udta Punjab’ has given him wings to fly high. Talking about his experience shooting for the film, he says, “My most intense scene is when I slap Shahid sir, because at that juncture, my character changes his traits. I also take off my T-shirt in that scene. In the first take of the scene, the cast and the crew started hooting the moment I took off my T-shirt.” He adds, “Both Abhishek (Chaubey) and Shahid sir encouraged me a lot and also allowed me to improvise. Once, Diljit (Dosanjh) sir came to me and said, ‘Paaji, bahut kamal ka role kitta.’ And I was like, ‘Sir, aap star hain aur aap yeh keh rahe hain?’ I was overwhelmed.”

About the drug problem in Punjab, he says, “While shooting in Punjab, we heard so many stories from the locals about lives that have been destroyed because of substance abuse. I have some relatives based in Ludhiana and I had heard similar tales from them as well.”

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