EXCLUSIVE: Suhail Nayyar calls Rishi Kapoor ‘eternal’ as he speaks about the success of Sharmaji Namkeen

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Up until two months ago, Suhail Nayyar was referred to as that actor from Udta Punjab or that funny guy from Life Sahi Hai, but after the release of Sharmaji Namkeen, the audience has got to register the name of Suhail, the actor. He played the late Rishi Kapoor‘s son in the slice-of-life film and while the film became special for being Rishi ji’s last, Suhail’s performance also gathered a lot of appreciation as well from the critics and audiences alike.

Recently, Bollywood Bubble got into an exclusive conversation with Suhail Nayyar where he spoke about the after effects of the success of Sharmaji Namkeen, being a part of Rishi ji’s last film, Kubbra Sait’s overwhelming response, his upcoming show Jee Karda and co-star Tamannaah Bhatia, being a ‘meme connoisseur’ and much more. Read excerpts:

 

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What has been the Sharmaji Namkeen effect on your career?

The effects are showing slowly-slowly. Meetings are happening, people are recognising and appreciating my work and more offers are coming. I got the time to heave a sigh of relief because of the love I have been receiving and a lot of things are happening which I cannot yet talk about. But the audience sees you differently once you act in a film, and that has been happening to me. The big change that has come is that a lot of projects that are coming to me now, don’t require me to audition, rather they have come to me after seeing my work. And this was much needed. I am always up for auditioning but sometimes you are asked to audition for such roles that you feel like telling people to see your previous work as if I could do that, I can do this thing for sure.

Has their been any particular response to the film that has stayed with you?

I remember getting a very heartfelt call from Kubbra Sait. She got so overwhelmed after seeing the film as it made her remember her equation with her mother which she told me about. She even called her mom after watching the film. She has seen my journey through the film and she was really appreciative of it and the film really moved her. She just opened up her heart to me and that was a feedback that has stayed with me.

You got to be a part of the legend Rishi Kapoor’s last film, and that must be an achievement you hold pretty close to you…

The opportunity of playing his onscreen son in itself was a pretty big one, so I never thought about it being his last film. But if I think about it, I feel very lucky that I got to stand with him in one frame in his last work. To be in his aura was a big thing in itself. Since Rishi ji is eternal, the film became eternal because of him and so did our work.

 

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What was your father’s reaction to the film?

There were some things in the film that after watching them, my father was like I talk to even him that way. That is some inherent North Indian twang of any relationship. He was very proud of me after seeing the film and he really praised my acting in it.

From the funny guy in Life Sahi Hai to being recognised as Suhail Nayyar after Sharmaji Namkeen, how has that journey been for you?

I have been trying to show my range ever since the start of my career. Be it the chilled out guy in Life Sahi Hai who is like a playboy, to the gritty character in Udta Punjab and now this controlled character in Sharmaji Namkeen, I have been waiting for people to take notice of it and give me more work. It’s great that people know me today because before this film, even in my Insta bio I had written ‘that actor from Udta Punjab’. Now that has changed and so have many things in real life.

Your upcoming show Jee Karda was recently announced. It gives out such fun vibes. What can you tell us about it?

It’s a coming-of-age story of seven childhood friends who all come together for a wedding in the first season. I won’t give away much, but the dynamics that get affected in real-life because of it and what follows, forms the story. It’s a very well-made show and quite close to real-life.

 

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You worked with Excel Entertainment in Sharmaji Namkeen, and now you are collaborating with Maddock Films for Jee Karda. How does working with such big banners affect your career graph?

What happens when you work with big producers is that people’s faith in you as an actor increases. When I came from FTII, people noticed in the auditions that I was a good actor and I knew my work. But if you do something like Life Sahi Hai and Udta Punjab, you get stereotyped as that Punjabi guy. So, then you need someone to break that and Sharmaji Namkeen and Jee Karda have done that for me. If big banners like these put their faith in you then others also get that confidence and you get more work.

You are working with Tamannaah Bhatia in Jee Karda and she is like one of the most renowned faces on that set. How much did you get to learn in her company?

She is one of the best co-actors I have ever worked with. We are starring opposite each other in the show and her professionalism is so on point. She has been working for so long and is such a big star but is so accommodating. I will talk in much more details once the trailer is out because I have so much to say about her and our scenes together. But I have to say she is so sweet and genuine. She is a star of that level that even if she has an attitude, you feel like ‘itna to banta hai’, but she doesn’t have any.

 

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Your Instagram bio describes you as a ‘Meme Connoisseur’. What is all that about?

I have a very twisted sense of humour. Before the story feature was there on Instagram, I used to send memes to people personally on Whatsapp. Now, I do it on Insta stories for my own self, but I found out that some people actually follow me just for that. During lockdown, there was so much pain and sadness so it was my attempt to spread some laughs. But many people take offense on it as well. People have even messaged me that ‘tera career chal jayega, tu kyun itna depress hoke meme share karta rehta hai’. So, I just laugh it off.

How would that young boy who decided to be an actor, react to the phase this Suhail Nayyar is in today?

He will be happy and be like ‘lage raho’ because his dreams are too big. He will be excited that he is on the right track but he won’t be content anytime soon. That boy had embarked on a long journey and he is too hungry. And that hunger is what is pushing me.

 

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So, are their any roles on your wish list that you are dying to portray on screen?

Anything that Zoya Akhtar is doing or some role that has layers like an onion. I love working on such characters. And I love adding those quirky traits in my characters on screen. Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bhardwaj are those directors that have a huge contribution in bringing me to Mumbai so I have to work with them. The character arcs in their projects are so amazing that you feel like you have to do it. During the worst period of my life, I made Luck By Chance my bible. The two films that gave me a lot of strength and affected my life a huge deal, they have to be Luck By Chance and Rocky series. I watch the former at least once a year without fail.

What’s next for Suhail Nayyar now after the success of Sharmaji Namkeen?

I am trying to get into the mainstream zone. I don’t know how it happens without a godfather or without being related to someone in the industry. Jim Sarbh had said in an interview that how do you get to that next table, that is the struggle, so that is what even I am facing. I am concentrating on what I have right now but the desire is to reach the next level.

Also read: The Rishi Kapoor we didn’t know: Paresh Rawal