Tell us about your role as Narsimha in Red Alert.
I play a real life character a farmer labourer who needs money to fund the education of his children. He finds himself in the midst of Maoists and his mission becomes a mere subset of a greater cause that the militants pursue.
How close were you to the character of Narsimha in Red Alert?
Completely. It was a de-glam role, which included the body language right from the costumes to the minimal make up. I was actually the farmer. After Border this was one chance to be real. I had to fit into the surroundings, which is why I had to go de-glam. It helped me more because I had stars like Naseeruddin Shah, Vinod Khanna and Seema Biswas around me. They used to psyche me out. I tried not to do what I usually do.
Do you think people will accept you in such a role of a Naxalite?
I think it will be a positive reaction. The audience has given me a great feedback during Border so I hope they will do so once again. In fact I think people will realize that there is a thin line between revolution and terrorism. These people are fighting against the system but finally they are fighting their own country. They are killing their own people. You will achieve what you want but at what cost. Taking up the guns is not a solution. The beauty of the film is that it has been written by Aruna Raje. If a man had written the script it would have been different?
Why do you think so?
Because the film is provoking. I always feel that a father can bring up his children but can"t do what a mother can do. Her being constantly on the sets helped a lot. We had to shoot the film without much equipment in the jungles. However, after seeing the results what she wanted was so right. Raja our cameraman has done a great job. We shot in the interiors of Pavana and Karjat. The subject was great. I am sure everybody"s sincerity will show on screen finally. I am happy that I am part of the film. It was the most satisfying experience.
Is it based on a true story?
Yes and it shows that a gun will never bring peace as much as education and love does. The climax of the film is beautiful. Something that you have never seen before. It goes on to show that a Naxal cannot be called a terrorist.
You are not doing too many films these days as a producer and not signed too many films as an actor. Why the sudden lull?
I got lazy. I wanted to do less work. Unfortunately, production came to a halt everywhere. There were so many films lined up and they came to a halt. Now there is so much to be showcased. I decided that it was no use doing films as a producer at this point. Therefore, I decided to sign more films as an actor.
What about your production house Popcorn Entertainment Ltd?
Of course I will produce. We are making films on sensitive subjects that the world would want to know. There"s Loot, Mumbai Chaka Chak and Little God Father. I don"t get time to look into it since I am shooting for 60 days.
Are you happy with your journey now?
I survived 20 years have done around 132 films. I am happy I am doing good films. I do not know about success or failure. But I have the right kind of films and a good choice.
What is the positive and negative side of the industry?
Negative – money is given more importance than anything else.
Positive - Our industry is being considered and recognized by the world cinema. Emotional content is the same but presentation has changed. People are attempting different kinds of cinema. Industry has matured. We were bleeding as an industry as year back but now it"s improving.
What about direction, your contemporaries are into it already?
No it is not my cup of tea. I turned a producer because I wanted to put back into the industry what I had earned from here.
Suniel Shetty is gearing up for the release of his upcoming next Red Alert that hits the cinema screens next Friday, 9th July. Here is a brief tÊte-À-tÊte with the multi talented star who has come a long way in Bollywood