Remake and namesake of Subhash Ghai’s hit film Hero – produced by Ghai and Salman Khan – may have bombed at the box office but it has yielded a promising star Sooraj Pancholi. In an exclusive chat with Nation Next, Sooraj Pancholi talks about his parents (Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab), Jiah Khan’s suicide controversy and more.
One would think that life should have been a path full of roses for Aditya Pancholi’s son, who’s been launched by Salman Khan…
It’s been roses with thorns; the path wasn’t easy at all. I have worked really hard. I started my journey as an assistant director with Sanjay Leela Bhansali for Guzaarish. And then I assisted Kabir Khan for Ek Tha Tiger; that’s how I met Salman sir. When I was offered Hero, I couldn’t gather the courage to even inform my dad about the same for more than a year as I wasn’t sure about my acting acumen. No matter from which background we come into the film industry, all are treated equally and have to start from the scratch. People’s expectations are always high from star kids. So, we have to work harder to achieve our goals. I’ve invested a lot of efforts and time in my career, even at the cost of neglecting my family and friends.
A father would always want his son to follow his footsteps to become successful. In your case, it has been completely different as your father told you to not to be like him to achieve success in Bollywood. Is it because he wants you to create your own identity in the film industry or it’s just about you not repeating his mistakes?
(Smiles) Don’t you know the answer already? Yes, my dad has asked me to never follow his footsteps. My dad’s a self-made person and has achieved a lot but he didn’t get what he deserved in his career. He deserved to be a superstar. In those days, there were no managers, PR guys or marketers for actors. So, there was a lack of thoughtfulness in signing the films and even about how to handle one’s own temperament. So, he’s just being worried about me, and that’s why he’s asked me to not to repeat the same mistakes. And I’m trying to not to!
What positive traits of your dad you wish to incorporate in yourself?
He’s the best father! He has supported me and my sister at every point of our lives. He never let anyone point a finger either at me or at my sister. I don’t know about his career but I want to become a father like him. I love him more than anything in my life.
You’ve this arresting screen presence because of your intensity. Is this intensity a dad’s gift?
My mother (Zarina Wahab) is an actor too. She has been in the film industry for a longer period as compared to my father. She was a big star when my father got married to her. While my mother is a very calm actress, my father is more intense. But he hasn’t taught me anything; it’s my hard work. I haven’t even got my father’s intense eyes. My eyes are like my mother’s.
You’ve developed a good physique. There were reports that Salman Khan trained you for the same before filming Hero…
Salman sir has never trained me but I took lessons from him to control my diet and increase stamina. He is so fit that for me, to reach his level of stamina and endurance will definitely take a lot of time.
Your character in Hero was named after your name Sooraj. How much did you identify with Sooraj of Hero?
My character in the first half of the film doesn’t gel with the real me at all. I do relate to Sooraj in the second half of Hero.
You are an accused in Jiah Khan’s suicide case. What would you say to draconian laws like abetment to suicide, which are misused and have been panned by the Supreme Court itself?
I would say that it was destined. Now the court will decide what is wrong and what is right. Everyone is equal before the law and I respect the judiciary. I’m just waiting for the final judgment.