Growing old difficult in film industry: Suman Nagarkar

The actress, best known for her role in Beladingala Baale, is back with a road trip movie completely filmed in the US

I had a typical Bengalurean upbringing... no scratch that, it was a South Bengaluru upbringing. I grew up in the area, went to National Public School and then National College.
Even after I moved to the US, I used to visit Bengaluru so frequently that friends used to say that I made the trip between the two countries like it was the commute between Myusuru and Bengaluru. Recently though, with me diving back into work, it’s become more like Majestic and Chamrajpet. 

My upcoming project ‘Babru’, is special for many reasons. It’s the first Kannada film that is filmed entirely in the US and by NRI Kannadigas. It’s produced under the banner of Suman Nagarkar Productions and Yuga creations. 

The film narrates the story of two strangers who meet by chance and embark on a 1,500-mile journey across the western coast of the US. The director, Sujay Ramaiah, and the crew travelled almost 10,000 miles during the course of the film. While I wasn’t there for the full journey, the experience has been wonderful. It was also very different filming there because I’ve only ever worked in Sandalwood. 

Filming in the US was also easier as the crew was much smaller. Here, the crew would have around 60 people. In the US, the most crowded call sheets would have 15 people. It was interesting to see how efficient a smaller crew was. 

Coming back to the same industry after a 15-year-long gap was intriguing. There were many changes, perhaps the best one is that there are many new concepts. People have started thinking outside the box. 

But something I still have a grouse with is that fact that growing older is difficult in this industry. Once the heroine gets married or takes a break, like I have, they only get offered the role of mothers or the like. The hero, on the other hand, can stay a hero for as long as they like. 

In a typical commercial movie, the hero or heroine’s mother has almost no role and makes no difference to the story. I don’t see a point in doing such roles.

In fact, even if you look at my earlier filmography, I have been quite choosy about the roles I’ve done. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small or large role — it just has to have some impact.

This, I think, is the reason why people still remember me for the roles I have acted in earlier.

Apart from acting, I used to sing Bhavageethe in Akashvani long back, which naturally progressed into a love for Hindustani music. After moving to the US, I kept myself occupied by teaching Hindustani music. I don’t teach anymore but a few friends have suggested that I take up RJing. 

For now, I’m sticking to films. I have two projects in the pipeline. One is ‘Brahmi’ under our production house and another is ‘Ward no 11’. The latter is with Raghavendra Rajkumar, who I made my debut with in ‘Kalyana Mantapa’ (1991).

Currently, all my energy is towards ‘Babru’, which will be releasing on December 6.


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