who has a way with
words describes his career on TV as something he did "by default. I had
the craft to do it but not the heart. I did stand up comedy, hosted
shows and then I got typecast. But Shekhar Suman
is not just about
humor. It should be the last thing I should be known for," he says.
After testing his vocal chords in SaharaOne's Jjhoom India, he is now
on the judge's chair in Sony's ongoing reality show, Ustaadon Ka
Ustaad. A promo on air shows Suman sparring with Co-judge Javed Akhtar
over a participant's performance. "I won't call that sparring. I would
call it a minor difference of opinion. We have our own creative space
and we all have a say, that's all. Just because he is Javed Akhtar
am Shekhar Suman
, doesn't mean we have to agree with each other or
accept everything said on the show. If that was the case, the channel
wouldn't have had three judges from three different aspects of
creativity. They would have made it with just one judge”, argues Suman.
Suman is in the midst of working on "Surkh, a Sufiana album". Ask him
if we are fast becoming a nation of just singers and dancers,
considering the number of reality shows and talent hunts we have on TV
today, he laughs, "Well, we are a diverse nation. In India we celebrate
everything with song and dance. We have different forms in music –
ghazal, thumri, folk, pop, you name it we have it, likewise in dance.
Why, even our film promos are nothing but songs? Do we ever have an
emotional scene as a teaser for a film? We have vast talent and if that
gets an outlet on TV, why not?"
Finally with Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan
, the Devgans and Akshay Kumar
being wooed with big bucks, is Bollywood bowing down before the small
screen? "When I started it years ago, I drew a lot of flak. But then
the biggest of all, Amitabh Bachchan
did TV; it was like the Pied Piper
showing the way. Many others followed like Govinda, Anupam Kher
, Madhuri Dixit and Manisha Koirala
and then Shah Rukh arrived.
When Mr Bachchan did TV it was understandable… he did it because of his
financial problems, but when Shah Rukh did it at the peak of his
career, TV got its due. TV was no longer a medium to look down upon.
Unwittingly, unknowingly, the LOC between films and TV was broken.
Today everything is part of the big, flourishing entertainment
industry. And yes, there is a lot of money in it, immense recognition
and reach and the stars have to do nothing but make good use of their
name and stardom…so everyone is happy”, implies Shekar Suman.
Coming up next for Suman is a film called “One Fine Monday" and hopefully many more meaty parts.
Author: Suhaani Rai