Sohum Shah on Tumbbad: Difficult to categorise it under one genre; It’s like a thali where every dish is delicious
Sohum Shah is devoid of any pretences. He is plain-spoken to admit that the real stars of Ship of Theseus were the people involved in its making and he had no contribution in its success barring bringing them together under one roof. He is forthright when he says that he hates reading and takes pride in being from a small town. “I never developed a reading habit and whatever I have learnt in life has always been through films. It was Aamir Khan who had said in Three Idiots that whatever you intend to do in life, do it with 100 per cent devotion and success will follow suit.” Sohum is back again in the spotlight with his film, Tumbbad. From the look of the trailer, it seems that the film apart from horror incorporates other genres too. Would he like to put a label to his film? “It’s difficult for me to categorise Tumbbad. I would rather say that it’s a genre that has fantasy, horror, thriller, mystery and drama in equal measure. To me, it’s like an Indian thali where every dish served is delicious.”
Tumbbad has been in the making for six years and the journey that began in 2012 will culminate this week. It’s interesting to know that the principal photography of the film concluded way back in May 2015 and since then, rest of the time was consumed in editing and its post-production. Is it a different feeling now when the film is all set for its release? “Deep within, I only feel that I was in a relationship for six years and now that relationship has culminated in marriage. When you are in love, whether its six months, two years or six years – you lose count of time. When I began with the project, I could sense that I won’t be getting such an opportunity again either as an actor or as a producer.” Sohum mentions that the premise of the story which carries a genuine Indian flavour largely appealed to him. “It’s similar to tales from Vikram Betaal or Sinhasan Battisi and we all have been brought up listening to such stories. It’s like folklore where horror is just an element. Our country abounds with such stories and I only wondered why have we not made such a film before,” says the actor-producer.
Ask him why it took six years to complete the film and Sohum informs that this film required six years. “There were no seasoned people on the sets and those who were involved in the making of the film were like bunch of kids who gave their best. After we read the script of Rahi Anil Barve (director), we got so excited that we kept on pumping in more and more ideas to the plot.” According to the Talvar actor, Tumbbad evolved on its own. “The film that you will get to see in theatres is different from what was on paper. The initial length of the film was close to 200 minutes which was later edited to 100 minutes. As a producer, I have nurtured this film and ensured that everything was available to the film during its making.”
During the conversation Sohum also reveals that his bread and butter does not come from films and hails from a family of humble origins. He informs that he is leading his second life currently. “I have done a lot of work previously and with great effort, I have already secured my bread and butter. This is my second life and my first life was in Shri Ganganagar where my father earned a measly Rs 3000 per month as salary. I dabbled with odd jobs but it was the real estate business which gave me success. I made a township in my hometown and people still talk about the quality of that township.” It was the paucity of money at home that forced him to start early. At 13, to be precise, he started assisting his father in his commodity brokerage job. “There was no money at home and the concept of pocket money was non-existent for me. Recently when I saw Sui Dhaaga, the film reminded me of my parents. It was enough for me to get food and clothes from my parents. I could attain success only after I became obsessive. I looked neither to my left nor to my right, it was a straight vision for me.”
Sohum informs that the transition from Shri Ganganagar to Mumbai happened with the thought of making a music video. He reveals that there were no dramatic events involved in his decision of taking the plunge in Tinseltown. “The only idea was to make a music video with the sole intention of lest someone spot me in the music video and offer a chance to act in films.” He adds that most of the people live in an illusion that they control life while the truth is it’s the other way.
Sohum believes that he has always reaped dividends because of his investment in people’s trust. “I put a lot of trust in whoever I meet. I have a good judgement of people and my success rate is close to 80 per cent. It wasn’t me who made Ship of Theseus and Tumbbad because I am not a creative person. I trusted the people who were involved in the making of these films. My only job was to bring those people together and ensure that they had faith in the projects.”
Finally, one has to ask the actor if at all there is something that scares him. “I am really scared of ghosts. I am not someone who is fond of horror films. I don’t see such films consciously as I don’t get sleep for next three days.” So did he get scared at any point while shooting for the film? “No, not at all. The man who was in front of me was a fellow actor in prosthetics and he demanded tea and coffee at intervals,” signs off Sohum.
Updated Date: Oct 12, 2018 14:30 PM