Sonu Sood on JP Dutta's Paltan: The climax was so emotional, I cried without any glycerin
The neatly trimmed beard that actor Sonu Sood is sporting these days is also an indication of the actor’s knee-deep involvement in Rohit Shetty’s upcoming Christmas bonanza Simmba. It’s a different matter that it’s the same beard coupled with a few changes in his role in Kangana Ranaut’s ambitious magnum opus Manikarnika, to which he has currently bid goodbye. His latest film Paltan sees him play the role of Major Bishan Singh, who after the Chinese incursion in 1967 earned the sobriquet of "Tiger of Nathu La." His valour and aggression during the clash ensured that Sikkim remained an integral part of India. How much research did he do when he was offered the role of Major Bishan Singh?
“My mother was a professor of history and when I had signed my first film, which was a Tamil film, had given me a book on how to learn Tamil. After that when I was offered a role in Jodhaa Akbar, she had presented me a book on the Mughals. It’s because of my mother that I’ve always had a connection with history and the fact that there is a huge library of such books at home have always helped. Whenever I do a historical film, I refer to the books from my mother’s library and they always throw something at me. During Paltan, I went through books on Indian army and those that mentioned India’s war and skirmishes with its neighbours.” Sonu says that till the time his mother was alive, she did all his homework and research but now he has to do his own research and prepare his own notes. He believes that it's through her thoughts, he is able to bring alive such characters on screen.
The actor remembers the climax scene of Paltan, which apart from bringing goosebumps always brings tears to his eyes. He reveals that it was also the most difficult scene to perform in the film. “The climax of Paltan has most of the Indian soldiers dying. My character goes out to meet his jawans and while seeing the dead bodies of soldiers becomes completely weak and is reduced to tears. I was actually crying in that scene seeing the carnage. JP sir (the director) instructed me not to cry too much and he reasoned that I play a Major and he can’t have much of emotions. I cried again when the same shot was filmed from other angles. I did not require help of any glycerin.” Sonu adds that it has more to do with the bonding one develops for his fellow actors and the country. The emotions become so intense that one actually starts to believe that that they have left the world and the line between reel and real life merge somewhere.
Not many know that soon after Sonu landed in Mumbai to try his luck in films, JP Dutta was one of the first few directors he met to ask for work. It was sheer destiny that despite being offered a role in LOC, he had to refuse the film. “I used to work out in the same gym which was frequented by Saif Ali Khan. I always used to ask him to suggest names of producers and directors whom I could meet for work. Later, Saif recommended my name to JP sir who, at that time, was busy with the casting of LOC. When I met JP sir, he said that I was doing the film but around the same time, I had also signed a film based on Bhagat Singh. Later when the call came from his office, I had to say no to the film and thus could not be a part of LOC.”
Sonu is one of the few actors from the industry who has successfully maintained a balance between Bollywood and films from South. Credit must go to him as he has been doing the same for the past 17 years. “I always strike that balance and now have completed almost 100 films. I still believe that I am a beginner and the intent to strike that balance is a serious one. I have equal respect for both Bollywood and South films and that’s why people over there have accepted me as one of them. It’s always better to keep switching from one language to another and from one director to another.” Ask him which one is more fun and Sonu feels that he has been cornered. “It’s fun working in both the industries. It’s just that in Bollywood, because I know the language, my reach becomes slightly more but the fun part is same in both the industries.”
For Sonu, Mumbai remains a city which gave him virtually everything. It was a journey that started when he landed a job in the city after having finished his engineering in Nagpur. Is he still in touch with the people he worked with at the South Bombay firm from two decades ago? “Yes, I am in touch with a couple of them. I used to get down at Grant Road station, walk down the bridge and reach my office. The name of the firm was Wiseman Finance and was employed with them for some time. While most of my friends still work there, few of them have relocated to Canada and Dubai. They all have seen my share of struggle when I used to sit in the park opposite Churchgate station and wait for my pager to beep in case it carried a message about my audition. God has been kind,” signs off Sonu.
Updated Date: Sep 08, 2018 10:09 AM