Suraj Sharma on Hollywood inclusivity: There’s been change since ‘Life Of Pi’

Actor Suraj Sharma has been a witness to the changing face of projects led by non-White communities in Hollywood. The 28-year-old actor, who made his debut in Ang Lees ‘Life Of Pi’ in 2012, feels that Hollywood has been more open to include different communities through films.

“There has been a big change since ‘Life Of Pi’. There are more (coloured) people involved, not just as actors or in front of the camera, but even behind the camera, there are a lot more people from different communities,” says Suraj.

The Delhi-born actor feels that while there is “a lot more room for inclusivity”, he feels that nomination of actors such as Riz Ahmed in the Best Actor category at the upcoming Oscar awards, or the nomination of a film like ‘The White Tiger’, means that the West is opening up and becoming “more” receptive to stories that have nothing to do with the White community.

“Stereotypes will always exist. The point is how you evolve from them and learn from them. The last few years have been incredible in terms of the different stories, from different parts of the world that have garnered attention,” adds Suraj whose latest film, “The Illegal”, released on an OTT platform.

OTT, is one of the biggest reasons, Suraj thinks, why there has been more acceptance of non-White artistes in the industry.

“Definitely, there are a lot more stories to tell, and there is just so much content. So you need people for that. That’s why, the demand is more, and people ( in Hollywood or other film industries) are noticing that. They are open to work with artists now, who have different stories to tell,” he says.

“As an actor I want to do roles that are challenging, have a story to tell and somewhere rooted in realism. ITs simple for me. You cannot imagine a colour without knowing what it looks like. So for me as an actor, whatever role I am doing, I have to prepare for it, understand and empathise with it on some level. If I don’t do that, I won’t be able to do justice to the character,” he signs off.