He landed in Mumbai eight years ago and he's already four films old, with both commercial projects such as What the Fish and Warning and parallel cinema represented by the likes of Indo-Canadian film Surkhaab to boast of. You expect him to talk about nothing but films and Sumit Suri, with his chocolate boy looks, does not disappoint.
The youngster's professional journey, so to say, is as filmy as it can get. He lets us in to his world full of giant dreams, lively talk and a childlike heart replete with innocence, leaving us with a whiff of fresh air that won't fade soon.
It all started with devouring film magazines at his father's bookstore, we can safely assume as Sumit recalls dreamily about imagining himself to be one of the stars written about. And then, one fine day in 2006, he landed in Mumbai without informing his parents. With R10,000 in his pocket - courtesy his sister's help - the Rishikesh boy took on every odd job that came his way; each step taken by him taking him to his dreams.
Today, he is a proud man. "I own a house, a car and have helped my parents travel the world. For me, Mumbai was a dream city and I was happy to do any work - be it that of a 'clap boy', an assistant on the film sets, a member of the casting team, a spot boy or a light man," he says.
Sumit's first project, interestingly, was an English film titled It Could Be You, featuring Naseeruddin Shah and Kirron Kher, in which he was an assistant director who was to give a clap at the start of every shot. "It was an alien world for me. I didn't even know the difference between a spot boy and an assistant director," recalls Sumit and adds, "But, convinced by my eagerness to learn, the director gave me a job and I got the chance to sit in an airplane for the first time since the film was to be shot in London." In London, Sumit caught the eye of Naseeruddin, who asked him what he wanted to be. "Even before I could answer, he had guessed that I wanted to be an actor," smiles Sumit. The aspiring actor soon got his portfolio clicked even though he had no money to spare. "Since I had no money, I assisted a photographer for six months till he agreed to click my pictures," he says.
While he was busy giving auditions, Sumit joined an advertising company named Code Red Films as a freelance assistant director to survive in the city. But, the assistant director had soon turned actor for advertisements. "I got to act in advertisements for Tata Safari, Samsung phones, Reliance, Cadbury's, Yatra.com, Videocon, McDonalds and other brands. Reality show Khatron Ke Khiladi (season 4) came my way, followed by the films What the Fish, Warning and now Babblu Happy Hai," he tells us.
With Babblu Happy Hai ready for release on February 7, does Sumit believe his days of struggle are over? "Struggle happens at every point and always will. Even today, I have to give auditions and follow casting directors around. When I see actors from the new lot such as Ranveer Singh, Rajkumar Rao, Sushant Singh Rajput, Sidharth Malhotra and Ayushmann Khurrana, I feel that I can be one of them. I'm born to be an actor and I will keep working hard, even if it requires another 35 years," says Sumit with a steely resolve that differentiates him from the rest.