Actor-cum-host Shekhar Suman needs no introduction. The 60-year-old has acted in over 35 films like Utsav (his debut movie), Manav Hatya, Anubhav, Tridev, Pati Parmeshwar and Ranbhoomi besides appearing on the small screen in Dekh Bhai Dekh, Reporter, Kabhi Idhar Kabhi Udhar, Chhote Babu, Andaz, Amar Prem, Vilayati Babuas well as Movers & Shakers.
He has also appeared on television shows such as The Great Indian Comedy Show and served as a host on Nilaam Ghar and judge in The Great Indian Laughter Challenge.
Suman ventured into politics in 2009, when he contested on a Congress ticket from Patna Sahib but lost to fellow actor Shatrughan Sinha of BJP.
He made his directorial debut with Heartless, a 2014 film.
There is no doubt that as an actor, Suman knows the pulse of the audience and has impressed it whether doing comedy or playing serious roles. One can admire his simple and natural way of entertaining the audience.
He has received three awards, including the Indian Television Academy Award for the best anchor for Movers & Shakers.
Suman is co-hosting a popular TV show on Colors TV, Bigg Boss Season 16, on Sundays.
In an exclusive interview with Patriot, Suman talked about his experience in Bigg Boss.
Q: How did you decide to co-host Bigg Boss 16?
A: Actually, actor Salman Khan has been hosting Bigg Boss Season 16 for a very long time. But due to fights among contestants inside the Bigg Boss House, which was having a negative impact on the show, Colors television channel approached me. They wanted to give this show a different look where Salman is shown to be very strict, and I as his co-host, have to play a different role and act cool. I am acting as a friend and doing light comedy.
Q: For how long will you do this show?
A: Initially, Colors gave me a four-month contract on trial and said that they will see the response. But after I co-hosted the Sunday segment, I found the response overwhelming. Colors extended the contract by one more month. Now, it will be over in February.
Q: Can anyone see the Bigg Boss House? Or go inside the house?
A: No. It’s not allowed because it’s like a Quila (Fort) surrounded by walls and participants live there without any television or mobile phone. These people are cut out from the outside world. They are not allowed to even talk to their family. Thus, it’s not allowed for anyone to see the Bigg Boss House.
Q: How do they choose contestants for Bigg Boss? Do you decide?
A: Colors TV channel has a team which decides the contestants. They choose people, who are a little famous or have been in the news or have worked in television and the audience recognises them. Some of them are controversial who need a platform to share their thoughts. But I am not handling this.
Q: What kind of response are you getting from the audience about your Sunday Bigg Boss show?
A: I am very happy and getting a good response from the audience. I can say it is overwhelming and I am excited. I am getting positive response from my esteemed audience. They like my show, they love me and give me a lot of respect. That’s a big achievement for me as an actor & co-host. I am having nice interaction with the audience.
Q: What kind of personal experience have you got while co-hosting BiggBoss 16?
A: I am very pleased with Bigg Boss and interacting with all the contestants has been a good experience. I have got to know their behaviour, interests, hobbies, choices and psychology. I love to be with them, like watching them and interacting closely with them. It has been an amazing experience.
Q: How did Bigg Boss 16 happen to you?
A: Colors wanted to bring in lighter mood to the show. Initially, they gave me this assignment temporarily, but after watching my performance and getting an amazing response from the audience, they realised my capability and extended my contract. They were impressed with the way I handled the show and after my entry in Bigg Boss on Sunday shows, the public began to respond well. When Salman was handling it all alone, people stopped watching it because of vulgar comments exchanged among the participants as well as fights over petty issues inside the house.
Q: In which episodes, the audience loved you the most?
A: As you know, Sunday is the only time when our audience watches this show along with families. I thought the audience liked me very much in two episodes. In one, I became a pandit reading kundali of participants, advising them on what is good for them. The second episode, in which I was liked, was when I played the role of Shekhar’s twin brother. I dressed in a very simple shirt and spoke in a local language. That was a very humorous moment and watching this episode made people laugh a lot. Both these episodes received great response.
Q: How many days do you go to shoot?
A: I shoot on Saturdays. Since the preparation is too long, so I have to go on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Then I finally sit with my team of writers and shoot on Saturdays.
Q: What are you showing in the upcoming episode?
A: I have to think about it, discuss it with my team and then only I can tell you about it. But as an entertainer, I always love to do the best for my audience.
Q: Are you still acting and performing in plays?
A: Yes, I love acting in various plays. As you know, I have a diploma in acting from the Shri Ram Centre, New Delhi. I believe acting in plays gives me added confidence as it is live on stage. Therefore,it polishes my acting skills.
Q: You have acted with noted actors Deepti Naval and Suchitra Krishnamurthy.
A: Theatre is my first passion and I love to do it. I have done plays with Deepti Naval and Suchitra Krishnamurthy. The names of the play are Ek Haan (with Suchitra), Ek Mulaqaat (with Deepti Naval), in which I play the role of Sahir Ludhianvi.
Q: Your Movers & Shakers is still remembered by the audience.What do you say about this?
A: Yes, it’s true, and now it will be returning soon and I am happy to say that.
Q: Your son Adhyayan Suman does not want to appear inBiggBoss. Why?
A: Yes, my son (Adhyayan) does not want to go for Bigg Boss because he is already working as an actor and is well-known. He does not need this. As you know, noted film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has signed him up for his film and he will be appearing in many films. He is Shekhar Suman’s son but he has his own identity.
Q: What’s the formula behind entertaining fans?
A: As an actor, I don’t think about what to do and how to do it. I react according to situation. I have a team of writers and I discuss with them. I sit with them, chat and exchange ideas, thoughts. I always thought that the best way to entertain the audience is by doing it real, natural style.
Q: Any message for your audience and well-wishers?
A: I can say that every person has positive & negative thoughts. But one should only see the positive side of a person. Bigg Boss is teaching a lot of good things, like how to live together peacefully. Bigg Boss is just like God who gives you good advice or thoughts. One has to do their best and avoid bad things in life, then only one can get good results.