This interview was originally published at bollywoodjournalist.com in 2016, a few days ahead of the London Indian Film Festival. Naman Ramachandran, a personal friend had written his first film Naman Brahman and Sid Mallya was one of the lead cast.
When I started interacting with the PR handling the project, it was really difficult to try to convince them for an interview with Sid Mallya, whose claim to fame sadly was that he was the son of Vijay Mallya – the famed business tycoon who had absconded from India and taken asylum in Great Britain.
2016 was the time when he was in the headlines for money laundering and the Indian government was trying hard to get him extradited back to India.
Sid, his son was obviously not comfortable speaking to journalists at that point. It took a lot of convincing and some clever thinking to get this interview across.
He was concentrating on making an acting career for himself on the silver screen, wanted to stay away from questions that Indian journalists wanted to ask him about his dad.
The quirky, humorous Naman Brahman was his first film, one full of masala and laughter. This article happens to be one of the first and rare interviews from that time.
It did great on twitter – Vijay Mallya even retweeted this!!
Sid is about to finish his acting course from the prestigious Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Unlike his classmates though, he has already bagged a role in the Netflix release Brahman Naman; in a genre most find rather difficult to handle – comedy.
The film will be screened in the upcoming 7th London Indian Film Festival, in London and Birmingham between the 14th to 21st July, 2016.
Having done Festival circles in the US, Europe, India; Sid has impressed Hollywood stalwart Steve Barron with his hard work, discipline and by nailing his role as the bully Ronnie- the quintessential jock. Here are some excerpts from Sid’s interview with.
BJ: Congratulations on your acting debut in Brahman Naman. Did you face any challenges while acting as Ronnie?
SM: Thank you! It was an amazing experience, and I was so lucky to have Steve Barron and Q to guide me, as it was my first role.
BJ: Your director Q and writer Naman Ramachandran are extremely happy about your performance. I am told you brought depth into the film by making your own back- story. Tell us about it?
SM: I always go very deep into any character that I am playing, and fully immerse myself in the role. This for me starts with the back-story, so you really get to know who this person you are playing is. For Ronnie, it was about coming up with ‘why’ he was such an idiot to Naman.
I figured that it was all down to his own insecurities, which stemmed from being, bullied himself at a younger age. Even though none of this is in the script, I always feel that it is important to know more about your character than is given in the story.
BJ: Do you think your acting debut has changed people’s perception of you?
SM: Probably not. People are always going to have an opinion and perception of me, regardless of what I do, and for the majority of people, it is easier to be negative than to see the positivity in someone.
BJ: You were very comfortable with comedy in Brahman Naman. What genre interests you most, as an actor?
SM: I’m really open to anything. It is funny though because my manager in LA told me, that the general perception is that if you can do comedy, you can definitely do drama. But not the other way round.
BJ: How did acting come about in your life?
SM: I always loved to perform. I think that probably comes down to being an only child, and always wanting to be the centre of attention. I did however feel like I had a responsibility to give the business a go, which I did.
BJ: Who are your inspirations in acting?
SM: I’m a big Benedict Cumberbatch fan. I really like the range he has, and the body of work that he has created thus far
BJ: What would your dream role be?
SM: I think to play something like the role Tom Cruise had in The Firm. Although I wouldn’t say no to 007 either (giggles)
BJ: Would you consider acting in Bollywood?
SM: No. Well definitely not mainstream, commercial Bollywood anyways. Having been brought up in the UK, I don’t think I would have the sensibilities for Bollywood.
BJ: Do you see yourself as an actor only, or would you want to explore the other aspects of filmmaking like direction, producing and scriptwriting?
SM: Right now, I am hundred per cent focused on acting, because I do not want to bite off more than I can chew. Let us see what happens in the future though, once I have established myself.
BJ: What are your passions in life; words of ‘wisdom’ for the readers?
SM: Just be yourself in life, and don’t worry what anyone else has to say. As they say, ‘let barking dogs bark’
Smita is a multi-cultural freelance journalist, writer, and filmmaker based out of the US, London, Hong Kong, and India. Global Indian Stories is her brain-child. Created to chronicle diaspora stories written by Indians of all age groups, from different walks of life across the globe, Smita makes sure that the platform remains inclusive and positive.