Breaking into Bollywood: "Hello, I am Danny Sura."

Danny Sura , 22 Nov 2011

One of my fashion writers Zina Tasreen suggested her buddy Danny Sura blog about his adventures in Bollywood for MissMalini.com and I must admit, I was intrigued. Having spent 6 months as a “struggling actor”, what would Danny have to say about big bad B-Town? Well, let’s find out! xoxo

Danny Sura
Danny Sura

Hi all! I’m Danny Sura, a thoroughbred Punjabi from Birmingham, in India on a life-defining journey, one that involves chasing my dream ‒ of making it in Bollywood (and perhaps, go on to become a sooooperstar!). And I hope to share this joyride with you all :-) Things were lovely jubbly back in Brum ‒ yet I felt unfulfilled. SO, one glorious day, I decided to quit my perfectly decent job and hop on a plane to Mumbai. A 42-karat plonker you all must be thinking!

Metamorphosis: Chubba (bottom right) to Hubba Hubba!
Metamorphosis: Chubba (bottom right) to Hubba Hubba!

Having been born into a Hindi film-mad family (example: my mum would make me sing Hindi songs to her over the phone when she was at work) in the UK, I was bound to have been bitten by the bug sooner or later. Well, it happened at a very early age, and I was charmed for life. Golden oldies like “Deewar”, “Sholay”, “Amar Akbar Anthony”, etc. roused the desire in me to perform, and most importantly, to entertain… And which film industry entertains more than Bollywood??!!?

Danny Sura
Danny Sura

Naturally, I applied myself in performance arts (plays, musicals, indie films) right from school ‒ and continued to be involved even when I joined the rat race of the corporate world once uni ended.

Danny Sura
Danny Sura

Then last year, a friend who always harboured hopes of making it in Hollywood actually left for LA. Him taking this monumental gamble in the name of reaching out for his dreams ‒ got me introspecting. I realized I *no longer* wanted a “coulda, woulda, shoulda” cloud hanging over my head, so, along came I to the sunny shores of Mumbai…

Danny Sura with Dharmendra and Arjun Rampal
Danny Sura with Dharmendra and Arjun Rampal

To begin with, I knew absolutely *no one* related to the Indian film industry. My cousin used to be a television actress *once upon a time* and she gave me a handful of numbers to call, which I did and got more leads from there. I went headlong in my pursuits, and within a month of arriving in Mumbai: I created an acting show-reel + portfolio and distributed to all and sundry in the film industry; I contacted theatre companies; I began networking with casting agents, co-ordinators and fellow Bollywood hopefuls; I joined dance classes; I took up Hindi tutorials to perfect my diction. And before long audition calls started trickling in…

Now after 6 months in Mumbai, I managed to star in 4 TVSs (the Malaysia Tourism one is the fondest of the four as many recognized faces from the acting and modelling world contested for the part but it came to ME!! Plus I got to visit all those amazing places.), a Pulitzer-winning play titled “August: Osage County” (directed by Lilette Dubey, features Sandhya Mridul and Suchitra Pillai), and an ACTING gig ‒ wait for it! ‒ alongside Arjun Rampal and Chitrangada Singh.

August: Osage County
August: Osage County


So far it has been extraordinary. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly facets of Bollywood: the casting couch, the disorganization in sets and the method in madness, the mistreatment of crew members, the lengths people are willing to go to further one’s prospects (and it’s not a pretty sight), the assurance by a MASSIVE production house of a role in its film which turns out to be already under production (what a farce!), the amazing feeling of being on the sets and so on. Clichéd as it sounds, the good easily outweighs the bad and ugly.

UTV Stars "Live My Life"
UTV Stars “Live My Life!”

Hope you enjoy reading my stories of breaking into Bollywood as an outsider, here…

P.S: Would be great if you follow me on Twitter (@DannySura), too. Ta!

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