I love watching Hindi news. Who doesn't enjoy police officers beating criminals with sticks, villagers rioting for no apparent reason and of course, the Bollywood segment, where the biggest actors are swarmed by thousands of fans. That last part...is just so enchanting. It just corroborates my belief (or the fact) that India's stars are probably some of the luckiest individuals on earth: they get to do what they love, while getting loved for doing so. Many of those stars have taken risks, struggled and fought against all odds to be the "heroes" they are today. In this blog segment, you will meet some actors who are making their way to stardom and are proud to be doing so.
Say hello to Danny Sura.
If you're an extremely avid watcher of Indian television (like me), you might know Danny as the guy in the advertisement for UTV Star's Live My Life. What you might not know is that this charming model/actor left his hometown of Solihull, UK, to come to India's entertainment hub, Mumbai, and try his luck at becoming Bollywood's next big star.
Born in the diverse small town of Smethwick, UK, Danny grew up in a Punjabi-speaking family, consisting of his parents and two older brothers. Though born in a culturally mixed neighborhood, his later days in Smethwick, a predominantly Caucasian area, inversely influenced him into becoming more aware of his own heritage. At a very young age, he developed a taste for Hindi films (as all of us film lovers do), and would spend hours watching Bollywood films, particularly those of Amitabh Bachchan. This sparked his interest in cinema.Like most Indian parents, Danny's parents were reluctant of his decision to act. They wanted him to partake in a "more respected career", possibly medicine (EVERY Indian parent wants their child to become a doctor...been there, done that). Adhering to his parents wishes and keeping practicality in check, Danny earned a degree in Psychology and a Masters before pursuing an acting career. However, after finishing school, Danny, who once "lived in cuckoo land", began acting as a hobby, while pursuing his professional career, full time. In the UK, he even started acting and making short films.
Finally, a couple of years, he gathered enough courage to run after his dreams and leave for Mumbai. With much difficulty, he left behind his entire family: his parents, siblings and young nephews/nieces. Like any other NRI, it took some effort to adapt to the Indian way of life and the "backwardness" of some Mumbaikars. However, despite his hardships, he found the support network of extended family, and help from a cousin who had some connections in the business.
Danny soon got on the trail of casting and auditions, but unsurprisingly, met the politics and casting couch, first hand. He encountered people who've been taken advantage of, people who've lost opportunities because of refusing casting couch and even people who've just wasted their whole lives looking for stardom and success! Despite facing the realities of the industry, he has managed to bag roles in reputed commercials and campaigns.
Take a look:
The first assignment in Mumbai he bagged was for a promo for Channel V, promoting a show called "Axe your Ex".
By far, his biggest assignment 'till date, Danny shot this commercial for "Malaysia Truly Asia", to promote tourism in Malaysia. The shoot took over twelve days and allowed him a chance, at not only get a taste of star treatment, but also work with great technicians. As he says, "it was practically a paid holiday!"
And yes, he has met Dharmendra and filmed with Arjun Rampal. **Girl squirms**
At the moment, this rising star is working to achieve his dreams; going to auditions, exercising at the gym (trying to make the hero body) and brushing up on his skills.
Shifting his entire life to a new continent to act, has also given Danny some important lessons about the career. He recommends other aspiring actors to not "lay their eggs into one basket. Have a backup plan because acting is very competitive and there are new entrants coming into the industry everyday." However, he still advises people to "not give up, have a time limit. Know when your time is up, be realistic and work honestly, with complete sincerity and professionalism." These tips, he says "will go a long way!"
In the next five years, using the same ideals he recommends to others, Sura hopes to make a name for himself in film, in not only the Hindi film market but also, the Hollywood market. After all, many "Indian actors are crossing over to the west".
Good Luck Dan!
If you want to know more about Danny and his path to conquering his dreams, go over to Miss Malini's, where he's chronicling it all!