November 25, 2012

Unlikely portrayer grasps concept of 'Pi'

Suraj Sharma auditioned on a whim, and making his first film became a personal journey.

By REBECCA KEEGAN / McClatchy Newspapers

(Continued from page 2)

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Suraj Sharma in a scene from “Life of Pi.”

Fox 2000 Pictures

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‘Life of Pi’ director Ang Lee on the set.

Jake Netter

At his parents' insistence, Sharma kept up with his math and economics studies during the 10 months of preparation and shooting, and he finished high school in the spring after the film wrapped. He is now studying philosophy at St. Stephen's College in New Delhi, and he hopes to eventually attend New York University to study film and pursue a career behind the camera, a choice influenced by the intense experience of making the movie.

"The idea in my head is that eventually I want to make movies and tell stories and philosophy will give me a deeper insight, a different viewpoint from what others have," Sharma said. "If I tell a story, I want it to be deep. Pi and Ang really made me want to dig deep. I probably will act again. But behind the camera just sounds more intriguing."

Despite living in the bubble of a movie set for months, attending the film's premiere at the New York Film Festival in September and appearing on the "Today" show last week, Sharma seems unaffected by industry mores.

Asked whether he has a manager or agent, he said, "not that I know of."

Did Hollywood seem exciting on his first visit?

"Have you ever been to India?" Sharma replied, nonplused. "India's a crazy, crazy place with lots of crazy things happening ... everywhere, all the time. Everything is just so fast, everything's moving, everywhere you look there are a thousand people. There are so many colors and so many spices, so much of everything. It gets overwhelming for certain people. But I'm from there."

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