I wonder why I call the valley my home’

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By Isha Manchanda

Sanjay Suri, Actor

What is your earliest memory?
Oh my God! Now that’s really long back. Probably as a three-and-a-half-year-old chopping wild daisies in the beautiful meadows of Gulmarg with my dad.

Are you religious?
My faith lies more in spirituality than religion. I feel religion has created more problems than solving them. It’s often misunderstood but this is my view, and I also respect people’s faith and believe in each to their own.

What was it like going back to Kashmir?
It was like going back home without a place to stay. I was visiting after 18 years. I wonder why I still call the Valley ‘my home’. Maybe because no other place could give me that feeling of belonging and identification after having being called a migrant somewhere and a north Indian in another place – a refugee in my own country. Is it home or is it just memories of home? I don’t know if I was happy to go back or not. Maybe I should have let it remain in my memories, a lost chapter in our lives. I believe that nature moves ahead and one should not look back but the past is where our identity comes from. I was hoping that I will find my way back only to return stronger and happier, but it’s not that simple.

What prompts your choice of roles?
It surely is difficult to maintain the balance between wanting to pay your bills and doing what you like to do. I always see myself as an audience first, whether a film is taking me for granted or not, whether the makers really thought the audience is brain dead. I like to do all kinds of films but one often falls prey to slotting by creatively short-sighted people. Very few in the industry have the vision and strength to think out of the box.

Who do you turn to in a moment of despair?
Meditation helps heaps. I look for assurance from within and from my family. Counting my blessings is good therapy for me and to start imagining the worst so that I am prepared for it.

What inspires you?
Challenges inspire me. I like to do things that I am passionate about and that mostly decides my personal and professional life. Whether it’s work or a relationship, I have to be passionate about it.

What is the vision for the production company?
To be completely independent. It’s an endeavour to unveil different stories. I hope we can continue to tell stories we believe in.

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