'The Family Man' actor Sunny Hinduja on his time in Dubai

Dubai - He talks to us about starring in the popular series and why Dubai will always be special for him.



By Husain Rizvi

Published: Wed 16 Jun 2021, 2:06 PM

Home is where your parents are: that is the case for actor Sunny Hinduja, for whom Dubai will always be a special place; a place where he feels loved and accepted for who he is; a protective environment.

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied

Sunny’s parents have been living in Dubai for nearly 30 years. Sunny, however, was born and brought up in Indore, India. After completing school, Sunny came to Dubai and pursued an engineering degree from BITS Pilani. In Dubai, he made countless memories that he continues to cherish.

Today, Sunny, who plays Milind in Amazon Prime Video’s The Family Man, resides in Mumbai and often visits his parents in Dubai, a city he calls home. We caught up with the actor over a Zoom conversation, in which he tells us about his role in the series and how he feels about Dubai.

How does it feel to part of a successful series like The Family Man?

First of all, I feel very grateful. I was at the right place at the right time. For me, it has been quite a while in the industry and my focus remains to keep learning and preparing for such opportunities. And, now that I have given my best in The Family Man, it feels great, especially when the appreciation by the audience is flooding in. What else does an actor need?

You have, of course, been part of the franchise from the beginning (Season 2 is now streaming). What were your initial thoughts on the series?

Frankly, we had no idea what would happen, even after the show released. We had limited roles and we tried to do our best. We did not know how well the series would do, I guess nobody knows that. But, we all made it with a lot of heart and Krishna D.K. and Raj Nidimoru are exemplary directors. The kind of cinema they make is new-age yet witty and quirky. And it all paid off within a week of the release as it went viral. The kind of response we got within a week was really amazing.

How was it rubbing shoulders with the likes of Manoj Bajpayee and Samantha Akkineni?

I had very few scenes with Samantha. I feel she is a thorough professional and very dedicated. Throughout the shoot, I did not see her real self because she was always in character. I always saw her as Raji, the fierce character. So, I did not even have much courage to go and talk to her.

Talking about Manoj Bajpayee (Sir), he is a legend. It’s a must to add ‘Padmashri’ or ‘Sir’ after his name. He is a very great actor, and I aspire to reach his level.

A great actor, he is even a greater human being. More than anything, he takes care of his co-stars. Recently he said, “I want to be overshadowed by my co-stars.” Who says that? I think only a person of that stature could say such things. All the praise he gets, he really deserves that and much more because he genuinely is a great human being and I am really grateful to have worked with him at such an early stage of my career. He was much more than a co-star to me, a mentor, and a guiding force.

Who are your heroes in the film industry?

When I was young, it was Govinda because of his versatility. The way he used to switch between comic and serious roles was just excellent. He was a great dancer and a performer.

Later in life, when I got into acting, I found actors like Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, and many more really extraordinary ones. In India, there are Naseeruddin Shah, Manoj sir, (Irrfan Khan). I really look up to all these people. And it is sad what happened with Irrfan Sahab. Before I had hopes of working with him, but now even the hopes are lost.

We heard you have spent a fair amount of time in Dubai - tell us what you feel about the city!

Dubai is home because home is where the parents are and my parents have been in Dubai for nearly 30 years. The city has always been pleasant for me. Whenever you are away from home, and there is a protective environment, or there is a place where you are accepted as you are, where you can be yourself and get a lot of love. For me, that place is Dubai.

And, it will always be special. I completed my college in Dubai. My friends and I visited a lot of places in Dubai and made many memories that I really cherish. Dubai will always be special in my life.

Can you see a series like The Family Man set in Dubai?

Why not? With magical people like Raj (Nidimoru), (Krishna) D.K, and Suman (Kumar) behind the scripts, why not? Actors like us just come in the end and give our best for the camera, the real work is done by the directors and writers. And with our creative writers, if they can set such a show in Dubai, then we actors can perform too.

The second season of The Family Man has run into some controversy regarding stereotypes and how a particular community is portrayed. As an artist how do you view this?

I think the creators have shown the real side. The specialty of Raj and D.K is that they will never comment on any aspect. They never say what is right or what is wrong, instead, they show what is happening and leaving the audience to make their own opinion. But, they always show the human side of every story. I feel that the things in the show are dealt with in a sensitive manner. And, they have only shown the human side of everybody. That’s the best part of the series, which is probably why the show is becoming a huge success.

Heroes or villains, it is only a perception. Also, there is a lot of diversity in the show which makes it pan-Indian. Made for a wider audience, it captures the essence of our country.

Honestly, which look of Milind do you prefer? Bearded or non-bearded?

I feel whatever the look is, it should justify the character. However, it feels nice to hear from people that I look more of a hero in my second look. But, I love both looks. It’s me, I love myself.

Tell us more about Milind’s PTSD, and how people should battle mental stress in such trying times?

Milind is in trauma after what happened to Zoya (Shreya Dhanwanthary) in the first season’s finale. Milind is mentally affected and is going through post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And, we really addressed that issue in a sensitive manner.

Sometimes, mental health is taboo. But, during the lockdown due to the virus, we realised that mental health is equally important as physical health. I want to use Milind’s character as an example and tell people to take mental health seriously. Talking to your family, your friends, and help yourself get out of that phase. Milind’s character transformation in the second series was only possible because of the people he was surrounded with.

The Family Man 2 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.


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