Suchi’s life and her many loves

Straight from the heart: Suchitra Pillai.  

Suchitra Pillai's usually husky voice sounds a little too raspy over phone. “It is just a cold,” she says, not heeding the niggling cough that interrupts the conversation. “There are just too many things I do. I’m always doing something,” she says, about her life and many loves.

Singer, actor, model, veejay, writer… Suchitra says she enjoys every bit of what she does. An electronics engineer by profession, she never once felt a pang of regret for having left science for a more emotionally fulfilling career in the arts. “I have always been an emotional person. No one forced me into anything. It's all about what makes one happy,” she says.

In the city recently for Lillette Dubey's English play August: Osage County, at JTPac, Suchitra says theatre has been a strong force that kept pulling her towards it. Though she hasn't received formal training in theatre acting, she has been associated with it since childhood having got chances to do a lot of amateur and street theatre. She learnt it on the job during her stint in London, where she got opportunities to perform children's theatre. “The job satisfaction it gives is immense,” she says. Suchitra is part of three of Dubey's plays, Dance Like a Man, August: Osage County and Wedding Album.

A live wire might best describe her, managing her multiple interests with flair. But what does she identify herself most with? “The two main things that make me feel alive are theatre and ‘live’ singing. They are the biggest jobs. Standing on that stage, doing your thing is the real challenge. You don’t get a second chance, you have to give your best shot,” she says.

Musical influences

Music, she believes, is what nurtures her. Though she received training in Carnatic music, Suchitra veered off its traditionalist discipline to discover her own path in Indi pop and rock. She takes great joy in writing her own lyrics, too.

“I am a hopeless romantic, a very sentimental person. My friend calls me a Hallmark card,” she says. Her album, Such is Life, released last year, was received well. “It was all about me, my emotions. Such is Life... can be read as Suchi's life, too.” One of the songs, jana aagaya dil ne pukaara, was used in the Salman Khan starrer Marigold, in which she acts as Khan's buddy. “I wrote it for my husband when we were dating,” she says.

Suchitra is working on her second album, which will be more or less on the same vein as the first. Ashish Painoli, who composed the music for the first album, will be associating with her for the second one too.

Bollywood brought her a few short, but notable roles— Dil Chahta Hein and Fashion—to name a few. She is now awaiting the release of the romantic comedy, Chemistry, she did with Soha Ali Khan and Shreyas Talpade. Suchitra says she would love to act in a Malayalam film.

“I have grown up watching South Indian films. Malayalam cinema experiments with a lot of good story lines and it would be great to work in one,” she says. One of her projects with director Jayaraj starring Mohanlal in 1998 was shelved. But after that, none has come her way, she rues.

“Here in Malayalam, there are so many Punjabi and Bengali girls acting. Why not a Malayali girl?” However, she recounts her experience sharing screen space with Nedumudi Venu in Rajshree's Ojha’s Crossroads. “I consider it a great honour to have worked with a talented actor such as Mr.Venu.”

She has always kept in touch with her Malayali roots though she has never lived in Kerala. “I use a lot of Malayalam in my live repertoire,” she says. The track Jane Jaha… from Such is Life has incorporated a bit of Malayalam rap.

Even as she dashes from the stage to the studio and back, Suchitra ensures she gets her “me-time” with her four-and-a-half year old daughter, Annika. “That is the only time I am me to the core,” she says.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 4:12:27 PM |

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