Going down the memory lane of his struggle, Sumeet tells ETimes that he realised that his life wasn’t going anywhere when he was around 18. “I wasn’t good at studies. I took up some theatre and started giving auditions. I didn’t get work immediately but I kept pursuing; I kept dropping my pictures at production houses. And trust me, I don’t know what was inside me that I always felt that I’ll become an actor one day.” SEE VIDEO BELOW:
So while Bollywood stars around him basked in expensive clothes and fan following, Sumeet says, “I wasn’t chasing fame. I wasn’t chasing stardom, I can go unpaid or hungry but I was chasing respect, or let’s say, dignity of labour. I was never awestruck by stars getting out of Mercedes cars, I just thought that there wasn’t much to that.”
And did this craving for dignity of labour lead to problems? “I have had my share of altercations but I never left a show. This question of your’s reminds me of an incident when I threw a chair at a production guy. “A colleague of mine was playing a servant and he was being treated very badly. He was called an hour before I reported. He couldn’t take leaves, and once when he wanted to attend his son’s school for some meeting, he was denied even that. That day, I lost it. I strongly feel that we must respect each and every person whom we work with. As I said, and I say it again, I crave for dignity of labour,” and then adds, “I have never wanted 5 marriages, 4 audis and 3 flats.”
Sumeet who is evidently very selective about his work says that ‘English Vinglish‘ brought him recognition as an artiste, ‘Permanent Roommates’ helped him to reach out more and ‘Veere Di Wedding’ was the icing on the cake. Tell him that Ekta Kapoor gave him a role that despite being surrounded by Kareena Kapoor, Sonam and Swara Bhasker he was yet noticed rather prominently- and Sumeet smiles and says, “Yes”.
The interview would have been incomplete if we hadn’t touched upon Sumeet’s divorce with his first wife Shivani Tanksale. Without batting an eyelid, Sumeet says that it was not nasty but not pleasant either. “I had a tough phase for a month or so, but then I immersed myself in work. I started taking up almost every offer that came my way,” and adds, “Today, I am in a very happy space.” Touchwood, Sumeet’s second marriage to Ekta Kaul is going along well and the two of them had a son about 8 months ago. They have named him Ved and Sumeet says, in jest, “Well, I certainly don’t mind changing diapers but meri neend bahut gehri hoti hai, so there have been times when Ekta says ‘yeh kya kar rahe ho’ and I tell her ‘he’ll have to cry louder, he can’t be subtle about such things’.”