FIRANGI’S PROGRESS

Edward Sonnenblick came to India as a  fan and ended up making the country his motherland. Sonnenblick got noticed with the TV series Jhansi Ki Rani and is at present shooting for Hansal Mehta’s web series on Subhas Chandra Bose. His is playing a major role in Kapil Sharma’s film Firangi.  He talks to The Woods about his pilgrimage from being a chef to becoming an actor in India.

By Bharati K. Dubey
  • Published 16.11.17
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Edward Sonnenblick in Firangi

Edward Sonnenblick came to India as a fan and ended up making the country his motherland.

Sonnenblick got noticed with the TV series Jhansi Ki Rani and is at present shooting for Hansal Mehta’s web series on Subhas Chandra Bose. His is playing a major role in Kapil Sharma’s film Firangi. 

He talks to The Woods about his pilgrimage from being a chef to becoming an actor in India.

Q: How did you get the role in Firangi?
A: I have been working as an model/actor for 16 years now and so people in the industry look for me if they need a good firang who also knows how to speak Hindi. That is how they found me and called me over for a meeting with the director and the team. The meeting was good. They didn’t want any audition and it was really going smooth. There was this gentleman in the room and at the end of the meeting, he came up to me and shook hands but I couldn’t place him. He said I am Kapil Sharma. It is not that I am dumb and I haven’t seen the Kapil Sharma Show but he looked different and had a full beard which he had grown for his part in the film. I really felt bad, I thought to myself I am not getting the role. But Kapil is Kapil and he was cool about it and obviously didn’t hurt my chance of getting the role. 

Did you come to India as a tourist?
I didn’t really come to India as a tourist but someone who was in love with India. Coming to India was like a pilgrimage for me.

So what is the back story?
I saw this film Lagaan when I was in America.  I had never seen anything like that before. The film just blew me away. I started watching more and more Bollywood movies. All the old ones  from the ’70s… I must have watched about 100 to 200 movies.

What is your favourite?
I love Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s films and especially Bawarchi is my all-time favourite because I was a chef for 15 years in America and the film was about being kind to people.

And then...?
I travelled in 2005 all over the country and again came back in 2007 to seek my fortune in Mumbai. I always wanted to be an actor but I never had the guts to do it in Hollywood as it was highly competitive there. I felt I had a  chance in Mumbai as there was space for a firang actor. I had started teaching myself Hindi even before I came to India by watching Bollywood movies and I had a little self-help book. 

How did your parents react?
My parents have been very supportive. Parents are happy when their children are happy. 

You married an Indian girl (Sonal Mehta). Where did you meet her?
She was the director of my first job as a model. We hit it off from the first and kept in touch and today we have a 
five-year-old son.

Like in the case of Tom Alter and many others, is there a fear of getting typecast?
Playing the evil British colonial is bread and butter for foreigners who are sticking it out in Mumbai. In this genre I really had some great roles and really enjoyed playing them like in Jhansi Ki Rani eight years ago. I got the opportunity so I really can’t complain about being typecast. I am also getting other kinds of roles like in Veere Di Wedding I play an American who is married to Indian girl and has a child. Even Firangi is a light-hearted comedy and a great opportunity to exercise my comic timing.