2011 Interview – Mumbai Mirror

October 28th, 2011 | Posted by Jenn in Interviews | Press - (0 Comments)

Original Link: http://www.mumbaimirror.com/article/82/2011042420110424103236803f1852a82/Sendhil-and-Sensibility-.html
Author: Namrata Bhawnani

Sendhil Ramamurthy was amused to find himself on People magazine’s 2007 List of 100 Most Beautiful People.

“It’s not something I think about too much,” he laughs. “It’s incredibly flattering and my wife loves it, she takes the piss out of me for it. It’s not like people are constantly reminding me of being sexy.”

Though the journey that helped him make it to the coveted list was tough, he recollects it with good humour. Sendhil is adamant about breaking the stereotype of how Indians are portrayed in the West.

He turned down roles of taxi drivers, spiritual gurus and IT nerds. Ironically, after waiting for the right Bollywood script for two years, he landed a role in Shor in the City as an NRI who starts an NGO in India. The actor quips, “Damn, now I have to delete the next six scripts on my iPad. Seriously, I never really thought of it like that.”

It’s almost anti-climactic to learn that half the scripts he has been offered revolve around arranged marriages.

So is he now in a place where he can afford to pick and choose? “That is not a luxury I have,” he says, “But I can pick from certain projects. I’ve been told I’m too picky.

I don’t agree. I’ve done too many things I didn’t believe in and didn’t like at the beginning of my career. Now, I get offered scripts about arranged marriages that are boring. I’m a fan of romantic comedies, but there’s a way to do films that are kind of cookie cutter.”

After his experience of shooting in the West which is structured and planned, he landed on a chaotic film set in Mumbai.

He knew there would be a difference and flew here with almost no expectations. “I wanted to see what it was like on an Indian production,” he says.

“Even the terminology was different on the sets here. It was chaotic as we shot mostly on location. In the US, if we had to shoot on the streets, we could shut the street down. I’ve enjoyed this almost-guerrilla style of filmmaking in the Mumbai crowds.”

How was it working with Ekta Kapoor, who is notorious for her temperamental outbursts? “Ekta used to beat me if I messed up a line,” he says with a straight face. “Actually, she went out of her way to make me feel at home. And we got to hang out in New York later. We had a party at her house with a bunch of B-town people. The conversations were the same as you’d hear at a Hollywood party.”

The film has no song-and-dance routines, but Sendhil says he has no qualms about grooving to item numbers. “Sure, I could dance, but those roles don’t really appeal to me. It will have to be something original.

Never say never,” he quips. Having grown up in Texas, he never learnt to speak Hindi and luckily, this film needed him to speak a sum total of 30 words in the language. But this could be a hurdle for future projects. He says, “I’ll always be the foreigner in Bollywood films. Learning Hindi is a Herculean task and I don’t see the point. I know there will be limits to my Bollywood career and I’m okay with that.”

Before his career took off with Heroes, he went to medical school. He wasn’t seduced by their glamour and switched to acting and went through a lean phase while dabbling in theatre in the UK. His wife Olga Sosnovska was working then, but she got pregnant with their first child and had to give up work. They moved from London to LA with a baby. “It was tough but I never went long periods without work,” he says. “I did a lot work that barely paid and considered going to business school. As I didn’t do a lot of TV then, I didn’t have the credits to show for it. They want to see something you’ve done, and it was difficult.”

But the change after Heroes was huge and it took a while to get used to it. He says, “I’m still not used to it. At first, it was really stressful. I’m a very private person, and I was expected to talk about my life. I hated watching those old interviews where I spoke about my personal life.” The only regret is that he hasn’t done more theatre since the first wave of success.

He also claims to remain more-or-less unaffected by the change. “I’m much more guarded now. I don’t like talking about my personal life.” But would he say he’s more secure, given the kind of ground he has broken? He replies, “Every actor is insecure about that. Dustin Hoffman says that despite the Academy award nominations, I don’t know when that’s going to change. It makes for a thrilling if nerve-wracking kind of life.”

2011 Interview – Rediff Movies

October 28th, 2011 | Posted by Jenn in Interviews | Press - (0 Comments)

Original Link: http://www.rediff.com/movies/slide-show/slide-show-1-interview-with-sendhil-ramamurthy/20110427.htm
Author: Aseem Chhabra

Sendhil Ramamurthy, the geneticist from Heroes, is ready with his second Bollywood outing with Shor In The City, out this Friday.

Sendhil started his acting career with theatre. In the late 1990s, he played a small role in Manhattan Theatre Club’s production of Ayub Khan Din’s East is East. Later on, he went on to play small roles in films and television, until he hit the jackpot with the show Heroes. This was followed by the show Covert Affairs.

In between, Ramamurthy has worked on two films Gurinder Chadha’s It’s A Wonderful Afterlife and this week’s new release — Krishna DK and Raj Nimidoru’s Shor In The City.

Aseem Chhabra spoke to Ramamurthy in New York City about his experience of working on Shor in Mumbai and his other projects.

You have now done two Indian films? Why this choice now?

Well, they were very different films. Gurinder’s film was British, fashioned after the Ealing comedies, whereas this is part of Alt Entertainment strategy to bring a different kind of cinema in India.

The reason I ask is because you play an Indian character in both the films. You have played Indian characters on television too, but your nationality was not the focal point there.

Yes, I was lucky to get a chance to work with Gurinder and when this came along, Raj and DK flew to Los Angeles and met my agent, manager and they gave a copy of their short Shor (a 2008 short film before the directors made the feature last year), which was wonderful. They also gave me the script. I watched the short first and said yes. I knew they had a great eye and Tushar Kanti Ray (Dhobi Ghat) their DP (Director of Photography) is just brilliant.

It was a no brainer for me. I wanted to go to India and work on a film and I had been waiting for something like this to come my way. It has a crossover potential, but it will also appeal to Indian audience. The lead character in this film is Mumbai. It is quite lovingly shot and depicts the good and the bad sides of the city.

The character you play in Shor is similar to you, an NRI, who struggles with his Hindi.

And that originally wasn’t quite the character when they brought the script to me. The character was supposed to be quite fluent in conversational Hindi. My family doesn’t speak Hindi at all. We speak Kannada and so there had to be a change, because it was just so hard for me to learn Hindi.

Also, I think it added to the outsider element of this character. It’s going to provide some comic relief to the audience seeing this fish-out-of-the-water kind of character. His naivet is staggering but there’s something that happened in the US and he’s running away from all that to start a new life. But what I like about the character is that whatever may have happened that he ran from, this time he stakes his claim.

What was it like working in India? This was your first time working there.

It was a four week shoot. It was totally different than anything I have done before. It was so chaotic and so damn noisy. I don’t know how any of the sound came out. Here (in the US) when we shoot on the street, we have policemen who shut the place down. There it was like ‘wait until that rickshaw passes and start talking.’ But the sound guys were brilliant. Obviously the noise adds to the film.

Raj and DK have spent a lot of time on the film. I think they brought a different sensibility to it based on their experiences here and still kept it an Indian film about Mumbai. I think it will connect with the people.

What’s it like having two directors?

They go through their shots together, but then Raj is the one who talks to the actors and they really delineate their roles but they also almost finish each other’s sentences. They are onboard with everything. I was concerned but they were on the same page at all times.

Let’s talk about your television work. What did Heroes do for your career?

Everybody needs that one break, one opening and what you do with that is up to you. I tried to use it to make sure I don’t do the same thing again and again that I get good roles but I do not repeat myself. Heroes kind of enabled me to do that. I get inside the doors now because of Heroes. Besides, I’ve also made some very close friends.

There was a time actors would graduate from television to films. But now things are changing. Is there a particular path you are following?

I’ve come to realise that there are no rules. You cut your own path. Right now I have the privilege to work in both television and films. I haven’t done a play for a while, but I would like to do that soon. But I am really happy with the work I am doing. It’s good television.

What do your parents do? Do you have any siblings?

My parents are both doctors. I have a sister, who is also a doctor.

Oh wow, so you were the black sheep in the family.

Yes, I was although now they think everyone should be an actor! It took a little bit of convincing them but they were really understanding paying for drama school, etc. The typical Indian parents that everyone thinks of — they weren’t that. They supported all the plays I did and came to see my act. I certainly wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without their support.

Has it become easier for Indian American actors in the US?

There is no question about that.

Is it still a struggle?

Oh yes, acting is a struggle whether you are white, black or brown.

But look at Meryl Streep. She can take two years off and then she gets two films and Oscar nominations for both.

Oh if I can be a tenth of Meryl Streep, I will be a happy man. In general if you are lucky to be working as an actor that is great. But it is also a struggle, especially if you are an Indian.

Has there been more interest in you in India? Are you getting scripts from Indian filmmakers?

A lot of interest. But the language will always be a barrier for me. It would be unrealistic of me to go there and hope to become a huge Bollywood star. That’s not on the cards. But I am looking for opportunities in India. Some of the projects are in English. I am quite picky and nothing has attracted my attention yet. But I will go back when the right thing comes along.

Original Link: http://www.dnaindia.com/entertainment/report_i-would-love-to-work-with-ekta-again-says-sendhil-ramamurthy_1554038
Author: Prachi Kadam

Actor Sendhil Ramamurthy has starred in a handful of Hollywood TV series and acted in a few films too. Recently, he was seen in the Bollywood film Shor In the City alongside actor Preeti Desai. Despite acting in a Hindi film, Sendhil has far from mastered speaking Hindi. However, the actor doesn’t mind doing roles that will suit his persona and prefers English roles.

Talking about filmmaker Ekta Kapoor, who roped him for Shor… he says, “I really got along with Ekta. I like the fact that she is a strong, successful woman. I have been surrounded by strong women my entire life — from my mom, sister, my wife, and my agent who has represented me since the day I left drama school. I feel very comfortable around strong, intelligent women. Ekta went out of her way to make me feel at home, during my time in Mumbai. If a project comes along that I truly like, yes, I would love to work with Ekta again.”

Ask him about his take on Indian films and he responds, “It seems like more movies are coming out of India that are trying to appeal to a global audience. And why not? From a producer’s point of view, it opens up markets and opportunities to make money. The film business is global and Indian studios have started to realise this which is why they cater to international markets now.”

What about Hollywood offers? “As far as Hollywood offers go, I am currently shooting for Covert Affairs in Toronto. The film is Doug Liman’s (The Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, Bourne Ultimatum, and Mr & Mrs. Smith director) new show about the CIA and I play a CIA agent in it. I am shooting till the end of October, which is why I was unable to be in Mumbai for all the promotion of Shor… I’m really gutted about that,” he says.

Quiz him about his expectations from the projects he takes on and he says, “I never have expectations about the projects I am in. I don’t see the point, since you have no control over it. Obviously, I hope people enjoy my films.”

2011 Interview – TV Guide

October 28th, 2011 | Posted by Jenn in Interviews | Press - (0 Comments)

Original Link: http://www.tvguide.com/News/Covert-Affairs-Jai-Sendhil-Ramamurthy-1039218.aspx
Author: Joyce Eng

Jai packed his bags — but he didn’t go to Phoenix.

Instead, he moved down the hall on the Covert Affairs midseason premiere into his new, swanky digs as director of special projects for the director of national intelligence — just like he had planned.

Taking matters into his own hands for once, after Joan’s shoddy reassignment in the summer finale, Jai (Sendhi Ramamurthy) slyly worked everyone like any good CIA officer would. He pestered his old frat brother into having him deposed in the Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the CIA leak and made sure his dad Henry (Gregory Itzin) — aka the leak and hardly the apple of the agency’s eye — got wind of that. That ultimately forced Henry to pull “all” of his strings to get Jai the new gig.

So what does the director of special projects do? And what does this mean for Joan (Kari Matchett), Arthur (Peter Gallagher), Annie (Piper Perabo), Auggie (Christopher Gorham) and, of course, Henry? Ramamurthy answers our burning questions about the twist and makes a promise for Season 3.

What was your reaction when you found out what Jai’s plan was?

Sendhil Ramamurthy: I was so, so excited. I didn’t [predict] it at all. … I thought he was calling Ben Mercer … so when I found out he was calling to get deposed and how it fell into place, it all made sense. And Jai had to do this. … In the summer finale, there was scene between Jai and Arthur that was cut where he makes one last-ditch effort to go through the right channels. He goes to Arthur and lays it all out: “I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do and I’m getting screwed here and I’m not happy about it.” Arthur’s advice to him is, “You keep turning to other people, who are supposed to make things happen for you, and that’s not the way the CIA works. If you want to be successful in the CIA, you need to rely on yourself.” And that’s why he made that call.

Through the rest of the season, you’ll see Jai take advice from people and use it to get ahead. He’s smart enough to know he can get far on his own, but no one can get there solely on their own, so he goes to people who know more than he does. There are people who you think are really unlikely that he goes to for advice. He takes it and runs with it on his own. He’s never going to be going against the CIA or going against the United States, but you see he’s not going to be much of a boy scout.

He spent most of the second season not really doing anything. Are you surprised it took this long for him to take action? Was Phoenix the last straw?

Ramamurthy: I think he kind of expected to skate a little bit even though his father didn’t have the greatest reputation. But Henry was feared within the CIA walls. Nobody was going to mess with Henry Wilcox. When Jai got there at first, I think he kind of assumed the same. After Phoenix, he’s kind of like, “Enough is enough. I’m clearly not going to get what I want simply because of my last name,” so I’m going to have to go out and get it myself. He’s more than capable of it.

So what does the director of special projects do?

Ramamurthy: That’s the question! What is this? It’s a new initiative, so what the hell does that mean? That’s what’s really explored in these next six episodes. … I report to the DNI [director of national intelligence], who is Arthur’s boss. There’s only one person above Arthur Campbell and that’s the DNI. Are we going to see this guy? I don’t know. We haven’t explored him. What is he capable of doing? What can Jai do mission-wise? You’re going to see him taking on specific missions and kind of resurrecting a mission or two that’s been shelved. He’s certainly looking to make his own name.

Does he have his own minions?

Ramamurthy: Yeah, he’s got minions! He’s got his own secretary. He has access. They built a new set [for his office] and when I walked onto the set, I was like, “Yeah! We’ve arrived now.” It’s the set right next to the Suits set, which is very cool. I was giving Peter Gallagher a hard time because Jai’s office is so much nicer! He’s got this huge, 50-inch flat-screen plasma with all these mini-screens underneath. The only thing I don’t like about that set is that it’s the hottest set on the entire show. … I’m writing a strongly worded letter to somebody about the heat. Season 3, there’ll be air conditioning! But yeah, he’s big-time now.

He’s obviously in a position of power now, but where on the totem pole does he lie in relation to Joan?

Ramamurthy: I would say they’re equals now. You’ll see the power struggle between Jai and Joan. They become interdependent. One has to go to the other to ask for things and vice versa. Can these two co-habit? Let’s face it: They don’t get along. They don’t like each other. They’re gonna have to find a way to make this work or not as the case may be. Kari and I always mess around on set, like Jai and Joan have hate sex after these scenes. [Laughs] Like they have this whole other life. We keep pitching it to the writers and they look at us like we’re insane, but we just keep going for it anyway. We have a whole separate life going on for Jai and Joan that no one else seems to be on board for! It’d be hilarious if the show went that direction!

Are there going to be blowups between them, or will they keep it professional with curt exchanges?

Ramamurthy: They’re curt with each other. When two people dislike each other that much, even their curt exchanges are going to be heated. With Jai 2.0, he doesn’t take sh– from anybody and he’s going to go out and get what he wants from people. That may rub people the wrong way. The difference now is that Jai doesn’t care. I think there was a huge part of Jai that really wanted and needed to be liked simply because Henry is hated by everybody. It’s this whole stink of nepotism that’s around this guy. He hates it and in his mind, it’s blocking his progress. Now he’s just going for it.

Joan watched him pack up and leave. Does she know then that he’s not going to Phoenix?

Ramamurthy: I thought she didn’t know. But the guys said she does know … and you’ll see [her reaction] in the very next episode. She’s powerless. The head honcho has made this decision. She knows that he’s now in a position of power where she may need to go to him for things. And he may come to her and she has to listen to him as an equal, which does not thrill her!

How does this affect his relationship with Arthur?

Ramamurthy: It has a profound effect. As you’ll see in Arthur’s story arc, Arthur ain’t squeaky clean either. He’s not Henry Wilcox, but he’s done some shady things. The final scene of the season between Jai and Arthur is huge. When you’re on set, usually crew members are like, “Whatever. We’re getting along here.” When we did the blocking for the camera, the whole crew was silent. As soon as we finished the scene, there was this, “Oooh.” That never happens. Everybody took notice of that scene because it really set the stage for next season. … There’s a cliff-hanger certainly for Jai and what he wants to do.

Henry basically says this isn’t over between them. What can we expect?

Ramamurthy: The last episode is awesome. Gregory Itzin and I rehearsed our scenes the night before over dinner and talked about their whole relationship. Jai is going to be faced with decisions that he has to make. They’re not easy and he realizes they’re going to have effects on his personal life and his professional life. Ultimately he makes the hard choice. I hope that that final scene with Jai and Arthur has ramifications for the relationship with Henry. You see how torn Jai is. As much as he wants to be this emotionless kind of guy, he’s very much affected by it. He’s been hiding it, but he’s not going to let that stop him, and that’s kind of the last line of that scene. Like this is Jai 2.0 and this is who he’s going to be.

How about Annie and Auggie? Do they figure into his big picture at all?

Ramamurthy: He’s been very loyal to Annie and I think he’s going to continue to be very loyal to Annie.He certainly has a soft spot for Annie. I don’t know, as far as exploring more between them on missions and stuff, what’s going to happen, but we do explore the dynamic between Auggie and Jai quite a bit. Chris and I had a great time working together.

Do you guys share any shirtless scenes?

Ramamurthy: [Laughs] Sadly, no. Not yet. But hopefully there are many more seasons to come. Maybe we’ll have an ab-off or something. I’m going to e-mail Matt and Chris now. We’re going to work that out. It’s happening. You can print that. Jai and Auggie will be shirtless at some point in the near future together in a non-homoerotic way. As we speak, I’m writing, “Auggie and Jai must be shirtless together in Season 3.”

Original Link: http://www.fistfullofcomics.com/v2/2011/06/29/turn-me-on-interview-with-sendhil-ramamurthy/
Author: James

The large group of reporters was bussed to studios where they film Covert Affairs on a sunny Toronto morning. Behind where the standing sets of Annie’s Bedroom and Arthur and Joan’s House fill the large space, a makeshift conference room was set up; this is where the interviews were to take place. The group settled in and waited for the first of several interviews, Sendhil Ramamurthy. Fans of Heroes are sure to recognize the name Sendhil Ramamurthy as Dr. Mohinder Suresh; but on Covert Affairs he is Jai Wilcox, superspy.

Sendhil walked in looking like he just walked off the set with his perfect hair and 5 o’clock shadow (it was 11 in the morning!). This reporter found out first hand that if you want to look like crap, sit next to someone this good looking and put together. A mistake that will never be repeated I can assure you.



SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Thanks for dropping by.

PANEL: It’s our privilege.

PANEL: I’ll go first, I’m sitting right next to him. James Hamilton with Fist Full of Comics and Games. I want to know, you came from a show, Heroes, that had a very large ensemble cast. This cast is smaller.


PANEL: Is it easier to work with a smaller cast?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: It’s just different. It’s different working with a smaller cast. You-, well, you have to work more. You know, in, in Heroes, like, if you worked two days a week, three days a week, that was, like, that was your norm. That was, like, a heavy week, unless you were, like, heavy in an episode. Like, a couple episodes, you know, you’d work, you know, every day, but we also had a lot longer to shoot Heroes. This show we do in eight days. It’s an eight-day, eight-day episodes and some of them, like the one we’re shooting right now is a seven-day episode, and we had 12 days to shoot Heroes…

PANEL: (Laughter.)



SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …and we had two units going at all times. It was like a movie. So it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a lot less hectic here, much more chilled out, much more contained and, you know, just, it makes it, it, it’s smaller in scale, so it’s – it makes it a little bit easier to do, to do your work.

PANEL: Thank you.

PANEL: How would you describe the mystery of Jai?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: The mystery of Jai? (Laughter.)

PANEL: We don’t know a lot about him yet. (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: No, no. And, you know, to be honest, I, I don’t know a ton more than, than you guys do. It’s, it’s a very, very slow burn for Jai, and you get little snippets of his back story. And then I think at some point we’ll probably find out a lot more about where he came from and, you know, maybe what he was doing in London before he came and joined, joined up at Langley, but, you know, this season, it, it goes very, very slowly, and kind of starts going to some, some dark places…

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …for Jai. And I, I still have no idea where-, what the ultimate end game is ’cause, like, I can’t figure it out. I mean, this is the next script right here. I haven’t read it yet…

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …and they just…

PANEL: Can I see that? (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …they just hand-, they just handed it to me, but you can, you, you heard it hear first. It’s called, Sad Professor…

PANEL: Hmmm.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …and I’m sure it’ll be a, I’m sure it’ll be a good one. But, yeah, it, it starts out very slowly and kind of like a gentle simmer and then I think towards the end of the, the first part of our seasons, ’cause I guess we’re going to air 10 episodes straight through and then take a break and then come back and do 6. By the end of the first 10 it’ll kind of become apparent what Jai’s end game is for the season. But at the beginning it’s kind of, like, kind of seeing Jai dealing with not having things going his way, and that’s not something that he’s used to. I mean, he always gets what he wants. It’s been like that his whole life. He’s led a very privileged life, yeah, and had a privileged upbringing and he’s not really used to this, but he’s also pretty crafty and willing to do things that maybe others wouldn’t, and maybe that he shouldn’t do to get what he wants, and we’re going to, I think, kind of start exploring that a little bit, and it’s a little bit dark, and it’s kind of cool to play.

PANEL: So what would be Jai’s secret weapon, as far as one of his qualities that he’s trying to maybe utilize to get his goals?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Well, I mean, I think that he’s, he’s good at talking and talking his way out of things and, or into things, as the case may be, and I’ve heard that I talk myself into something in this episode.

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: But, but, yeah, I mean, I think, I think that he’s, he has a lot of tools to his, you know, in his arsenal to kind of achieve what he wants. He can go charm offensive, he can be just a flat out prick, he can be, you know, and try bully his way through, so he kind of does, does what’s needed, kind of assesses the situation and then does what’s needed to get where he needs to be.

PANEL: I was a little curious in the first episode of this season he brought the puzzle books to the hospital for Ben.


PANEL: What provoked that?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: I think that it was, actually, a genuine moment of this guy, Ben, who, obviously, he’s not on the closest terms with, he’s gone through a lot, and the way I thought about it ’cause I, I, I did think why, on earth, is Jai bringing Sudoku’s…

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …to Ben Mercer, like, a dude that he really is not fond of, and I, I kind of took it upon myself that Jai feels somewhat responsible, even though he really couldn’t have done anything, his back was turned at the point, but he was standing there when Ben got shot and he was trying to get them onto the helicopter and he got pegged…

PANEL: Mm-hmm.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …you know, Ben got shot. And so that’s what I put in my head as the reason that he brought some Sudoku, is basically like, I hate you, but sorry you got shot.

PANEL: (Laughter.) Former glimmer of…


PANEL: …what’s in there.


PANEL: Speaking of not getting along. By the way, Jeff Kirkpatrick, TV Fanatic.


PANEL: Are we going to find out ever why there’s so much bad blood between he and Auggie?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Yeah, I think it’s probably touched on a little bit in further episodes, definitely. I think, actually, the one airing on Tuesday, some stuff comes out. I can’t, I can’t remember ’cause we mixed the order up while we were shooting, so I’m not quite sure what’s aired and what’s not. But, but, yeah, we will and, you know, I think a lot of it just stems from the fact that, like, throughout the CIA for, for Jai is – he’s Henry Wilcox’s son, as, and everybody kind of thinks he must be like him, and I think Jai, listen, Jai could have kind of done anything. He went to Yale and has a good head on his shoulders. He could have gone into anything and probably made a lot of money, but he’s decided to fall into his, you know, go into his father’s line of work, knowing that he didn’t have the greatest reputation and that, you know, he was considered the Prince of Darkness, and, and all of this-, these things at the CIA, and it’s, it’s either balsy, or really stupid of, of Jai to kind of try and go in there, and part of my thinking with the character is he wants to change that perception, not necessarily of, of his father maybe because that may, that boat may have sailed at this point, but, but kind of redeem the family name a little bit and, and just cut his own, cut his own path, ’cause when you grow up, you know, around a certain environment, it’s kind of natural to go, to go and follow your parents’ footsteps, I mean, so…

PANEL: Think part of it, too, is wanting to prove something to his dad?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Prove something to his dad, especially. I mean, listen, they have a very contentious relationship and, actually, Greg Itzen is up here right now and we’re about to shoot a bunch of scenes tomorrow, which I’m really, really looking forward to ’cause they’re a lot of fun and, actually, there’s like a little bombshell that comes out at the end of one of their conversations and I’m looking forward to playing those moments.

PANEL: Thank you.

PANEL: Melissa from thetelevixen.com.


PANEL: In the first season, I really, really liked the, the relationship between you and Annie, and I don’t mean this in a romantic perspective, but is that relationship going to continue to grow this season, and is it going to stay more as a friendship, or, like, what direction is it going, or is it going to stay strictly professional?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Again, I-, the answer is I don’t know…

PANEL: (Laughter.)

PANEL: Okay.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …but, you know, Jai has-, he has quite a few fires to put out on his own this season that he’s dealing with. The relationship with Annie, I, I suppose is touched on, but I think that it, it’s more of a friendship type of thing. That’s just my own personal thing. I think that last season he, he was on a mission, you know…

PANEL: Mm-hmm.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …he was, he was doing his job and, you know, there’s certainly a, a kind of familiar air, a familiarity and a, you know, I think they get along…

PANEL: Yeah.


PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Romantic-wise, I don’t-, I doubt it. I, I don’t see it…

PANEL: Yeah. That…


PANEL: …I was, I was just thinking more along the lines of if it’s going to stay strictly professional and you guys are colleagues, but, because I saw hints of, like, that friendship creeping in and there was definitely a camaraderie going on in the first season?


PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …oh, I see what you mean now…

PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …yeah, yeah, yeah…

PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …no. There is, there-, no. The camaraderie is definitely…

PANEL: Yeah.


PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …you see it in, like, even the episode that we shot, just finished…

PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …you know, Jai ends up having to go in and, and kind of-, them-, him and Annie are come together at the end of a, of a mission and kind of-, you, you kind of see a, a deepening of their, of their friendship, which, which is, which is cool, which is cool. But for the most part so far Jai’s kind of been off on his own, dealing with, with things that, that he doesn’t really want to be dealing with, to be honest, but he’s forced to, and going down paths that he probably never thought that he would, but he needs to to, to get what he, what he wants.

PANEL: I’m with, I’m Dave from Have You Heard, and so what about Jai, do you think will, will appeal to your audiences?


PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …do I think will appeal…

PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …to my audience?

PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: I don’t know. I mean, I try, I actually try not to think about appealing to audiences. I just try, try to think about playing the character and, but, you know, I think that, if you, if you’re into the kind of the bad boy thing you’ll, you’ll kind of be attracted to Jai. He just kind of does what he wants and doesn’t really care too much about what anybody else thinks…

PANEL: Mm-hmm.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …and so that’s the way I’ve tried to approach the character, ’cause as, as you’ll see as you see more episodes, he kind of starts going to places that I, I actually never really thought that he would go, but, but it’s, it’s fun to play and it’s, and it’s dark for, for our show, I think.

PANEL: Mm-hmm.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: And I’m, I’m interested to see how it’s, how it’s played. Like, there’s something to be said for, for playing a character that doesn’t, you know, doesn’t really-, who, who really marches to the beat of his own drum and isn’t really concerned with what others think of him, as long as he gets what he wants.

PANEL: Sami, TV Grapevine.


PANEL: How do you relate to your character, and where do you draw your inspiration to be that bad boy from?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: My youth. (Laughter.)

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: My youth. No, it’s-, we won’t even get into that, but…

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …it’s, you know I’m, I’m finding it surprisingly easy to draw, to draw on this stuff. But because it’s fun. It’s written, it’s written fun, and he’s kind of a naturally flirtatious character and cocky and arrogant, and that can turn some people off. You know, some people just don’t really respond to that and some people do. So that’s where, you know, kind of worrying about what the audience thinks of your character, I don’t see it, how it’s helpful. Just play what’s written and then people will respond to how they want to respond. But it, it’s a lot more fun than playing, like, a full-on good guy, and I think it’s more realistic, simply, like CIA-wise, just because I don’t think anybody in the CIA is all good or all bad. It’s impossible. If you’re going to be successful, anyway, in the CIA, you have to be willing to do some pretty messed up stuff, and I think Jai is more than willing…

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …a lot of the times to, to do that, which is why, I think, ultimately, he’ll probably do very well at the CIA.

PANEL: Murtz from Inside Pulse.


PANEL: It’s kind of like a follow-up. Do you prefer playing the good guy, or do you like playing a character with more scruples?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: No, I’m, I’m pretty anti-scruples.

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: It’s much more fun to, to, to not have scruples. It can be a dangerous road to go down for a character, certainly, but it’s definitely a more fun road. You know, I pretty much played a good guy on, on Heroes…

PANEL: Right.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …for the whole time, except for this little fly experiment.

PANEL: (Laughter.)

PANEL: Yeah. Somebody became like a spider, right?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Yeah. And, you know, that was fun. That was fun, but it’s nice, it’s always nice to do something different, and that’s what attracted me to the part, is that they were like, no, this guy is not going to be, you know, apple pie, and I said, great, let’s do it! Hello.

PANEL: Jeff, Fellowship Fools.


PANEL: For season two gearing up, did you do anything to try to, oh, I don’t know, new, new tech training, or did you read up on something that maybe from season one you decided, hey, you know, let’s, let’s look at this and get a little bit more insight of something….

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Yeah. Like physically, actually, I did from season one ’cause we kind of established that Jai’s fluent with Parkour and all of these kind of things, and I thought, well, in case they write something like that, I better limber up, so I started doing a lot of yoga and pilates and, and being more active about working out a little bit more. I’ve always been active and athletic, I play a lot of tennis, but I, I started with that just to see, you know, if-, and, and Jai goes into the field this season and, we get to see, get to see him in action a little bit, which was, which has been a lot of fun and I think that there’s more of that stuff coming up later in the season.

PANEL: Cool. A lot of tech toys on the show, anything you want to take home with you?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Well, Auggie gets most of the tech toys, to be honest. He’s, he’s the one who gets, like, all the cool stuff, like, for, for-, it’s mainly guns, for me, which I think were cool.

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: I’d rather have a gun, but I’ve, I’ve been, you know, I’m, I’m – I’ve had guns blazing in a few episodes now, so that’s, that’s always fun for me…

PANEL: Texan at heart.


PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …it’s the Texan at heart. I just…

PANEL: I’m in Dallas, sir.

PANEL: I mean, which one’s your favourite so far?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: It’s been mostly hand guns…

PANEL: Yeah…


PANEL: …but different types.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Yeah. Different types of hand guns, and I got to do some very cool stuff where I was up in a helicopter and then got to come rushing out of it, they, they landed it. We-, we’re in this huge field and…

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …got to come out, guns blazing, which is always fun, you know, boys and toys. But, but, yeah, we’ll see, we’ll see if, if there’s some more of that planned further down the season. I’m not, I’m not too sure about that.

PANEL: Hi, Sendhil.


PANEL: Sorry I talked to you when I got here, I’m a long-time fan.


PANEL: I’m Rosy from accidentalsexiness.com.


PANEL: Thank you.


PANEL: Gorham’s on Twitter, you know how that goes. They-, the show has embraced Twitter, when are we going see you on Twitter?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Boy. I just don’t see that happening. (Laughter.)

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: I’m going to be honest. I mean, I just, I’m not really a Twitter guy. I don’t – Gorham’s the Twitter guy.

PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: He’ll, he’ll-, he’s tweeting constantly.

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: But I, I, I tend to-, I, I called it the wrong name the other day. I was like…

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …are you tweetering?

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: I’m, I’m not, I’m not really proficient with, with it. It’s probably best ’cause I’d probably send something out by accident…

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …that shouldn’t be sented, sent out, like Mr. Weiner. (Laughter.) No.

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: (Laughter.) I joke, I joke. (Laughter.) But, but, no, Twitter’s not really my, my thing, but I, I know that a lot of people are really into it and enjoying the, the Twitter casts on, on, on, on the computer and stuff, so that’s cool. Like, I think that’s great. It’s a really great way to, to-, for the fans to interact and there was a lot of that going on on Heroes, and I’ve actually made a conscious effort this, this season. I’m going to at least know what’s going-, ’cause people would come up to me and ask me about on line stuff on Heroes and I had no idea what they were talking about.

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Like there was a comic book…

PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …and I’m like we didn’t have anything to do with that stuff, so we didn’t-, you know, there were webisodes and all…

PANEL: Mm-hmm.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …this stuff, but we weren’t really involved in that, like, the cast. So I’m going to at least know what’s going on. I know that there’s Twitter casts going on about Budapest, and as far as I know that’s it, right?

PANEL: Mm-hmm.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Okay. I’m on, I’m on top…

PANEL: You’re caught up.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …of it. I’m on top of it.

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: We’re good to go.

PANEL: Thank you.

PANEL: Mo from Buzz Focus. Speaking of Heroes, do you know anything of the-, these follow-up movies that we keep hearing about, these rumours?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: They’re rumours. I, I, I hear them too. But, I think, I think it’s…

PANEL: Yeah.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …pretty damn unlikely. I mean, we’re all off, or a lot of us are off doing other things under contracts with different people. It would be-, I mean, I hope that happens, just for the fans’ sake. But, realistically I, I, I just, I don’t see a chance of that happening, not, not with the whole cast together. It, it’d be impossible, just to…

PANEL: Mm-hmm.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …to kind of get everybody together.

PANEL: Can I ask one more question? I’m Stephanie from Poptimal.


PANEL: I was just wondering, since Piper, she recently went to Paris to film, do you get to go to any cool, exotic locations maybe anytime soon?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: As far as I know, no.

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: I know that Piper went to Paris and Puerto Rico. Auggie-, yeah, Chris is going to Istanbul, and then I’ve heard, but I don’t know if this is actually happening, that they’re planning on a German expedition at some point and maybe one to Norway, to Oslo. So that’s what I’ve heard. I don’t-, those aren’t confirmed, but Istanbul, Puerto Rico and Paris are, are definite.

PANEL: But they’re leaving you behind here?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: I get left behind…

PANEL: Oh, yeah? Oh.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …for, for reasons which will, which will come out…


PANEL: Okay.

PANEL: Interesting.


PANEL: Sounds like you’ve been starting your trouble.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: I, I don’t think intentionally, but I think ultimately maybe that’s what’s going to happen. Again, I don’t know ’cause we haven’t gotten far enough in, but I think really kind of from the fifth and-, the fifth episodes you see, the fifth episode on, you’re going to see the direction that Jai goes down for the season, and there’s a scene with Joan where he kind of makes a decision as to what he’s going to do and-, which was a lot of fun to, to play…

PANEL: (Laughter.)

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: …and you’ll, you’ll kind of know what he’s, what he’s up to, but then I think it twists and it goes in a different direction that you don’t even really expect for the back six. So, so we’ll see.

PANEL: I’m looking forward to it.

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: I, I’m looking forward to it. No, I’m having a blast.

Original Link: http://www.accidentalsexiness.com/2010/08/10/sendhil-ramamurthy-talks-covert-affairs/
Author: Rosy

As a longtime Heroes fan, I was elated at the prospect of meeting original cast member Sendhill Ramamurthy who played geneticist Mohinder Suresh during all four seasons.

We were ecstatic to hear the announcement when he landed the gig with USA in the role of CIA operative Jai Wilcox, whose family has a long history with the CIA.

I had the opportunity to participate in a special media call with Sendhil on Friday and I’d love to share his words with you. Quickly though, I will preface this article by letting you all know the details I know you are dying to hear!! He IS every bit as charming as you would imagine, his voice is even dreamier than you could hope, and he is just so darn funny, you don’t ever want to hang up!

Now without further ado, our chat with Sendhil:

Question: What exactly made you want to be a part of this show?

S. Ramamurthy: It was kind of a roundabout thing, actually. While I was still shooting here, they were shooting this pilot and I put a friend of mine on tape for the role of Auggie, for Chris Gorham’s part. While I was doing that, I ended up reading the script and I really liked it, but I was already on a show and that was that. I kind of read it and filed it away.

Then, I guess when the show’s creators and USA decided to make a little change from the pilot and bring in the Jai Wilcox character they kind of approached me about it and I went in and I talked to the creators and I did a chemistry read with Piper Perabo and I got the job the next day. It was a script that I really liked. It was a very different character for me to play from what I had been doing before.

It was also one of those things where I was under contract to NBC and it was a way to do more work without having to try and get out of a contract and all of that and all the legalities involved with that and it was a chance to work with Doug Liman, so it was all kind of win-win.

Question: Will your character get to get out in the field at all?

S. Ramamurthy: My character does go out into the field, starting in Tuesday’s episode actually. I think originally as conceived the character wasn’t going to be going out into the field and once they cast me they saw some merit, some advantage to bringing me into the field. And it’s been a lot of fun.

Most of the stuff I do has been with Piper and a little bit of stuff with Chris. It’s a lot of fun and it’s also a great way to see Toronto because we shoot everywhere around Toronto, so I’ve gotten to kind to see Toronto just by virtue of shooting all around the place.

Question: How would you describe your character and, most specifically, his relationship with Arthur because there’s some kind of hidden motive going on there? At least there appears to be so.

S. Ramamurthy: Well, my character, Jai Wilcox is a second generation CIA man. His father, Henry Wilcox, was the Head of Clandestine Services, so he’s CIA royalty, basically. And, as we’ll find out in Tuesday’s episode, I don’t want to give too much away, there’s some baggage that comes with being Henry Wilcox—my character’s father’s name is Henry Wilcox—there’s some baggage that comes with being his son and it kind of permeates through the CIA.

So, you see how Jai kind of has to deal with that.

He kind of has two father figures in his life. He’s got his real father, Henry Wilcox, and then he’s got Arthur Campbell, played by Peter Gallagher, who is somebody who, obviously, he looks up to and respects and he wants to impress the both of them and impress everybody else in his own right. I think it’s very important for Jai to feel that he is there at the CIA doing a good job on his own merit, not just because he’s Henry Wilcox’s son or because Arthur Campbell trusts him with specific clandestine operations that not a lot of people know about.

So, the relationship with Arthur is definitely, you know, he’s my boss and I look to impress him at every turn that I can.

Question: You’ve been doing a lot of research about the CIA and about some if the inner workings for the show. Was there anything that you found out that kind of surprised you?

S. Ramamurthy: There was a lot that we found out through doing all the research, from the fact that the CIA encourages dating within the agency, which I thought would not be the case to kind of the way that things operate there.

I didn’t know even the basic things, like you can’t have your cell phone with you inside the CIA. I didn’t know that the CIA didn’t carry weapons on U.S. soil. So it’s interesting, we actually just shot a scene where I’m chasing somebody and they’re shooting at me and I have no gun, but I keep chasing them, like I keep going after them, even though I have no weapon.

So, for me, I found it really kind of courageous and heroic that these CIA operatives are going about doing their thing without a weapon. It could also be looked at as, God, how dumb. But I think it’s pretty heroic. It’s kind of like, well, I guess it’s like with anything like this, like firefighters if you want to look at it like that. While everybody is running out of the fire, they’re the ones running towards it and I think it kind of speaks volumes for the CIA and the people kind of protecting our country.

Question: The interesting part about your character is that you are the assistant to the director and you have access to him that other people don’t, and how does that work in terms when dealing with Kari Matchett’s character as, you know, she’s his wife, but she’s also got a job on the team, but she can’t always get to him the way you can.

S. Ramamurthy: Yeah, and that makes for a pretty interesting dynamic between Jai and Joan, Kari’s character, Joan. It’s pretty antagonistic. She’s not very fond of Jay and their interaction kind of shows that. But what I love that the writers have done with the character is they put in moments where Jai, he does his job well.

Jai is really good at what he does. That’s not to say that he makes mistakes. Everybody will make mistakes throughout any kind of mission, but he’s so good at his job that Joan at certain points in certain episodes can’t help but say, “All right, well done. You did it right.”

Actually, one of the instances happens in Tuesday night’s episode, which I wasn’t expecting because you kind of think in TV they’ll set up this one dynamic and just kind of go in that direction full tilt and that will be that. But it’s really nuanced, all the relationships between the characters are really nuanced and I’ve been really impressed with how they balance everything, from my relationship with Joan to Jai’s relationship with Annie to Auggie’s relationship with Annie; it’s a delicate balance and I think the writers are really doing it well.

Question: I agree, because the relationships seem real and it’s interesting because I would think that your character and Auggie’s character might be—and it seems to be that there’s a little bit, I don’t want to say friction, but the dynamics.

S. Ramamurthy: Oh, there’s friction. We’re having a lot of fun with that actually.

Question: Well, it’s interesting because he has a fondness for Annie, but he can’t go out in the field like you can.

S. Ramamurthy: No, no he can’t and that’s probably part of the friction. And then I think, well, without want to give too much away I think that Jai, as the season goes on, kind of becomes a little bit jealous of the friendship between Auggie and Annie. They are best friends. They really are. There’s a trust between them that Annie’s character doesn’t have with any other character.

She can be completely who she is with Auggie. She can’t do that with Danielle, her sister; she can’t do it with me because, well, there are various reasons that will come out, but it’s a relationship not entirely based on truth and so that kind of makes that impossible. Having said that, I think there’s an attraction. There’s definitely an attraction between Jai and Annie and Annie and Jai and I’m having fun seeing how it’s all playing out.

Question: Gregory Itzin plays your father, how do you like working with him?

S. Ramamurthy: He’s kind of just amazing. I knew him from 24, obviously I’d seen is work on 24 and thought he was just amazing in it and when I heard that they were bringing him on to play my father I thought, okay, interesting choice. I didn’t see that coming at all.

But I was into it, I was really kind of impressed with it, that the writer’s and USA and the studio, everybody, kind of really got behind it. And the scenes that we did, especially in Tuesday night’s episode, which is Greg’s first episode with us, there’s kind of one of my favorites scenes that I’ve done all season, is a scene where he kind of drives it where it’s Jai, and Annie and him, just sitting at a table, having a drink and talking.

And it was an amazing experience to kind of just watch Greg work, because he’s so good and he’s so specific. I’ve really enjoyed all my scenes with him. Again, it’s a very complicated relationship, the relationship that Jai has with Henry, with his father. And we’re kind of getting more into it actually right now.

There’s a great scene in the finale, which we just got, which I’m really looking forward to doing. I think we’re going to shoot it next week. Greg will be back up with us, so, yeah, it’s been a real treat working with him.

Question: So, is this sort of the start of us seeing a lot more of you and Jai?

S. Ramamurthy: Yes, like I said, I kind of came to the party later. I was cast after they had shot the pilot and the show had been picked up for 13 episodes and I was cast after they had kind of broken the first four stories. They had already written the first four episodes or done very specific broad strokes of the first four episodes. So when I met with them they said, listen, we’re going to slot you in where we can in the first four episodes because we’ve put out the structure already, we already know what we’re going to do in those episodes.

For instance, in last week’s episode I wasn’t even in it because that was actually the first episode that we shot after the pilot, even though it aired fourth we shot it first, so there was just no way for me to be in it. And so, I kind of like am peppered through the first four episodes and then on Tuesday’s episode it’s kind of like the real introduction to my character where you find out what Jai is all about, where he comes from, what makes him tick and, more importantly, what he’s doing there and what his kind of general arc and mission will be throughout the season.

Question: Is Jai’s relationship with Annie is going to be strictly professional or does he have an interest aside from what we’ve been shown so far?

S. Ramamurthy: Again, it’s very complicated. I think one of the best things about this show is that all the relationships are really complicated. It’s kind of the best thing that was written in the pilot is the note that the Ben Mercer character leaves for Annie’s character. It says, “The truth is complicated.” And that doesn’t just apply to Annie and Ben. That certainly applies to Annie and Jai as well.

Like I said, everything is not what it seems when you meet Jai and Annie and the audience knows that Arthur has told him to get close to Annie in any way possible. And you kind of see a few different tacks that Jai takes to kind of accomplish his mission and then he can try and go the romantic way, he can try and go the professional way; there are a few different avenues and Jai is pretty crafty and he kind of tries whatever works in certain situations.

And I think that’s all well and good, but in the end Jai and Annie, they’re not robots. There are emotions, there are feelings and when you get close to somebody it can complicate something that you want to just be a mission. So, we’ll see. I have to be honest, I’m curious to see where it goes because I don’t know yet.

Question: You were talking a little bit about Jai’s being a second generation CIA agent. Are we going to see kind of a back story for him?

S. Ramamurthy: Yes, you do. You get a little bit actually in Tuesday night’s episode; you just kind of hear what he’s about, what he’s been up to, actually, just prior to coming to the CIA. You get a little hint as to where he was and what it was that he was doing and a cool scene that we shot, it was me and Piper and Eriq La Salle, actually, which was a lot of fun. He guest stars in Tuesday’s episode and he’s terrific in it. And he’s such a nice guy.

I mean, I was a little in awe. I was acting with Dr. Benton, like what do you do? But he was really great. And you do, you do find out kind of where he’s from and as the season goes on you actually find out a little bit more about where he was and what it was that he was doing where he was, which is kind of important to the overall end game of the season.

Question: What do you find to be the biggest challenge in playing this particular character?

S. Ramamurthy: For me, it’s been a huge challenge just because it’s a very different character than what I’ve been playing on TV before, which I’m excited about. But it’s an incredibly layered character and you’re always kind of second guessing because you don’t want to give too much away in each scene and so that’s something that I’ve really worked hard at and you don’t want to tip your hand too quickly.

Jai is a charmer, or he thinks he’s a charmer anyway, and everybody around him reacts that way so I guess he is and you don’t what that to just be it, so there has to be something bubbling underneath it and the challenge was to not let kind of the end game, which, obviously, I know where it is, but you don’t want the audience to know if the fifth episode of the series what’s going to happen, so it was a really tricky balance for me and, again, I hope I got it because we haven’t seen a lot of it, we haven’t seen a lot of the episodes, so it’s going to be interesting. So, for me, that’s been the most challenging thing.

The other challenging thing has been it’s a very physical role for me. In Tuesday’s episode I was doing parkour. Who gets to do parkour on TV? They brought in a guy from Cirque du Soleil to work with me to kind of work the moves out and stuff. And I saw the chase scene actually that’s going to air on Tuesday and it’s really cool. I was really excited when I saw it. It’s a very fun thing and it’s what you would expect from Doug Liman, from a show executive produced by Doug Liman. It’s certainly worthy of kind of his previous spy stuff.

Question: What are your thoughts on the tension that Jai has added to the show, especially between Arthur and Joan?

S. Ramamurthy: I think it’s kind of interesting because he’s become an unknowing pawn in the marital strife between Arthur and Joan and I don’t think it’s something that he particularly wants to be involved in. But I also don’t think, because these guys are CIA operatives as well, Joan and Arthur—this is what they do, too. They don’t really tip their hand too much, certainly to Jai and not to the rest of the people either as to what’s going on between them.

Yeah, obviously, everybody knows they’re married and there can be a little bit of frostiness between the two of them, but when they interact in front of the rest of us, in front of Annie, in front of Jai, in front of Auggie, we can’t see that. And that’s another instance where these guys, they’re able to compartmentalize in a way the me, personally, Sendhil, I’m incapable of doing that.

I can’t kind of like say, okay, well, I’m doing this, but I’m going to shut this out. I’m not very good at that, but all of these guys are very good at that because it’s their job. They wouldn’t be doing what they were doing if they were bad at it. So, as far as the tension, yeah, he’s there and Arthur has put him into the DPD, a place where he’s never been and didn’t even clear it. I mean, Jai, as we saw in the first episode I appeared in, Jai is the one who informs Joan that Arthur put him in.

And we actually did a different take of it where I was actually kind of ribbing her a little bit about it, but looking back on it, I’m glad that they didn’t use that take because I don’t think it was right at that time. That’s another thing, they were developing the character kind of after they cast me, so the first few episodes I was kind of like, okay, which direction am I going here? I don’t want to make him too arch.

And they were very helpful, Matt and Chris the creators of our show, were very helpful in holding my hand and kind of guiding me in the right directly while they figured it all out and they have, luckily.

Question: How do you feel Jai will develop as the series continues?

S. Ramamurthy: I think for the first time Jai starts to have second thoughts; not second thoughts, but he starts to realize that okay, maybe this deception thing is a lot more tricky and a lot more difficult and affects people in a different, sometimes adverse way than he thought and I don’t think he actually really thought about it that much and there are certain things, the relationship with Annie; there is one thing, in particular, that happens in I think it’s the eighth or the ninth episode where I kind of made a choice.

There’s a conversation between Jai and Annie where they kind of mention past relationships and I think that there’s a past relationship in Jai’s life that deeply affected him and I don’t think it ended up the way that he wanted it to end up and I think that I’d like to see that explored a little bit more as to why he’s able to connect with Annie in the way that he does. I don’t know if that will be this season or not. I don’t know if there will be the time to do that, but I hope in subsequent seasons, should we be lucky to get one, or two or three or four or five, I hope that’s something that we can look into.

Question: We’ve already seen Piper with a lot of accent and language work. Are you looking for that with Covert Affairs? Have you actually already done some languages and some accents that we get to hear?

S. Ramamurthy: Boy, that’s a tough one to answer. There might be some accent stuff coming up. I’m not sure, to be honest, because there are some rewrites going on right now, but it’s a possibility.

As far as languages go, I haven’t had to explore my unfortunately incredibly limited language skills. Piper has a really great facility for languages. She’s great with it. But me, I’m not so great with it, so if they happen to be reading this, the writers, and read this, they should feel free not to give me any language stuff. Accents I’m good with; languages not so much.

Question: I’m wondering why Arthur chose you to get close to Annie. Does Jai have some sort of history with the mysterious Ben Mercer that makes him a good choice? Or is it just that he is so good at getting under other people’s skin and is such a good operative in his own right?

S. Ramamurthy: Aren’t you a clever girl! I’m not going to answer that question in any way that you’re going to find satisfying. I’m going to just say that upfront right now, but yes. That’s my answer. There’s a lot, like I said, there’s a lot there, which is why I’m so excited to play the character. My parents, actually, were talking to me the other day and they were like, “What the hell is your guy doing? I don’t understand. What’s happening? He’s like kind of there, but not there?”

And I was just like, “Just relax. It’ll come out.” And, again, that’s probably one of the frustrating things for viewers of series television is you want all the answers right away, but then you don’t. You want something more and from a writer’s point of view, they don’t want to burn through too much story. They’ve got to crank out 13 episodes.

So, the one thing I would say is it’s a very slow burn for the Jai Wilcox character and as far as, you can probably tell how much I’m trying not to answer your question, there are definitely things in Jai’s background and what he was doing prior to arriving at Langley that make him a really, well, the only choice to be dealing with Annie and the Ben Mercer situation.

Question: Is the spying leak story line going to be wrapped up soon, or is that going throughout the entire season?

S. Ramamurthy: That is something that I think definitely kind of goes through and it grows in importance throughout the entire season. And I don’t even know whether it will be resolved or not resolved by the end of the season. Again, should we be lucky enough to go more seasons, it could be something that is further explored.

If you could read the 12th episode, which is sitting on my kitchen table right here and I’m looking at it, you would know that there’s an opening there for it to continue should the writers decide to go in that direction.

Question: What other upcoming projects do you have, besides more Covert Affairs?

S. Ramamurthy: I did a movie called It’s a Wonderful Afterlife. It was written and directed by Gurinder Chadha, who did Bend It Like Beckham. And it’s released in the U.K. already and I believe a U.S. release is happening towards the end of this year.

And then I did another film called Shor, which I actually shot in Mumbai in January and February. It’s like a really gritty crime drama. It kind of follows my character’s descent into a kind of hell, if you like. And that was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, just shooting, the physical toll of it was enormous.

The heat, I was shooting in the largest slum in Mumbai for a lot of it and it was, again, just a very different experience for me and working with a whole different crew and a whole different culture of filmmaking and I’m really excited for that. I think that’s going to be released in October.

Question: If you were to put your iPod on shuffle right now and press play, what’s the most embarrassing song that would come up?

S. Ramamurthy: Wow, that’s a great question because I have a shared iPod with my wife. I actually had it on shuffle just now in the gym and I’m trying to think what came on. Oh, what’s that guy, it was an Enrique Iglesias song, which I would usually probably never listen to, but it popped on. And I am not ashamed to admit that I listened to it all the way through. I did not fast forward it.

Question: We’re really enjoying seeing Chris and your co-star Ann Dudek and Peter Gallagher on Twitter. We only hear about you through Wendi Lynn. So, when are you going to make the move to Twitter? We want to hear from you.

S. Ramamurthy: You can hear from me by talking to me right now. The Internet scares me. I’m not very Internet savvy, to be honest. I’m not very computer savvy. I’m not a big Web surfer. It’s just not something I do. I can’t see why anybody would be interested in what I’m doing during my day. Like I’m having a coffee at the coffee shop; like, who cares?

Question: Well, we care, like when you’re listening to Enrique Iglesias at the gym.

S. Ramamurthy: After I said that, I just realized what a giant mistake that was because I shall never hear the end of that.

Question: And I sent it out to Twitterverse, so I’m sorry.

S. Ramamurthy: Of course you would. I would be disappointed if you didn’t, quite frankly. Because that’s a nice embarrassing bit of detail. But no, I wouldn’t count on seeing me on Twitter any time soon. But what I do do, if I have something that I, on the rare occasions when I do have something that I want tweetered, how do you say it?

Question: Tweeted.

S. Ramamurthy: Tweeted. On the rare occasion when I want something tweeted out I pop Wendi a text and she tweets it out for me.

Question: Okay, well, maybe you’ll change your mind in the future, but we’re loving you on the show.

S. Ramamurthy: Well, thank you very much and maybe I will change my mind. You never know; you can sometimes teach an old dog new tricks.

Question: Yes, I’m going to have a chat with Chris. (Gorham) I’m sure he can get you going.

S. Ramamurthy: Oh, he’s been working on me and Piper already, don’t you worry about that.

Make sure you tune in to see Sendhil and his fabulous cast mates on Covert Affairs, which airs on Tuesdays at 10/9 Central on USA Network.

2011 Interview – Assignment X

October 28th, 2011 | Posted by Jenn in Interviews | Press - (0 Comments)


Author: Abbie Bernstein

On USA’s COVERT AFFAIRS, now in its second season Tuesdays at 10 PM, Piper Perabo stars as Annie Walker, a relatively new CIA operative. One of her coworkers is more experienced espionage worker Jai Wilcox, played by Sendhil Ramamuthy.

The Chicago native was already part of the NBC/Universal family due to his four years as Dr. Mohinder Suresh on HEROES, where his character was dealing with a lot of daddy issues even before he started to get scaly and super-strong. COVERT AFFAIRS allows Ramamurthy to do a number of things that HEROES did not – for starters, he gets to speak with his normal American accent this time around.

ASSIGNMENT X: As HEROES was wrapping up, did NBC ever say to you in the process, “We want to keep you in the family”?

SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY: Yeah. That’s how this came about. Even though I was still under contract, I was allowed to come and do [COVERT AFFAIRS] , and that was all because of NBC. They were really, really supportive – [USA president] Bonnie Hammer, Jeff Wachtel over at USA and then Angela Bromstad, who was the head of [NBC at that time], were really supportive about me making that transition to go onto USA and to do this show. They were really excited for me to do it. It meant a lot. It really is kind of like a family. You hear that word and you’re like, “Yeah, whatever, they’re talking the talk,” but it really wasn’t like that. They were incredibly supportive and really cared about my career. I’m really grateful for it.

AX: Tell us about your COVERT AFFAIRS character Jai Wilcox.

RAMAMURTHY: I’m playing a CIA operative. They’re not “agents,” they’re “operatives.” That’s the proper term. Jai Wilcox is CIA royalty. Actually, Jai’s father [played by Gregory Itzin, 24’s President Logan] used to head the CIA and he’s kind of living in his dad’s shadow a little bit, trying to break out. Familiar theme, huh?

AX: Besides playing characters who are working through past and present conflicts with their fathers, are there similarities for you between COVERT AFFAIRS and HEROES?

RAMAMURTHY: It’s just a really different part for me, it’s a totally different experience. [HEROES] was a huge, sprawling, giant show with twelve cast members and giant special effects, and this is more of a character-based thing. There are five series regulars on the entire thing. It’s very character-based and I get to do a slightly arrogant, cocky, smooth talker. My whole job as an actor is to come in every day to work and flirt with Piper. That’s what we do. I have a very flirtatious relationship with her.

AX: Is it a relief getting to talk in your own accent?

RAMAMURTHY: It’s nice, it’s a nice change. Actually, I did a movie called SHOR IN THE CITY – in that one, I’m American.

AX: Is that a Bollywood film?

RAMAMURTHY: It’s a Bollywood film in that it’s shot in Mumbai, but it’s like a psychological thriller/crime drama. It’s basically about an American who comes over to set up a non-profit organization in India and ends up gets muscled by the Mafia and they go after the girl that he falls in love with and in the end, they push him too far, and it [shows] the depths that he’s willing to go to push back and fight back.

AX: Would you say that’s your Charles Bronson role?

RAMAMURTHY: Maybe towards the end, but all the way through it, no. He’s just like a guy whose heart is in the right place and he gets pushed too far.

AX: Did you speak Hindi for that?

RAMAMURTHY: No. It’s actually kind of cool. There are three different storylines – two of them are in Hindi and mine’s in English.

AX: Back to COVERT AFFAIRS, did you get to do any research on CIA operatives before you started work on it?

RAMAMURTHY: No, because I actually came on after the pilot. They shot the pilot while I was still on HEROES. And then I think they decided to make some sort of change, and I came in on the second episode. We found out HEROES was canceled and I was shooting the third episode of this. Never unemployed – because I was still under contract. It was still an NBC show. It’s NBC and they said, “We’ll let you go to do this show, because it’s for us.” And I said, “Okay.” And we all knew that there was a chance that [HEROES] wouldn’t come back, so we were all covering our butts a little bit and it worked out.

AX: How did you feel about the way HEROES ended in terms of the storyline?

RAMAMURTHY: I think they needed more. We needed to tie up stories and unfortunately, we weren’t able to. I didn’t fully believe we weren’t coming back until literally, we got the call. I just always thought that we would come back and it’s still kind of a little bit of a shock. That was tough, because that was a season finale – that wasn’t a series finale. And again, there are all sorts of issues that come into play. There are financial issues. I would love for there to be a movie to wrap it all up. Realistically, though, if you’re asking me, and this is not based on any sort of inside information at all, it’s just I can’t see how logistically that happens. A lot of us are off doing other things, and if it could work out, I would be totally up for it, if it could work out, I would love to do it, but I’m kind of dubious about how they could do it.

AX: On HEROES, it seemed like Mohinder went very dark there for awhile, wrapping people in cocoons and so on, and once he stopped being dark, there weren’t really repercussions for him. Did you ever think, “Shouldn’t there be a little more fallout from his actions?”

RAMAMURTHY: Yeah. I think we all did. That was one of those things. You do what you can with what you’re given. Because a lot of us were doing things that we were like, “How are we doing this [without karmic payback]?” But in the end, it was still an amazing experience for me, and it opened up so many doors and it brought me to COVERT AFFAIRS. So I have nothing but good memories.

AX: You came to COVERT AFFAIRS after the rest of the cast was in place. Was it easy to fit in?

RAMAMURTHY: You know, surprisingly, it was. I came off such a great experience with HEROES. Our cast was so tight and I’m still in contact with all of them. That doesn’t happen a lot and I was not expecting it [on COVERT AFFAIRS, but] we get along like a house on fire, me and Piper and Chris [Gorham] particularly. We’re always working together, we do most of our stuff together and we just get along really well. We’re so happy to be there and we’re really invested in the work and we’re just enjoying ourselves tremendously. I love every second of it. It’s one of those things where you don’t have as much time, but there are these very intricate fight sequences that we’re doing. They brought in a Cirque du Soleil performer, and he trained me to do a whole parkour [free running] chase scene, where I’m running across shipping containers and bouncing off walls and doing shoulder rolls. It was awesome. I saw it all cut together and it’s great.

AX: Is parkour something you now want to try to do recreationally?

RAMAMURTHY: Parkour is something I want to do and that the insurance company will not allow me to do. I probably pushed it a little further than they wanted me to. Anything remotely dangerous they just don’t [allow]. It’s not worth it – I’m not looking to get hurt. In the end [if an actor is injured], that will stop production. You want to do as safe, but you want to add as much authenticity as possible. It’s very obvious when they’re shooting a guy from behind, it’s not you, it’s your stunt double.

AX: What would you most like audiences to get out of COVERT AFFAIRS?

RAMAMURTHY: Well, you know, it’s USA. It’s all about the characters. And as much as we do these action sequences that are fun to do, I love my character and I love the other characters that I’m working with and I’d love [viewers] to go away being invested in the story, just being invested in these people’s lives, and so far, it seems like they are. The feedback has been really, really great. Just tune in. It’s pretty cool.