I am absolutely delighted to have actor Ved Sapru as part of The Mighty Dragon interview collection. His first feature film, India Sweets and Spices, has just been released in theatres. In addition to its theatrical release, it’s streaming on-demand 12/7 on Apple, Amazon, and most major rental platforms.
When college freshman Alia returns home for the summer, she discovers secrets and lies in her parents’ past that make her question everything she thought she knew about her family.India Sweets and Spices – IMDb
How did you get into Acting?
I grew up with a family that’s always championed the importance of the arts. I have these precious memories of listening to all the music that captivated my parents, as my brother and I sat in the back seats of our car, just absorbing all the conversations and stories that were so aptly scored by the music. My grandfather on my mother’s side is and has been a theater practitioner and actor for all of my upbringing. With the earliest memories I have of him being on stage or on screen, it was something I was in awe of from a very early age.
I can’t remember myself ever making that conscious decision to become an actor, from school plays to after-school theatre clubs, one thing seems to have flowed into another, and I found myself in Drama school at eighteen. I think the moment I fully understood the weight of the “decision” I made to become an actor was during my early days of training at East15 Acting School. To be surrounded by so many driven and deeply disciplined people, all striving to find their craft, really cemented the belief and love I have for this art form. I am so indebted to all the teachers and mentors I have had over the years, for helping me discover this craft for myself.
What’s been your favourite character so far, and why?
I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of such rich storytelling in my career and training so far. From plays like The Lower Depths, to on-screen work like in India Sweets And Spices, and the character I play in Embankment, they have all been such enriching experiences, where the characters have come from a place of truth within a part or version of myself. This in itself is what seems to draw me to these characters, to be able to look within yourself and process one’s own human experience in relation to that of a character, it really is a gift that keeps giving.
I would say playing Alyoshka in the Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky, in 2017 was one of the most important moments for me as an actor. My director at the time, Helena Kaut-Howson, is such a veteran in the game, and she allowed me the opportunity to fail, and in return to not be afraid to fail, which has today been a real pillar of support when I approach a character.
Can you tell me about your latest movie, INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES?
It’s such a wonderfully crafted story by Geeta Malik. The film is a coming-of-age story of Alia Kapur (Sophia Ali), and the events that lead her to uncover things about her family, her culture, and the community around her. It’s a fun and yet mischievous film, which is something Geeta executes so well in her work. I play Rahul Singh, a close friend of Alia’s, who goes through his own journey of resistance and reflection.
It was an incredible process bringing this story to the screen, and I am so grateful for the opportunity. And the incredible feedback and reviews we have had in our limited release so far are always great to see. It’s also so heartwarming to see all the support and love from the South Asian community for this film. It is truly an honour to be part of a project with a mostly all South Asian cast, something that I hold very close to my heart. India Sweets and Spices has been playing in select theatres across the U.S!
You will soon be working with Gary Oldman in EMBANKMENT, what attracts you to the roles you play?
I like to think that the parts that are meant for you will find you. It’s a bit in the air, but so far in my very short time as an actor, the parts I have played have come at a moment in my life where there is something to be learned or experienced for the bigger picture. EMBANKMENT is certainly one of those projects. Apart from the honour of working on a project with absolute idols of mine, like Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas, It was truly a master class in the industry for me.
To be able to watch some of the most talented and highly regarded professionals, from the actors to the crew members, to our director James Hawes, there is such a wealth of knowledge to be gained. I can’t speak too much about my character just yet, but I can say that it is very different from anything I have played so far. Embankment is set to release on Apple TV, so make sure to keep an eye out for this one!
I read you have appeared in London’s West End, is stage work something you would like to return to at some point?
Absolutely! It’s been such a difficult two years with the ongoing pandemic, for so many people.
With theaters and the people that make their livelihoods within this artform so greatly hindered with all the closures, it is truly a breath of fresh air to see the industry coming back to life here in the UK. The stage has always been a home to me, and the countless people that work so hard to keep it alive in the times we live in.
I can’t wait to be back in a rehearsal room one day, whenever that opportunity comes my way. In some ways, it’s the most tangible form of acting for me personally, where things are never the same, and the stakes are always high for every show. It’s an exciting and thrilling process that still keeps me coming back for more.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I look forward to being able to continue to be a part of powerful storytelling. That can shape and continue cultural conversations that must be had. In the information age that we live in today, sometimes the idea of content can be taken for granted, and things can get lost in the nether quite quickly.
So I hope to be a part of projects that force me to look within before placing my judgment on the world around me. It’s always been a journey of learning and discovery, mixed with so many failures, that I have grown immensely from. So I hope I can continue this trajectory of growth, and continue to work with such talented individuals, to tell stories of the voices that need to be amplified.
Best of luck to Ved Sapru as he continues to shine on stage and screen. Thanks to Kelly at Tiffan Management for coordinating.
Instagram: @vedsapru @indiasweetsandspicesmovie
Bleecker Street announcement – India Sweets and Spices