Shekhar Suman is an Indian actor, anchor, film producer, film director, and singer. He has appeared as a judge in many comedy shows like The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, Comedy Circus, and Comedy Superstar. He had a short stint in politics as a member of the Indian National Congress.
Shekhar Suman was born on Friday, 7 December 1962 (age 60 years; as of 2022) in Kadamkuan, Patna, Bihar. His zodiac sign is Sagittarius.
Growing up in a renowned Bihari family in Patna, he was the favourite child at home (being the only brother of three sisters). In childhood, he attended Jai Prakash Narayan’s charkha samiti, where he usually ended up sleeping after having snacks and sweets like laddu, gulab jamun, samosas, and rasgullas. Shekhar did his schooling at St. Xavier’s, Patna, and Vikas Vidyalaya, Ranchi. In his school days, he loved playing marbles and flying kites. While studying at Vikas Vidyalaya, Ranchi, Shekhar tried his hand at debate and theatre. He also got involved in NCC. He got so engaged in NCC that he desired to join the Indian Navy after growing up. After completing his schooling, Shekhar enrolled himself in Ramjas College, Delhi University, Delhi, to pursue a graduation in arts (with a specialization in History). In his college days, Shekhar desired to become an IAS officer. Soon after pursuing his graduation, Shekhar bagged a job at Shri Ram Centre as a repertory actor. After working there for a while, Shekhar had a brief stint with Oberoi. He again returned to Shri Ram Centre, where he earned Rs. 625 a month.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Colour: Dark Brown
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Shekhar Suman’s father, Phani Bhushan Prasad, was a noted surgeon and director-in-chief of the health services of the government of Bihar. Prasad was also a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, London. Bhushan passed away in 2010. Shekhar’s mother, Usha Prasad, died in 2021 due to kidney-related ailments. He has three sisters. Two of his younger sisters’ names are Kshamata and Namrata.
Wife & Children
On 4 May 1983, Shekhar Suman got married to his girlfriend, Alka Kapur. Alka owns a fashion label Alkaline. Together, they have a son named Adhyayan Suman, who is an actor. The couple had one more son named Aayush Suman, who passed away in 1994 due to a heart-related disease called myco-cardiac-fibroelastosis. Both Shekhar and Alka, went through depression for several years after Aayush’s demise. In an interview, while talking about the sad time, Shekhar said,
When Ayush left us we felt betrayed and there were days when you didn’t want to live. But you realize that you have to live for the family. Such an incident brings a family closer. You discover emotions and new layers of relations that you never experienced before.”
During his college days, Shekhar Suman met Alka Kapur, who was a student of IP College, through a common friend. They initially became friends and then fell in love with each other. While Shekhar was charmed by Alka’s looks, it was Shekhar’s sense of humour that attracted Alka. In an interview, while sharing his love story, Shekhar said,
It was love at first sight, so naturally the attraction was physical. She was the most beautiful girl I had laid my eyes upon, she possessed all the qualities that epitomizes a typical Indian woman.”
From the moment I saw him, I knew this was the man that I wanted to spend my life with. His good looks and his sense of humour just left me awestruck.”
After he met Alka, for Shekhar college meant Alka. In an interview, while talking about his everyday routine during college days, Shekhar said,
Our days were spent in hotel lobbies until we discovered the airport, where for a Re 1 ticket, we stayed as long as we pleased! We travelled on my motorbike and I would go all the way to Faridabad to drop her home.”
They dated each other for a while and soon disclosed their relationship to their parents. Shekhar’s parents were happy about their relationship and supported the two. However, Alka’s parents were a little concerned initially. In an interview, while talking about it, Alka said,
My parents were concerned at first but had no doubts when they met Shekhar personally. He came from a well-educated and respected family.”
Apparently, Shekhar was in a relationship with the Bollywood actress Simple Kapadia in 1980’s.
Reportedly, he also dated Supriya Pathak for a while.
Shekhar Suman made his Hindi film debut with the film Utsav in 1984. Starred opposite Rekha in the film, Shekhar played the role of Charudutt in it.
Subsequently, he appeared in the Hindi films Anubhav (1986), Sansar (1987), Tere Bina Kya Jeena (1989), Ranbhoomi (1991), and Chor Machaaye Shor (2002). None of his films performed well at the box office.
He also signed a few films like Yeh Kaisa Insaaf, Neeli Aankhen, Shudra, and Prem Mandir, which got shelved later. In 2006, he produced the Hindi film Moonlight: Unfortunately a Love Story. In 2014, he made his directorial debut with the Hindi film Heartless in which he played the role of Dr Sameer Saxena. Starring his younger son Adhyayan Suman in the lead role, the film was a tribute to his elder son Aayush Suman, who passed away at a young age due to a heart ailment. Although the film failed at the box office, it was praised critically.
Shekhar made his television debut in 1993 with the TV serial Dekh Bhai Dekh in which he played the role of Sameer Diwan. The show aired on DD Metro.
Subsequently, he appeared in many TV serials including Ek Raja Ek Rani (1996; aired on DD Metro), Dam Dama Dam (1998; aired on Zee TV), Vilayati Babu (1998; aired on Doordarshan), Hera Pheri (1999; aired on Star Plus), and Saat Pheron Ki Hera Pherie (2018; SAB TV).
Suman has appeared as a judge in many stand-up comedy shows like The Great Indian Laughter Challenge (2005; aired on Star One), Comedy Circus – Kaante Ki Takkar (2008; aired on Sony Entertainment Television), Laugh India Laugh (2012; aired on Life OK), Comedy Superstar (2015; aired on Sony SAB), and India’s Laughter Champion (2022; aired on Sony Entertainment Television).
In 1997, Shekhar hosted a late-night talk show Movers & Shakers. Aired on Sony Entertainment Television, the show was initially planned to broadcast once a week, but looking at the popularity of the show the makers decided to change it to a five-nights-a-week format. Featuring Suman’s interviews with celebrity guests and in-between comedy performances, the show went on to become a cult show for which Suman signed Rs. 35 crore contract with the channel for three years. The show featured celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan, Zakir Hussain, Allah Rakha, Yashwant Sinha, Kiran Bedi and Vilasrao Deshmukh.
He has also hosted reality TV shows like Made in India (2000), Neelam Ghar (2002), He Man (2004), and Poll Khol (2004).
Shekhar appeared as a participant in the reality TV show Raaz Pichhle Janam Ka in December 2009. Based on past life regression, the show aired on NDTV Imagine.
In 2010, he participated in season 4 of the dance reality TV show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa. The show aired on Sony Entertainment Television.
In 2007, he made his playback singing debut with the music album Kuch Khwaab Aise. Composed by Aadesh Shrivastava and lyrics by Shyam Raj, the album is a collection of eight love ballads. In the same year, he also lent his voice to the music album Rubaroo.
In 2009, Shekhar Suman began his political career by joining the Indian National Congress (INC). In the same year, he contested Lok Sabha elections from the Patna Sahib constituency on a Congress ticket and lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Shatrughan Sinha.
In 2012, he resigned from Congress. In an interview, while talking about it, Shekhar said,
I have already resigned from the primary membership of Congress because of my preoccupation in Bollywood. I don’t think I have time … I cannot engage in party works and thus I decided to quit.”
‘Heartless’ Music Controversy
Shekhar Suman made his directorial debut with the Hindi film ‘Heartless’ in 2014. Apparently, the singers of the film Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, Nikhil D’Souza, and Neeti Mohan refused to sign the contract with the music label T-series claiming that it deprives them of their rightful royalty. Since the music of the film could not be released without signing the contracts, T-series asked Shekhar to get the songs re-dubbed. Annoyed with the singers for declining to sign the contract, in an interview, Shekhar Suman said,
Why should the producer be penalised? Nothing of this sort was conveyed to me when they had recorded the songs a year back. Sonu and Sunidhi sang for free a year back and now suddenly they don’t want to sign the contract with the music company because of the issue of royalty. If you have not taken any money then why ask for royalty?”
Sued for Provoking Religious Sentiments
In 2015, a case was registered against Shekhar Suman in Narwana Sadar police station for provoking religious sentiments with his remarks on Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh during a live programme in Haryana. The complaint was registered by Satish Kumar, a resident of Khararwal village, Narwana.
Accused of using Sushant Rajput’s Death for Political Gain
In 2020, after the tragic death (alleged murder) of the Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Shekhar Suman and many other celebrities became a part of a social media campaign to seek justice for him. Suman also met the Indian politician Tejashwi Yadav in that connection. This did not go well with a few netizens, who accused Shekhar of using the actor’s death to pursue politics in Bihar. Shekhar took to Twitter to slam his haters for allegedly accusing him of using the Sushant’s death for his political advantage. He wrote,
When I met Tejashwi Yadav in connection with Sushant in Patna, a lot of ppl accused me of having political ambitions.The Bihar elections have come n gone and I cldnt care a fig about it. Wd these creeps who accused me now come forward and say sorry to me.”
He further tweeted,
If you fight for a problem you are doing it for publicity, if you don’t you are a self-centred, coward and a selfish guy. One has to think a million times before taking a stand. There ain’t always a motive behind what you do. Life’s biggest asset is not money or fame or power or position but inner happiness, contentment and satisfaction.”
Adhyayan’s Alleged Suicide Controversy
In 2021, a news channel falsely reported that Shekhar’s son Adhyayan had died by suicide. Later, Shekhar Suman shared a video clip about his son’s alleged suicide on Twitter and wrote that his family was ‘devastated’ after hearing the news as Adhyayan was in Delhi and unreachable when the news surfaced. Calling the incident ‘unpardonably irresponsible,’ Suman in a series of tweets that he would sue the channel for broadcasting fake news. He wrote,
While I’m taking legal action against them and suing them for such a reprehensible act. The media ought to be more responsible and not jeopardize ppl’s lives and destroy them for their own vested interest.”
Denying accepting an apology from a regular journalist of some news channel, Shekhar wrote,
The bosses shld have some shame and own up to their faux-pas which is deplorable.Imagine if they had done the same to any of the political big-wigs.”
- Indian Television Academy Award for Best Anchor for his talk show Movers And Shakers (2001)
- Indian Telly Award for Best Anchor for his talk show Carry on Shekhar (2003)
- Bollywood Movie Award for Best Comedian for the film Chor Machaye Shor (2003)
In 2009, Shekhar owned a fleet of luxury cars including a BMW, Honda Accord, Camry, Toyota van, and Mercedes Benz.
- Film(s): Mughal-E-Azam (1960), Anand (1971), Love Story (1981)
- Travel Destination: United Kingdom
- Shekhar loves doing power yoga, exercising, listening to music, reading books, swimming, playing squash, and singing in his leisure time.
- He is a trained classical singer.
- In an interview, Shekhar revealed that cooking served as a stress-buster for him. He also shared that his culinary interest began by watching his mother and grandmother cook when he was a child.
- Shekhar, who was once a chain smoker quit smoking in 2007 on his birthday. Earlier, he had quit smoking in 2000 but again started it as a stress buster. In an interview, while talking about his smoking habit, he said,
I had read so much about the ill effects of smoking that I decided to quit, reading. I used to be a chain-smoker and now I have given it all up. Quitting smoking is the best thing that happened to me recently. Smoking blocked my throat and it was affecting my music. It killed my appetite and sapped my energies. I am a passionate singer and realised that I needed to get serious about quitting it. After I took to the gym seriously and had a make-over I started feeling better, but only externally. I knew that I needed to give up this habit. Every day I’d tell myself that this would be my last cigarette, but I’d end up smoking more. Now, after giving up on this, I feel much better. My colleagues tell me that my voice has become clearer, besides my face is glowing.”
- Shekhar Suman follows a non-vegetarian diet.
- A fitness enthusiast, Suman follows a strict workout regimen.
- Although he was associated with the Indian National Congress for a while, he supported Narendra Modi for the prime minister’s post during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. During an interview, when he was asked about the reason for supporting a BJP candidate despite him being a Congress person in the past, he said,
Sometimes even while going on the main road you need to take a bypass road to come back on the highway … My journey with Congress in the last general election was like travel on a bypass road.”
- During an interview, while sharing how he bagged his first film, Shekhar said,
One day Shammi aunty (the actress) came to the repertory looking for an actor to play a bit role opposite Rakhee in Pighalta Aasman. I volunteered. We moved to Mumbai, where we stayed with my elder sister and her husband. On the sets of Pighalta Aasman, I met Shashi Kapoor, who offered me the role of Charudutt in Utsav and asked me to meet Girish Karnad. When I went to Girish’s house, his wife said Girish your Charudutt is here. I was thrilled! I was to star opposite Rekha. When she came to check me out. I felt like a new bride. She said, Not bad, Not bad at all.”
- Shekhar Suman owns a Ducati bike, which was gifted to him by his son Adhyayan Suman.
- He has been featured on the covers of various magazines like Mayapuri and Tycoon Global (featured along with his son Adhyayan).
- Apparently, Shekhar Suman was the first Indian television artist to be paid Rs. 1 lakh for an episode.
- In 1984, Shekhar bagged the film ‘Utsav’ opposite Rekha. While Rekha was a prominent name in the industry by then, Shekhar had just begun his career. As the script of the film required some bold scenes to be performed by Rekha and Shekhar, he got very nervous. He rehearsed the scene the entire day with a pillow. Interestingly when the crew started shooting the scene in which Shekhar had to hold Rekha in his arms, Rekha started shouting, as she was pleased to see Shekhar act so professionally. At that time, the director of the film informed Rekha that Shekhar had been rehearsing the scene the entire day using a pillow.
- During an interview, Shekhar revealed that he got inclined towards acting in his school days. He often imitated actors like Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, and Dilip Kumar in front of his friends.