Article American

Learnt kindness, humility, trust from God Friended Me, says Suraj Sharma


The Indian actor speaks about his recently cancelled American television series and how it tried to create the idea of community amongst people.

Photo: Courtesy God Friended Me on Twitter

Sonal Pandya

Suraj Sharma, who broke into Hollywood with the Oscar-winning film Life Of Pi (2012), has made some interesting acting choices since. The actor has chosen diverse films like Million Dollar Arm (2014), Umrika (2015), The Hungry (2017) and Happy Death Day 2U (2019). He even made his Hindi film debut with Phillauri (2017), co-starring Anushka Sharma.

For the past two years, Sharma was a series regular on the CBS television show God Friended Me. This isn’t his first stint on television as he has previously appeared in an important arc on the Showtime series Homeland during its fourth season in 2014.

On God Friended Me, Sharma played Rakesh Singh, best friend of lead character Miles Finer (Brandon Micheal Hall), an atheist who is contacted by a Facebook account called God and roped into helping their lives for the better. Sharma’s Rakesh is a talented hacker and coder who helps try to track down the mysterious entity behind the online account.

Last month, however, the show was cancelled after two seasons by CBS. The family drama, which was filmed on location in New York City, was also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the showrunners to end their show a bit differently than they had imagined.

Asked on e-mail if God Friended Me could have continued if the novel coronavirus had not hit the city when it did, Sharma replied, “There isn’t any point in my speculation in this matter. All I would say is that we tried to create something that would spread kindness, trust and humility amongst people. It helped people relearn the idea of community and the desire to help without any returned favours.

“The world needs messages like that outside,” he continued. “Messages that strive to remind people to communicate with one another and show that as different as we might seem, we can always understand one another. Fear comes from the lack of knowledge or understanding of something. And the thought of an ‘unknown’ hanging over our heads twists us in all sorts of ways. It would be good to help people understand that they can in fact understand! We’ll have to find some other way to do that now.”

It was challenging to unlearn my view of the American life for The Illegal, says Suraj Sharma

Sharma added that he got to learn a lot from his experiences on the weekly show, especially values like “kindness, humility, [and] trust”. “The fact that assumptions are often incorrect and people don’t know another’s life, but have the ability through communication and empathy to understand another’s life,” he added. “I saw how one could help without asking for anything back. In the end we are all connected and our thoughts and emotions cumulatively is what makes the world we live in.”