Suraj Sharma, the 19-year-old actor who stars in Ang Lee's Oscar tipped movie Life Of Pi, has narrowly avoided expulsion from Delhi University's St Stephen's College for missing more than half his first term lectures to promote the 3-D movie. The school - known as 'India's Cambridge University' - eventually let Sharma retain his place after he crammed in eight last minute essays.
Sharma's casting in Life of Pi came after he accompanied his brother to an audition, for moral support. A producer encouraged him to try-out too, and the rest, as they say, is history. His casting has generated a real buzz in India, with many comparing Life of Pi to Danny Boyle's Mumbai-set Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire. In the film he plays Pi Patel, the young son of Indian zoo owners, who is trusted with moving a cargo full of animals across the sea to Canada. When the ship sinks he finds himself alone with a Bengal tiger on a life-boat. Sharma was picked from 3,000 applications for the role, with director Ang Lee saying he had, "the innocence to capture our attention, the depth of character to break our hearts, and the physicality needed to embody Pi on his journey." However, his college principal Valson Thampu told the UK's Daily Telegraph the actor had made less than half of the minimum 66 per cent of lectures and tutorials students must attend to remain at the college. The deadline for work passed on Tuesday (Sharma had submitted nothing), though Thampu made an exception, saying, "He had not cleared the requirement until 10 minutes ago. He submitted eight essays and I'm delighted. I've accepted them altogether, which is not usual."
Let that be a lesson to you all, kids. Forget your school work, try become a Hollywood star, hand in all your work at the same time, if you really have to.