Sunil Malhotra is not your typical gamer. Sure, he loves to play video games. He even owns an Xbox. Yet, unlike your everyday gamer, there are certain games in which Mr. Malhotra will hear a familiar voice: his own. Lending his Golden Vocals to popular titles such as Final Fantasy VIII-2, Driver: San Francisco, Killzone 3, Fallout: New Vegas, X-Men: Destiny, and Halo: Reach, Mr. Malhotra has also made a name for himself as an actor. Indeed, the award-winning voiceover star landed roles in Happy Feet 2, The West Wing, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Fair Game, House M.D., and Cold Case, among others.
Also a connoisseur of the stage, Mr. Malhotra recently starred in A Widow of No Importance at Los Angeles’ East-West Players. The Man with the Golden Vocals spoke to Buzzine Bollywood about his already storied career. At the ripe age of 36, there is plenty more of Mr. Malhotra to come. Until then, let us spend a few moments getting to know the man that already is.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Sunil Malhotra, and I’m from Chicago. More specifically just north of the city from a town called Skokie. It means “fire” in a Native American language (the other Indian). Kevin Spacey, neo-Nazis, and The Blues Brothers all know the place well. Two out of three ain’t bad…
Where are you right now?
At my computer in my home office in always sunny Los Angeles.
If your mom were to draft up a biodata about you, what would be the three most impressive entries?
She would probably say that I’m an educated young man with a good blend of East-West values, and a fair and lovely complexion, of course!
Actually, my mom would never write up a biodata. She is the antithesis of all things biodata/arranged marriage. But if she had to pick three things, she’d probably say I was a good son, a good brother, and a good husband.
Like I said, two out of three ain’t bad…
If someone were to say you had a sexy voice, how would you respond?
The first minute is one dollar. Every minute after is three.
What three words best describe your style of voice?
Friendly. Young. Relatable. (I just asked my agent.)
What one word best sums up your career as a vocal artist?
What are you most proud of in your professional life?
I feel incredibly lucky just to be able to make a living as an actor. It’s always an adventure, and along the way so far, I’ve met some of my closest friends, mentors, stars, and villains. There are certainly projects that I hold with a special affection, but it’s more than just that. This career is a way of life. It keeps you honest at a very deep level, and I guess the thing that makes me feel proud about my professional life is that I’ve been able to grow so much as a human being because of it.
Which actor has had the most influence on your career?
One actor?! That’s just impossible! I will say, though, that as a young child, the two actors that captured my imagination fully and completely were Amitabh Bachchan and Harrison Ford. More than influencing my career, they made me just want to live in (and at) the movies. Of course, there’ve been many others that I continue to draw inspiration from, but I think it started with those two guys.
What is your favorite game of all time?
Ha! Okay, so I’m going a little old-school here, but my favorite game of all time is N64’s Golden Eye. Love it!
Have you ever played any of the games you've voiced? If so, which one is your favorite?
Halo: Reach is SO MUCH FUN! I play Jun, aka Noble Three, who is the sniper on the team. I really like this game, and not just because it feeds all my narcissistic tendencies (did I mention I was an actor?). It’s just so damn cool! Also, my character is a million times more of a bad-ass than me, so it’s nice to live vicariously through him.
XBox, PlayStation, or Wii U?
Xbox 360! Admittedly, I don’t have the others. But I’m thinking about getting a Wii. But then I wouldn’t really get anything done for months.
Where are you most comfortable: Doing a voiceover in the sound room or acting in front of the camera in a sound stage?
I know you want me to pick one, but they’re both a lot of fun, and for very different reasons. Doing voiceovers in the booth -- and I’m speaking specifically of animation -- you can just let go. Take your id out for a walk! Also, I’ve gotten to play characters that I would never portray on camera because my race, physicality, and species designation would prohibit me from doing so. On that level, it’s awesome. Working on camera (and on stage in the theater) is simply fantastic because I get to really inhabit whoever I am that day (week, or month).
If I’m lucky with the material I get, I have the opportunity to fully explore the human condition in a way that’s simply sublime. Either way, I get to tell a story, and for me, well, that’s the whole reason I got in the business in the first place.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Continuing to tell stories in new and exciting ways. Growing as an artist, a citizen, and a man. And, of course, giving you another exclusive interview!
What is your motto?
I’m looking at the posters in my office, and I think the mottos they’ve lent me have done me well:
“It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”
“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”
Another one that’s on my desk: “It’s not the load that breaks you. It’s the way you carry it.”
These aren’t the only words to live by, but damn, it feels good to have them around me.
Where online can fans find out more about you?
My Website! Come visit www.SunilMalhotra.com. Click around, watch some videos, listen to some voices, drop me a line.