Suraj Sharma was born and brought up in New Delhi, India. His father Gokul Churai is a software engineer and his mother Shailaja is an economist. He attended Sardar Patel Vidyalaya school. He has a younger brother Sriharsh Sharma,who has also acted in two films and a younger sister, Dhruvatara Sharma. With no prior acting experiences, he auditioned along with his brother for the role of Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi). Sharma went through several rounds of auditions before winning the title role. Director Ang Lee has stated that he selected Sharma primarily based on his expressive eyes and innocent appearance. According to him, Sharma had not only the emotion, but also the "look" of Pi. His "medium complexion" and "average build" were deemed perfect for the role. The movie has received critical acclaim, with the film winning 4 Academy Awards, and positive reviews for Sharma's performance, for which he was nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award.