In a Happy Space
You cannot miss him if you are moving around in Bangalore. He is everywhere, whether looking at your advertisement hoardings, telling you to drive safely, in film posters and also hosting television shows. Well no prizes for guessing that I am taking of talented and versatile actor Sudeep. In spite of his hectic work schedules he is a thorough gentleman and actually called me back to do this interview when I messaged him asking for his availability.
A Long Journey
Debuting in 1997, Sudeep went on to deliver several stellar performances in movies like Sparsha, Huchcha (which earned him the moniker Kiccha), Swathi Muthu, Mussanjemaatu, Eega, Maanikya, Ranna, Kotigobba 2 and many more. Incidentally, he is completing two decades in the industry soon and naturally I ask him how he looks back at his journey. “All kinds of mixed emotions prevail when I look back at my journey. When I set out on this path the initial thoughts were to do good films and I would wonder if people would accept me. After that, came a phase of wanting to do a little more and perhaps overtake someone else and go ahead. I have also seen a phase when nothing went right and then I found the driving power to sustain and I have learnt that basically you have to achieve yourself. This is not a sport where there is a competitor whom you have to better to win. In fact I think acting is a rare profession where you win if you are good and lose when you make a mistake so it is all in your hands. For me at the end of the day cinema matters and it is a long term relationship between us.”
His latest outing at the box office, Mukunda Murari has him playing God and he is sharing screen space with another superstar Upendra. “When I was approached for the role it was nothing more than a character for me and the heaviness of the role hit me hard when I started the shoot. But it was a matter of time within which I realised that the key to perform this role was to stay calm. I asked myself a simple question, ‘why would God be expressive?’ Since he knows everything even before one would ask, I felt that the best way to emote would be not to show any expression.” Sudeep admits that things fell into place once he started being himself and remaining calm meant that the role became easy to do. Likewise he says that working with Upendra was great. “Upendra has started a decade before me and now he is also free from clichés and is enjoying acting. I saw a non ambitious person in him and when two people are working in their own space it becomes enjoyable.”
After making a successful movie like Manikya where he donned the director’s hat with aplomb, I ask him when he would take on the mantle again. “This is one thing that is a conflict within myself too because as a director it is a different personality and one that takes a lot of time away. It is not just that I want to be an actor but today I have so many people who are writing scripts for me and waiting with so much awe in their eyes to work with me that I feel that it is not right for me to cut off from them to work on my directorial. Today I am finding happiness being part of someone else’s scripts but having said that I will direct again too in a while.” While Sudeep admits direction excites him, he would rather be part of the other person’s dream.
Sudeep has also lent his voice to several songs starting way back in 2001 when he lent his vocals to the song “O Sona O Sona” and “Vasantha Maasadalli” from Vaalee and has been singing regularly. He also sang the numbers “Damaru Bole” and “Deola Deola” from Mandya to Mumbai. He says that music must be enjoyed. “I sing because I enjoy music and I think we are all imperfect which makes us appealing. I enjoy the little bit of singing as I think people call me as I am not perfect. The perfect people are only spending time correcting other’s imperfections.”
As the face of Big Boss Kannada that he has hosted right from inception to the current season on air he says that the stage is something else. “There are times when I only shoot for Big Boss and there are times when I have no time and still come back on weekends to shoot for it on weekends. So sometimes it is a relief and sometimes it is like a container on my shoulder. But once I am on that stage it is something else as the team is looking up to me to host it and I know that for the contestants I am their only source of entertainment and they are waiting for me. That drives me and I go there to ensure they are okay for the next week.” When I tell him that a lot of people watch Big Boss because of him he is quick to say, “yes likewise with films too. People are coming in large numbers to watch me and that is a responsibility. Will that add to the pressure but no complaints from me as to be successful you should handle pressure so that you are able to justify your work.” He admits that he handles all his work with the same responsibilities.
Ads & More
Again being brand ambassador for a plethora of brands he says has happened organically. “As long as the products are not something harmful to the public, I am happy to be part of people’s lives. It is a pleasure to be part of people’s lives who really want me to be part of their journey. Earlier I had this phobia that a product I endorse may not sell. However with time I decided to make a start and I know there are people to buy the products. Again with being part of the Bangalore Traffic Police’s safe driving campaign, I was glad that people were reading their message because of my picture in it. And his is something I do unconditionally as it gives me a sense of fulfilment in giving something back.” Sudeep is also active on social media which he uses to connect with his fans as well as fans of other stars as well. “I am only on Twitter as I am able to connect with people and again it is not just for my films but if I tweet support to a film of an upcoming actor and promote their film, it makes them and me happy.”
Sudeep admits that seeing people as they are independent of imperfections is the way he sees things now. So does he have a dream role? “I would say that the best thing of being in the film industry is that we are able to live our dream and after we go to sleep there is no other dream left. We are fabricating so much as actors and doing something new all the time. As an actor you cannot have a particular character to dream of and rather each day on the sets it is important to so something new.” He is currently working on Hebbuli that is likely to have a December release and is also ready with his next. His mantra is simple and he works on one movie at a time and keeps the next one ready and he knows that this works for him. With his focus and dedication, here is an actor that has weathered many a storm in his personal and professional life to emerge stronger than before and has bettered what he loves doing – entertaining the masses.
This story appeared in Deccan herald’s Sunday Herald here.