Exceptionally talented, multi-dimensional and multi-faceted – Kichha Sudeep is all that and much more. He’s got an infectious vibe, volumes of energy and it is evident that he wants to go out there, break the mould and change the tide of the celluloid. Whie many are unnerved in his presence, he is graceful enough to make one comfortable if they want to talk to him. His polite and accommodating nature is rarely spoken about. On the contrary, he is referred to as the ‘Angry Young Man’ on the block and believes that there is nothing unacceptable about his behaviour. He seems to live in a world where his larger than life behaviour is perfectly normal. Shwetha Shivkamal enjoys the encounter with the versatile powerhouse performer Kichha Sudeep
How has the journey been so far?
I’m really happy with the way things have turned out for me. When I glance at my career graph, it gives me immense pleasure. The film industry does not receive everybody who wants to get into it and audiences don’t accept someone as an actor that easily. You don’t choose a career in this industry; it’s the films that make you a star or a performer and I am fortunate that films chose me.
What drew you to films?
It all started during my school days. I was part of my school band. Though I never got a chance to sing, I used to play the guitar and drums. And during my college days, I was associated with theatre. When I got into Engineering, I penned scripts for Mad-ads and directed skits. Basically stage has always been very close to me. This attracted me towards films. In addition to this, as my father was also associated to film industry, I’ve grown up seeing Ambareesh, Lakshmi, Shankar Nag and many such veteran actors not only onscreen but also right in front of me, when they came home. So for me entering the tinsel town was not surprising at all.
You have always chosen a different role or movie for a debut in other languages.
I didn’t have options. Choosing is when you have options. There was only one meal kept in front of me and I thought ‘What do I have to lose anyway?’ This prompted me to take on those roles.
I really appreciate people, who are decision makers. How good your decision is, will be known only after the decision is made or executed. Good, wrong, right; I don’t think anybody can predict the end result. Take a decision and go ahead boldly with it. I took a decision and that proved to be good for me. Phoonk got me Rann which got me Eega. It’s been a chain. The characters I played weren’t chosen for me, I was chosen for the characters that were written. It was something new to me and the role was good. I knew people would accept it because they accepted it in Vaali and that gave me confidence. More than anything, the experience of working with people like RGV and Rajamouli is a learning experience. Also, I had nothing to lose. I have been quite popular in the Kannada industry for the past 16 years as a lead actor. If my character was received well there, it was good, if not who cares! I belong here and I would anyways continue doing good movies.
How was the experience in other film industries?
Nobody welcomes any contemporary. It’s probably pretence that we feel welcomed. We should understand that only a technician is welcomed and they make us happen. An actor entering into another language must remember that there are already people thriving and struggling there. Then why would any other contemporary be welcomed. Bollywood is a huge ocean and people are still trying to find a boat. A warm welcome is not to be expected. If you are provided with an opportunity, go do your work, sweat it out and then get back to where you belong ultimately. To me it’s just a passing phase and not cloud nine. If I’m called to do other language films, then it’s for a purpose and I’m going to deliver what is needed. It’s a pleasure to be working in a place where you are wanted and importance and respect are given, not because you are easily available.
Do controversies still bother you?
I have basically stopped reacting to such things. It’s been more than 15 years that I am in the film industry and I have crossed that stage in my life. I’ve seen many up’s and down’s. People may talk anything and everything about you, but if that really matters to you or if you want to take those comments seriously is up to you. I’ve always lived up to my commitments and have done everything possible within my limits. After a certain period of time I did realize that one cannot keep everyone happy. If there is good being spoken about you, then there is bad as well. In the end I will have to accept what is good for me.
How was the Bigg Boss experience?
As an actor I’ve played various characters. The only character I hadn’t played was being myself. None were close to my true nature. People never got to know me. I’m happy about Bigg Boss Kannada because I got to play myself and it was a platform for me to portray what I am and be the way I am.
How does fame affect you?
If I say these things don’t excite me, I’d be wrong. It feels good to be successful and popular. It’s always nice to have name, fame and people around you. But at the same time when you make it big, there are pitfalls. The fame doesn’t last forever. Success or fame don’t change anything except that you will have to work harder. It’s the joy of being in this business that makes me work hard. As long as things are good, people will be around. You can’t get used to thinking that people will always treat you the way they did when you were at the top. It’s only friends and family who will treat you the same always, irrespective of what you are.
Also, success happens and when it happens, you must enjoy the process because you never know when it will go away. The grave is filled with achievers. Nobody escapes from it anyway, so why create that hype around you? Actors are comparable to the priorities of the audience. Generations change and so do their priorities. If today is your time, enjoy it, but don’t get carried away. Be attached to your stardom, but don’t be obsessed with it.
What do you think has contributed towards the change in the present day Indian cinema?
Audiences have changed their tastes towards cinema. They are open to many things now, or rather, they are exposed to many new things. We, as film makers are trying to live up to their expectations.
If your movie is a hit, then it means that you have come up with a right script at the right time for the right people. Sometimes your content may be great, but it may not receive commercial success and that’s simply because the viewers are expecting some other genre at the time. After being in the industry for a long time and having a market of your own, there may be a certain percentage of safety in connection to the investment but there’s no assurance. Film makers need to rise up to the need of the hour and match the changing interests of the market, which will help them survive. This is an ongoing process.
Which genre interests you?
Fundamentally it is cinema that interests me. Anything and everything connected to cinema holds my interest. As long as it is exciting and makes sense, I will be ready to work on any kind of genre. You would act anyways irrespective of the kind of movie; the difference is how well you perform in every role you essay.
Tell us something about the making of Maanikya.
The subject has not been changed, but the treatment given to the subject has changed. We have our own actors and I have given a different treatment to the characterization of everyone. The locations and properties used also differ.
Every actor has got his/her own definition. We cannot have the same kind of shots but if you’re asking about emotions, yes! Emotions are the same across the globe. My ability lies in how well I make my actors work on their roles. As a director it is my responsibility to get better outputs from my actors. One will definitely find a visual difference in this movie.
Sudeep – a singer who can act or an actor who can sing?
I’m an engineer who can act and do a little bit of singing. By profession I’m an engineer. Acting just happened. I consider myself more as a film-maker who can act as well. I don’t enjoy acting as much as I love to make films. Production or direction has always been my first love. Tomorrow even if I get a chance to work with Steven Spielberg as an actor, my passion towards film-making and direction will never take a back seat. The whole process of film-making makes me more enthusiastic. Being a father of a child has more value than just being a caretaker. Isn’t it?
Having acted in other language films as well, did you get to learn something new?
We all make the same thing called cinema. You can learn from anybody and anything as long as you want to learn and it is a never ending process. Every industry has its own pros and cons. I am not saying this on a competitive basis, but with due respect to every other language. Of course when you work with certain people, you will definitely get to learn new things. It’s only when you work with such people closely you will get to understand why they are so successful. Their homework, clarity about everything they do, their ability to increase team effort, pre-production work, everything counts. We can learn such things from certain individuals, but as an industry I think we all operate the same.
How was it to work with?
Amitabh Bachchan: He is a legend. I was the chosen one to work with him and I consider myself very lucky to have worked with him.
RGV: He has created a genre of his own. He is in a position where he can make films for himself. I’ve always said this about RGV and will repeat the same today. RGV is a child and cinema is a toy for him. He loves to experiment with films and any one of his hit movies can be talked about for years.
Rajamouli: His perfection, clarity and Hollywood quality film-making is something to be admired. He is becoming bigger and bigger with every film. By bigger, I mean is his span of cinema is increasing. His next film Bahubali is pushing all boundaries.
Best part of being an actor:
Recognition and the feeling of being wanted
Worst part of being an actor: It kills your innocence
Have you quit smoking? I quit everyday
Fashion: Not me
One thing you’re scared of: My temper
One who can control you: Myself