Billa 2 fame Sudhanshu Pandey is one of the villains in director Shankar's upcoming magnum opus 2.0 starring Superstar Rajinikanth, Amy Jackson and Akshay Kumar. The film is expected to hit the screens worldwide for Deepavali this year. Sudhanshu opens up to The News Minute for a chat on his experience of working in the Tamil industry and 2.0 in particular.
How did you get this lucrative offer?
I got a call from the production house through an agent in Mumbai. Whatever I get now is thanks to Billa 2 which I did with Ajith. Though the film wasn't a huge hit, it gave me exposure and people got to know who I am. I can't reveal much about the character in 2.0 as things are closely guarded in Tamil cinema, unlike Bollywood. Shankar sir's Robot is a big brand and he wouldn't want people to know about stuff beforehand. It should surprise and thrill viewers when they come to theaters.
But yes, I play a villain in 2.0 and of course, you needn't think twice when it's a Rajini film that you are a part of. It's a blessing to act with him. And Akshay Kumar is responsible for my film career as he got me my first film. He's like a brother.
What's it like to shoot for a Hindi - Tamil bilingual like 2.0?
An actor is an actor irrespective of the language. You have to emote and connect with the audience; that's the important thing. They should feel your emotion! I don't see it as a different industry, just because of the language.
Have you followed director Shankar's work? How is he on sets?
I have seen Robot of course and also his film with Anil Kapoor (Nayak). He is a director of a different level and scale altogether. His stories touch upon social issues always, and he makes films about humanity and its existence. That there is a solid motive behind his films, and it's not just about technical gimmicks, is a positive aspect of him.
He's very peaceful on sets, speaks very little and is very patient. He stood for about 6 hours during my look test. He is very precise and specific with what he wants. One definitely needs to be a perfectionist to make that level of films.
You are also a part of another Tamil film titled Indrajith, starring Gautham Karthik. The teaser hinted at an Indiana Jones kind of space?
It is unfair to make comparisons with such cult films. The director Kalaprabhu has made Indrajith with such passion, honesty and single-minded focus over the past 3 years. I don't know how the film will turn out but there must be something good about the film, which the audience may connect with.
Any fond memories with Thala Ajith and the Billa 2 crew ?
Of course, a lot of fond memories. Ajith is a fantastic man and a very big star, which I realised only when I was in Chennai. We became good friends and when he came to Mumbai, we dined together. He is very passionate about formula racing and the stunts that he does. I had some funny moments with him, while trying to understand the language, during the making of the film. We belong to the same age group and share good camaraderie.
And, I dubbed on my own for Billa 2 in 6 hours without even knowing the language. They said that I was almost 70% there with my diction.
There is a general consensus that models can't act. Were you also subjected to such judgement?
I spent about 3 to 4 years as a model. But I started acting at a very early age, alongside big names. I had a good training ground as an actor and I feel I always had it in me. And with time and maturity, things get better. Acting is an infinite art; there is always something to learn and one can never become complete.
Any closing thoughts on the Southern film industry?
I feel at home here, thanks to the warm and welcoming people. They are humble, honest and loyal, and I felt an instant love for the industry. It is a big market and I constantly keep a tab on the updates, as I want to do more stuff here and in Telugu.