What you see on ‘Bigg Boss Kannada’ is closest to the real me: Actor Sudeep interview

The sports-loving actor, who experiments with his look for ‘The Villain’, talks to TNM about acting, hosting, producing and ‘living in the now’.
What you see on ‘Bigg Boss Kannada’ is closest to the real me: Actor Sudeep interview
What you see on ‘Bigg Boss Kannada’ is closest to the real me: Actor Sudeep interview
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There’s just a couple of hours left before Sudeep boards a flight to Georgia for Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, but the actor sounds calm and collected. It’s a rare day off for the actor, whose production Ambi Ning Vayassaytho triggered nostalgia and received good response, and whose The Villain with Shiva Rajkumar, releasing this Friday, has his fans all excited. He’s also hosting the sixth edition of Bigg Boss Kannada, which airs from the end of October. Then, there’s the third edition of the hit franchise Kotigobba, and Pailwan, both of which are being filmed.

The sports-loving actor, who experiments with his look for The Villain, has an army of fans waiting to adopt his style sense. He’s active on social media, stepping in to offer a word of praise or encouragement but also gently rebuffing those who put others down. When we finally reach him after weeks of trying, he speaks from a deeply analytical zone, free of the trappings of stardom. Excerpts from the interview.

Let’s begin with Ambi… what about the original Tamil Pa Paandi impressed you enough to remake it in Kannada?

The film has certain values that I personally believe in and I wanted to make it. I decided to produce it only after wanting to be a part of it. This was not a business call, but a movie I definitely wanted to make. As for Pa Paandi, I watched it and liked it. I did not analyse why I liked it. The film is contemporary; it speaks about people and their growth, of how they emerge from a conservative mindset, and of boundaries no one wants to cross.

Today, we are not there for people when they are around, but we mourn their absence. Why don’t we cherish everything – from the smallest thing to the greatest of relationships? These days, I see everyone wanting to possess and disowning it once it is theirs. I prefer living in the now, and that’s what the film speaks about too.

What about the process of remaking this film was difficult?

More than the nostalgia that the film evoked, I wanted it to reach many people. I was not worried about the script, but about how we could conceive of the story for Kannada. Ambareesh Sir has been the surprise element; he was full of life through the shoot. He’s known me since I was born and it is a privilege to enjoy his presence in our lives. I always enjoy anything to do with him. My only focus was that he should be comfortable, considering his health. I did not want him to mess with that. On some days, he pushed himself hard, and during some others, he felt guilty that the shoot had been cancelled because of him.

The coming together of you and Shiva Rajkumar has a lot of buzz about it, especially online. In fact, he has gone on record telling his fans to behave well during the release. What about an ensemble cast or a multi-starrer impresses/intimidates you?

I see that my fans are curious. With multi-starrers, that’s bound to happen. Fans of all those involved are keen to see their person get a meaty role. I believe the film will keep both audiences happy. Director Prem has done justice to both our characters.

The actor with 'The Villain' director Prem

I have to speak about Prem; he’s passionate and I’ve seen him work very hard. That makes me give my best. Our producer CR Manohar kept his calm despite the huge budget involved and ensured that tempers stayed cool. Of course, we might have occasionally had doubts or concerns, but that was always sorted out. I’ll always carry pleasant memories from the shoot.

This is your sixth season as Bigg Boss Kannada host. Over the years, you’ve developed a distinct style, you’re warm yet objective in your remarks. Is that Sudeep closest to the real you?

Well yes, here I’m myself and not some character on screen. It is like home and I get to be myself. I look at it this way. When watching the episodes of the week before the weekend special of Bigg Boss, I am all alone, because I don’t want to be influenced by anyone’s opinion. Additionally, I know that the participants vent out to me. They see me in very many roles. I love listening and it helps break a cold war.

You’ve been speaking a lot about why it is important to live in the now and not plan much ahead for the future…

When you cannot control one wrinkle on your face, you know you cannot control your entire life. I still enjoy my fame and success, but I am not the person who is stuck with momentary things and names. I know they will go one day and I can do nothing about it. No one comes with a guarantee card and I wonder why we plan so much. And so, of late, I’ve begun enjoying everything, from the drawing room, the kitchen and the car to leftover friends… yes, I believe in surrounding myself with a small circle of friends.

You have worked in other industries in the south as well as in Bollywood. You’re now a part of the Telugu magnum opus Sye Raa. What prompted you to take up these projects?

The film has some legendary names in the star cast and it’s a beautiful thing to be working with such names. I’ve grown seeing their work. I never knew I would become an actor, taste success and travel among industries.

Living as you do in the now, what are the things that give you joy?

I am a fun person and cooking gives me great joy. And, sometimes, when I turn back, I wonder how someone born and brought up in Shivamogga managed a debut with the big names and has lasted the course. It’s been a beautiful journey.

You always speak of being the Shivamogga boy. What are your memories of growing up in a tier-2 city?

Shivamogga was beautiful and continues to be. You enjoy anything better once you leave it and move on. That’s the case with me too.

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