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Sudeep: I am not competing with anyone

Last updated on: July 26, 2012 10:32 IST

Sudeep: I am not competing with anyone

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Srikanth Srinivasa in Banaglore

Popular Kannada actor Sudeep's performance in the Telugu movie Eega, and its Tamil version Naan Ee, has won widespread appreciation from cine-goers, film technicians and his fans and even accolades from superstars all over the country.

Trade pundits have estimated that Eega has posted a higher screen average collection during the opening weekend in the USA than all films in the USA, Hollywood included. It is said that the film's opening weekend collection in the USA was $538,996 (Rs 3 crore).

The film opened extraordinarily well all over India too and particularly in Tamil Nadu. In Karnataka, the film opened to a thunderous response given Sudeep's presence and the excitement over his mouthing a few lines in Kannada.

 In this exclusive interview with Srikanth Srinivasa, Sudeep shares his happiness about the movie's success and the appreciation he has been getting for his performance.

To what do you attribute the success of Eega?

The main factor is the concept and the way it has been visualised. Audiences are seeing something unusual and new on the Indian screen.

People of all ages are able to enjoy the movie. The movie has cut through all barriers. Emotions are the same across the world.

The film has become the talk of the world, cutting across barriers including cities.


Image: A scene from Eega


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'y fans here loved my performance'

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Would you have been game to shooting the film simultaneously in Kannada?

I wouldn't have said no to this as I am not someone who is stuck on images. I have been experimenting with my roles even in Kannada cinema. Perhaps, Rajamouli sir (the director of Eega) had reservations that my role, which was negative, would not go down well with Kannada audiences.

However, people here are seeing me in that character whether I speak in Telugu or Tamil. If the movie had not released here, it would have mattered.

What's been the response from people in the film industry?

Technicians and my co-stars have called me or texted me to show their appreciation of my performance.

The response has been fantastic; iconic, legendary people from other industries have searched for my number and called me to express their appreciation.

People like Rajnikanth, Nagarjuna, Venkatesh and many others have called me, which is a very good gesture on their part.

Telugu and Tamil actors have been so open-hearted and warm in welcoming me to be part of their industries. This appreciation from such people means a lot to me.

My fans here loved my performance even though I played a negative role.


Image: A scene from Eega


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'I am the bad guy not the villain'

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Did you realise during the making of the film that Eega would be your film since Nani, the protagonist, has limited screen time?

 No. There is nothing like my film or somebody else's film. Whenever Rajamouli does a film, it's his film.

The only thing I know is that my character was not something that everybody thought about. It's like a bad guy in a Walt Disney film. For instance, Tom is chasing Jerry all the time and you feel sometimes that Jerry should be slapped.

I am the bad guy not the villain. He has grey shades and he is the only human being who is battling against a fly and carrying all the emotions.

Do you think you have been able to nail it as an actor with Eega?

I have always been an actor but people from other industries have noticed me late. With Rajamouli's film, they think I am a better actor. But I have been a good actor from the beginning of my career.

People of my state noticed it quite early and especially my fans. But, the industry notices this at its convenience.

If I was not noticed, why would Ram Gopal Verma or Rajamouli take me for their projects?

Experience helps you do better in your work. Eega gave me an abundance of all emotions to portray. Rajamouli had abundant confidence in me.

I am blessed to be getting such a big film in Telugu. By God's grace I pulled it off.


Image: A scene from Eega


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'I am a better person and a better actor today'

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Why this delay in doing other language films? We have heard that you were one of the initial choices for Mani Ratnam's Aayitha Ezhuthu (Yuva in Hindi) way back in 2003. Why did you refuse such an offer?

 Maybe today I feel it's all for the best. It is destiny and I cannot help it.

It is not that I didn't want to do Mani Ratnam's film but I just couldn't do it. The offer came to me all of a sudden and they were expecting me to block one year for the movie. I couldn't as I had committed to film-makers here.

Who would say no to a Mani Ratnam film? It was just impossible to part with dates for a few months all of a sudden.

I had got an offer from Mani sir earlier too, for Alai Payuthe. I had just finished 30 days of shooting for Sparsha, which was incidentally our own production, so I couldn't do that film either. I think I am a better person and a better actor today.

Actors like Murali, Kokila Mohan, Arjun Sarja, Prakash Raj and even Rajinikanth moved out of Karnataka to better their careers. Will you do the same?

There is a small difference between all these names and my name. They all moved out for better prospects. But, I am already somebody here before I did something there.

I have just gone, and come back home. I am not someone who will move away from home. I am strong-minded and strong footed here. I will not run away and I will remain here amidst my people.


Image: A scene from Eega


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'I don't know what Eega has given me'

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Have you ever thought that you have outgrown the Kannada film industry?

Outgrowing the industry is too big a word. I am sure the Kannada industry will give me more fodder.

I am not competing with anyone. I am competing with myself. When I wake up every day I am only worried about how I can better myself.

Are there any offers from Tamil and Telugu industries now that the market has opened up for you?

As of today, there is nothing that has come my way. All I am getting is appreciation, good gestures and text messages and phone calls.

There is nothing like a market. We create a market. Let us not jump to conclusions that I have arrived with a bang. I am getting appreciation and that is all I know.

God has his own plans for me. I have no plans. I will pick up whatever I like. Things have happened without any planning. I got into films without any plan.

I don't know what Eega has given me. Food is not the same in every restaurant. But, we eat when we are hungry. There is a road ahead that needs to be travelled. I am enjoying this moment as much as Rajamouli sir.

Which are your forthcoming Kannada films? What about your directorial plans?

I have just finished Varadanayaka. I have started work on Shashank's film Bachchan, which is quite interesting.

 I have another two films lined up. I don't have time to take up any directorial projects as a film will take about nine to ten months to make.  



Image: A scene from Eega


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