Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad
Sudheer Babu, son-in-law of the superstar of yesteryears, Krishna, and brother-in-law of Mahesh Babu is all set to enter tinsel town in a big way. He was seen in a small role in Ye Maaya Chesaave.
Armed with engineering and MBA degrees, Sudheer was in the garment business. His debut film Shiva Manasulo Sruthi, directed by Tatineni Satya (of Bheemili Kabaddi Jattu fame) will release on February 10.
In this interview, he talks about how he turned actor, his debut film SMS, and other interests.
You are an engineer with an MBA. You are also a badminton player. How did the acting bug bite you?
I was born in Vijayawada where entertainment is movies. I was interested in acting.
My parents used to play badminton and mom reached the inter-district level. So, she pushed me to play badminton. I played along with Pullela Gopichand. I was the state number one player. But I realised I have the same interest in acting.
'I have no time for badminton now'
Has marriage to Krishna's daughter helped you forge ahead with acting?
It made me realise my interest in acting. I lived two lives – before marriage and after marriage.
After marriage, when I got the opportunity, I wanted to prove myself.
Have you taken advice from your father-in-law Krishna and brother-in-law Mahesh?
Uncle told me there would be more failures and less success. He was happy that the banner I chose was good.
Mahesh said one has to make a lot of compromises, be away from the family, etc. Namrata (Mahesh's wife) saw my videos and she told Mahesh about them. He wanted to see them. I went on the sets of Dookudu to show him.
He was excited and asked Srinu Vytla (director of Dookudu) to go through the script. Srinu Vytla went through it and gave his suggestions, which were incorporated.
'I thought it's safe to start with a remake'
How did you learn to act?
I had discussions with my wife and industry people. I have not gone to any institute. Instead I have just taken the help of a local guy called Ramakanth.
I was on my own for a year. I used to read Telugu novels and enact some portions. I would then go over it and see how I did.
I used to wake up at 5.30 am. I did gymnastics for three days and dance for three days. I had a dietician too. I sport a six-pack body but I didn't need to show it off in the film. For two years, I led a disciplined life.
Is this a remake of the Tamil film Shiva Manasula Shakti?
I thought it's safe to start with a remake. However, we have changed 50 per cent of the film. The director, Tatineni Satya, is a friend whom I have known for eight or nine years. He had worked with David Dhawan.
I didn't know he had directed the film Bheemili Kabaddi Jattu (the Telugu remake of Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu). He came with a script which the family felt was good
'Regina is very dedicated'
What do you play in the film?
I play a courier boy from a lower middle class family. One can relate to the character of Shiva.
Is the film realistic?
It is realistic. Satya's earlier film, Bheemili Kabaddi Jattu, was also realistic.
Like you, your co-star Regina also makes her debut with this film. How was she as a co-star?
Around 18-19 girls underwent the screen test. We had seen Regina's pictures and her short films. She screen tested and we found she was good.
Regina is very dedicated. She's jovial but before the take she used to close her eyes and concentrate. I have tried that and it has helped me also. Because of her performance, mine is also elevated.
What is the best part of the film?
The energy in Shiva and Sruthi's characterisations.
'My wife is my strength and best critic'
Are you happy the film is produced by a big banner, Supergood Movies?
I am fortunate and happy that it's a big banner. It's thanks to Satya, who approached the producers.
Supergood Movies is the presenter and Vikram Raju of Vega Entertainment produced the film.
Has the family seen the film?
Manjula, my wife's sister, saw the film. She said, you are like a hero who has done 50-60 films.
How has your wife supported you in this journey?
She's my strength and best critic. She tells me if I'm bad. She's happy I've done it on my own (for an outside banner).
'I am very nervous'
So, is badminton's loss cinema's gain?
I have no time for badminton now. You have to play every day. I played along with Gopichand and trained under Prakash Padukone. I was in the Junior World Probables. I was sponsored by the Sports Authority of India for many years.
After a point, one needs a lot of sponsorship to continue. The interest is there in badminton. Later on, I will dedicate time to badminton.
Are you nervous now that the release date is approaching?
I am very nervous. I have worked really hard for two-and-a- half years.