'I'm a big fan of Vijay Sethupathi'
...says Sundeep Kishan, who's looking forward to his not-so-commercial outings in Tamil cinema
Sundeep Kishan is clear about his demarcation of projects in Tamil and Telugu: commercial films in Telugu cinema, and not-so-commercial films here - Yaaruda Mahesh, Maanagaram, his upcoming Mayavan, and now Suseenthiran's Nenjil Thunivirundhal (C/o Surya in Telugu). He has also recently wrapped up shooting for Naragasooran (Narakasurudu in Telugu). "I am already a credible name in Telugu cinema. I have been there since 2009. But in Tamil, I am still trying to earn the trust of audiences. So, I am experimenting with roles," he says.
On CV Kumar's Mayavan, he says, "It is an investigative thriller and I play a cop. It was physically exhausting as we were shooting mostly during the night. The film's the first of its kind, but I can't tell you what's different because that would let you figure out the story. I hope the film gets released soon." Sundeep says he was thrilled when he got to see the film's first copy.
While the film may have been physically demanding, Sundeep was always confident about his acting ability. "I don't find any aspect of acting tough, but in general, song shoots can tire you," he says. "In Nenjil... for Yachachcha... Yachachcha... I shot consecutively for seven nights. I am not saying I don't like to dance, but it's more like an exercise, and after a point, your body just doesn't cooperate," he laughs.
He chose Nenjil Thunivirundhal because he loved Suseenthiran's script when he heard the narration in Hyderabad. "I have been a huge fan of his work, and have seen all his films. In particular, I loved Naan Mahaan Alla and Pandiya Naadu. I'd say my character in Nenjil... is an extension of Karthi's role in Naan Mahaan Alla. The film will be highly entertaining and has real characters. They never go overboard, but are nevertheless funny," he smiles.
The actor is not a fan of what he calls 'nonsense comedy'. "There's Soori in this film, but watch out for his role. We both got along so well on the sets," says Sundeep, who plays a happy-go-lucky guy, Kumar, in the film. "I think the character is a lot like Suseenthiran himself. Even Naan Mahaan Alla's Karthi is also a lot like him. He's a content person who doesn't have great ambitions in life," he says.
Sundeep and Suseenthiran were supposed to collaborate previously, but it didn't happen. The actor was to play Vishnu's role in the Telugu version of Jeeva. "But I had to back out of the project due to date issues. Glad Nenjil... has happened finally," he adds.
Shooting a bilingual is advantageous, says the actor. "I'll be catering to two markets, and that gives me a high. Some of the scenes, and even some of the actors are different in both. So, it was like shooting for two different films," he says. But he knows all films don't lend themselves to being made in multiple languages. "Films like Maanagaram and Mayavan can't be made in both languages," he says.
He's also excited by director Karthick Naren's Naragasooran. "It's going to be one heck of a film -- something akin to a Hollywood film. I have shot for about 27 days, and now Arvind Swami sir's portions are being shot. It has a great cast. Karthik has an amazing sense of clarity. He'll go places!" he says.
Sundeep doesn't mind doing multistarrers, but only in Tamil. "I don't have to do them in Telugu. I have my own reasons for that." He's a big fan of Vijay Sethupathi in Tamil cinema. "I want to do the sort of roles he gets to do. He gets a Vikram Vedha because of all the credible work he has done before. I am also game for negative characters if I am the lead," he says.
He doesn't want to play the second fiddle anymore. "I started my career 10 years ago, and I am done with all that now. I don't want to go back where I started," he says.
Ask him about his dream role, and he laughs, "There are so many. I'd love to do what Dhanush did in Pudhupettai, or Vijay Sethupathi's role in Naanum Rowdy Thaan or what Dulquer did in OK Kanmani!"
Sundeep has been asked to drop his last name, Kishan (taken from his grandfather's name), as he is told it sounds 'too Hindi-ish'. "My Hindi is only 'Ek kissan raghu thaatha' level. What's there in a surname? MGR was a Malayali and Rajinikanth is a Marathi. But they occupy a place in the hearts of Tamil audience, right?"