My dream is to work with Mani Ratnam: Sreesanth
Controversy’s favourite child, Sreesanth, looks set to finally make his debut in cinema, this week
Former Indian cricketer Sreesanth is beginning a new stint, this time in cinema, with Suresh Govind's upcoming Team 5 that will be released in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. And he’s paired with an actress who’s been pretty successful in the South: Nikki Galrani. "The story is about five professional racers and their lives. The story is very relatable to Telugu audiences, and so I expect it to do really well there. It also has a nice message at the end," says Sreesanth, who plays a bike racer called Akhil.
For the film, this former pace bowler has undertaken training in bike stunts. “I got to meet some real stuntmen and bikers. We have shot extensively in Goa, Bengaluru, and Australia. There's plenty of romance too in this film," he smiles.
Though the mercurial Sreesanth was always interested in films, he never imagined he'd become an actor. "Dad has acted in a couple of black and white films, my brother is into film production, and my sister is married to Madhu Balakrishna, the renowned singer,” he says. “I was drawn towards films even as a child. I am a huge fan of both Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth.”
There came a point in his life when he had to choose between cricket and dance, and Sreesanth went with the former. "Cricket is my first love and I got to play at two World Cups. Some things happened, but I don't want to talk about them now. And then, I had a toe surgery in 2012 which meant that I had to consider an alternate career. Cinema came in handy," he says.
Sreesanth wants to make it clear that he isn’t in cinema just to be a hero. "I am game for negative roles too. In fact, there are advantages to playing a villain. You get to do a lot more roles than a hero does in a year," he says.
It may be early days in cinema, but Sreesanth seems to have already figured out how to be an actor. “I prefer to go to the sets with a blank mind and trust the director’s inputs and guidance. I can also improvise pretty well. I learned quite a bit from my co-stars."
Sreesanth has more films coming up, including Kempegowda 2 in Kannada and a Hindi film with filmmaker-actor Anant Mahadevan of Papanasam fame that he first began shooting for. "It's a thriller titled Aksar 2. I share screen space with Gautam Rode, Zareen Khan, and Mohit Madaan. I have got huge regards for Anant sir. In fact, I passed on a couple of offers in Tamil due to this project. In Kempegowda 2, I get to play a villain," he says.
Sreesanth’s dream is to work with Mani Ratnam. He’s an ardent follower of Tamil cinema, and is really looking forward to the release of Dhanush's VIP-2. "I like Dhanush. In fact, I even liked Thodari," he grins.