Sudeep: I started from the basics for Pailwaan

The actor talks about working in the film directed by S Krishna, which features him as a wrestler and boxer
Sudeep: I started from the basics for Pailwaan

Sudeep is an actor who has often admitted that he is not a fitness freak and has no plans to become one either. Yet, for S Krishna’s Pailwaan, he put himself through rigorous training to play a wrestler and boxer on screen. 

A lot of hype has been created round the film, but Sudeep says he never expected such a character would come his way. The project has changed his perception of fitness. “Today, I am confident about going shirtless on the sets of the Hindi film, Dabangg 3, especially in front of an actor like Salman Khan. I also feel good that I've inculcated this practice while working in Kannada cinema. Even my family didn’t expect me to do this, and they are appreciative of it. I am waiting to see the reaction from my fans on seeing Pailwaan,” he says.

Sudeep, who had to prepare for the role of a wrestler and boxer, says he did not take inspiration from anyone. “First of all, I was surprised by director Krishna’s decision to choose an actor like me to play a wrestler and boxer, while he could have signed up other actors. But when I realised that he believed me completely, I didn’t need any external inspiration. I started from the basics for Pailwaan."

To prepare for the character, he watched wrestling and boxing episodes on YouTube, and videos of Muhammad Ali, and a lot of boxing-based films. “This sport is not something which you can pick up after three-four weeks of training. Some shots were actually improvised on the spot,” says Sudeep, adding that if he had six more months, he could have done better.

Made under the banner of RRR Motion Pictures, Pailwaan is getting a worldwide release in five languages on Thursday, and the Hindi version will hit the screens in India on Friday. According to Sudeep, a pan-India release is a good development, and he is happy that the film got a proper promotion across all regions.

“At present, cinema doesn't have a dominant language, every language is equal. I have met actors from other regions on the cricket field. The exchange of actors across different regions has also brought in new ideas, and I am happy that we are also a part of that platform,” says Sudeep, adding that taking a film across the country is not an easy task. “There should be a reason to release a film in different languages. I have realised that the investment involved is equal to the budget of making a Kannada film. The fact that I've made a mark in other film industries helped me connect with them easily,” he points out. 

The actor, who had previously dubbed in three languages (Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi) for Eega, has dubbed in four languages for Pailwaan. Though he found the process to be demanding, he says the dubbing theatre is a beautiful place for an actor, when he learns to enjoy the procedure. “Dubbing helps you cover the loopholes, and enhance the performance. With Pailwaan, I got the chance to do it in all languages,” he explains.

Despite being a director himself, Sudeep preferred to completely trust director Krishna’s vision. “He never hesitates to suggest new things to me. Every morning, we would sit for discussions and exchange our thoughts. We have also had healthy debates and arguments at times,” he says.

For Sudeep, the best part of Pailwaan was sharing screen space with Suniel Shetty, who is making his South Indian film debut. According to the actor, whether it was Ravichandran in Manikya, or Suniel Shetty in Pailwaan, it is the respect for art that enables them to work in collaborations. “Suniel is an actor who commands respect, and I have observed this a lot on the cricket field. This particular character demanded an actor like him. He not only agreed to do the role with a lot of love, but also learnt Kannada like a young student,” he says.

Sudeep reveals that he doesn't feel taken over by his role in Pailwaan. “An actor should know to move on from his character once the camera is off. During the making of Pailwaan, I also worked on Kotigobba 3 and Dabanng 3. I can’t let any character influence me completely. The only takeaway for me from Pailwaan is discipline. I've become addicted to working out now.” he signs off.

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