Sudeep: It’s not over before it’s over
As Kichcha Sudeep completes 25 years in the film industry, he talks to Cinema Express about his journey and what makes him tick
Images of Kichcha Sudeep’s Vikrant Rona displayed on Burj Khalifa in Dubai sparked a frenzy on social media recently, but the star does not consider the event the best moment of his life. The one memory he says will never be erased from his mind is actually the morning show of Huchcha (2001) at Menaka theatre. “Even the event at Burj Khalifa cannot replace that,” adds Sudeep, who has completed 25 years in the film industry.
He considers 2020 to be the best year for himself. “The Covid time was difficult, but it helped me spend time at home. Everyone remained indoors, irrespective of their background. Even if 20 per cent of people across the globe changed during this time, it will be a better place to live in,” says Sudeep, adding that he made use of the time to think, write, play antakshari, practise mimicry, spend time with his family, and feel relaxed. “Of course, we saw people suffering, and from our end, we tried to do our best to lend a helping hand,” he adds.
Sudeep is one of the first Kannada stars to see success across India in recent times. Was this part of his plan when he took up Phoonk? “Going pan-India is not a difficult feat. If the story is capable of reaching every place, and if it works out logistically, anybody can achieve that. The present generation has a different way of telling a story. They are coming up with a different presentation, and if the story told by them is universal, then it immediately becomes a pan-Indian film,” he says.
Ask him what led him to foray into direction, and he recalls, “Back in 2005, I was at the lowest phase of my life. That’s when I decided to take up direction, and I picked up Shanthi Nivasa. At that time, I didn’t want to prove anything, and it was only an option I explored.”
It looks like Sudeep's fans need to wait a while for his next directorial. “Each time I decide to make a directorial announcement, I learn that a lot of filmmakers are writing stories for me, and I feel happy about it. I want to be a part of their vision,” Sudeep says, adding, “Direction will happen, but it will take a little more time.”
Given all his experience so far, what advice does he think a younger Sudeep would have benefitted from? “Before Sparsha, I should not have shaved my moustache and beard. For Eega, there would be no advice at all. I just did what my heart said, and that has brought me till here,” says the actor, director, and producer. He continues to brim with hope and energy about what lies ahead. “So long as the path we take is good and our small achievements are discussed, nothing else matters. Some are not able to reach anywhere in a short span of time. But it is not over before it is over,” stresses Sudeep.
His long innings has also helped him learn a few things about his own working style. “If somebody encourages me, I do well,” he says. “If somebody irritates me, I do very well. And if I am provoked, I do damn well.”