Kannada film actor Sudeep is perhaps the only performer from the Kannada film industry who has made a foray into the Bollywood films in recent days. He has proved to be a successful performer having bagged some good roles in Ram Gopal Varma’s films. He is all set to become a director for a new Hindi film to be produced by Ramesh Taurani which will be a remake of his yet to be released Kannada film Just Maath Maathnalli which is hitting screens some time next month.
On the eve of the release of his second film Rann on January 29 all around the world, Sudeep spoke at length about the film and his yet to be released much awaited film Just Maath Maathnalli directed by him.
Q: You signed the film Rann just after the success of your first film Phoonk. The film is set to be released this week. What would you like to tell about this film in which you are playing a stellar role?
A: Rann is one memorable film for me and I am really grateful to Ram Gopal Varma for selecting me to play an important role. About the film I have to say that Rann is mainly about many things that are connected to today’s media, particularly the 24 hour news channels. It reveals the inside story of the way a powerful media house works and the challenges faced by channels to balance its editorial content with business interests. In the film, I play the role of an ambitious son of an idealistic father who owns a big media house. I think running a media house is like running a successful business venture. One thing I have to make clear is that the film does not criticize the media and its functions. But Varma sir have shown many complications and challenges that a media house faces. But the film will not look like a documentary. Rann deals with a contemporary issue, but still it would be a well made commercial film.
Q: What do you think of your role in Rann which is believed to be as important as that of Amithabh Bachchan?
A: I will not agree with you. As you know AB sir will play the central character in the film. I can only say that I was part of this great film made by my favourite director Ram Gopal Varma. In a way I can describe my association with the film as an actor who is part of a strong script. . I am working with AB sir in the film as much as , I work with Ritheish, Paresh Rawal.
Q: But you told in an earlier interview that you had lot of confrontation sequences with Bachchan?
A: Yes, there are. And that is the real highlight of the script also. AB sir’s ethics are different and my ethics and understanding of life and the media house are different. Ram Gopal Varma sir works strongly on characterizations of each role in the film and selects the artists who are more suitable to play such roles. Rann has got lot of variety only because of this contrast between two characterizations. .
Q: You have been working in Hindi films and also in Kannada films. Now, you are also venturing into direction of a Hindi film. What do you think of this sudden highpoint in your career?
A: I think getting recognition in a language alien to us is an achievement in life. I was surprised when Varma sir called me to act in Phoonk. I was more surprised when he called me again for Rann, though he had decided to do a sequel to Phoonk after it became a big hit. In Rann, I never imagined that I would be working with a big actor like Amithabh. It was my mother's dream that I had to work with a legendary actor like Amithabh Bachchan. About the Hindi film that I am directing, I think it is too early to make an announcement now as we are yet to finalise the star cast. The only thing that I can tell you is that I will be directing the remake of Just Maath Maathnalli.
Q: Did Varma brief you about the story before you started shooting for the film. Did you make any preparations before you started shooting for the film?
A: I just accepted the offer of Rann without even hearing the story of the film. That was because it was a story and script approved by AB sir. I did not think I will have to hear the story which had impressed such a legendary actor.
Q: How did you feel when you acted with him on the first day?
A: I remember very well what went on that day. As soon I was ready with the make up, I was introduced to Amitabh by Ram Gopal Varma on the first day that we were meeting in the film. He said "Hello Sudeep'. I Just said Hai sir and then wished him. I did not speak to him that much later. But on the last day of the shoot I spoke to him at length. I did not interact with me in between the shooting of the film at any time only because I did not want to be overwhelmed by his presence.
Q: You revealed in a channel interview that Varma is making a bilingual film with you which will be launched some time later this year?
A: Yes, Varma sir is interested to make a bilingual film in Hindi and Kannada with me. The film’s title will be Nirnay in Hindi and Nirnaya in Kannada. It will be the first Kannada film that Ram Gopal Varma directs. It will be a huge production. Ram Gopal Varma told me that he may need some Kannada artists for the Kannada version of the film. He has also promised me that If he finds these Kannada artist suitable for the Hindi film, he may also use them in the Hindi version. I am quite happy with this decision.
Q: You are also working in Varma in the film Raktha Charitha for which shooting is almost complete. Can you tell something about your role?
A: I would be happy to work with Varma in all his films. He is an institution himself. Raktha Charitha will be one more litmus test for my capabilities as an actor. I would not like to add anything about the film and I want Varma sir to speak.
Q: Your Kannada directorial venture Just Maath Maathnalli is now ready for release.
What would you like to say about this film?
A: We wanted to release the film on Jan 29 or Feb 5. But Vishnuvardhan sir’s untimely death has altered our plans. Since Vishnu sir’s film School Master is getting released now, we are planning to release the film in February. Anyway the producer of the film Shankar will be the best person to answer this question.