Sudeep is one of the very few Sandalwood stars who has a presence and name in other language industries. Among top stars, it is only Sudeep and Upendra who have market in neighbouring industries. All this is because of their acting in successful other language films. While in recent years, Upendra has stuck to only Kannada films, Sudeep has gone from strength to strength in not only neighbouring industries but in Hindi as well.
When Sudeep got the offer for Hindi movie Phoonk in 2008 directed by Ram Gopal Varma many of the Kannada industry personalities did not take it seriously. I am not much aware how this movie fared at the box office but it was a gateway to Bollywood for Sudeep. After Phoonk, Sudeep acted in guest roles in Kannada films Mast Maja Madi and Meghave Meghave. Meanwhile Sudeep was busy directing Veera Madakari for his close associate Dinesh Gandhi. Veera Madakari was a super success movie. Ragini Dwivedi got a good break in the Sandalwood.
However Sudeep did not attend any of the functions of the film after its release as there was a clash with producer Dinesh Gandhi. The exact reasons of this is still not known but sources said Dinesh Gandhi had not given the remunerations to many who had worked in the film.
Meanwhile Sudeep's second Bollywood movie was Rann with superstar Amitab Bachchan. Many had tried to get Bachchan to act in Kannada movies but it was Nagathihalli Chandrashekar who managed to get him to act in a small role in Amruthadhare. Rann was the first time any Kannada actor who was acting in a big role with Bachchan. Rann was a successful movie. Amitabh came to Bangalore for the movie promotion along with Sudeep. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa was also present in the pressmeet. This was a great turning point for Sudeep. The whole of Bollywood and Sandalwood started looking at Sudeep as a Bollywood actor.
When Sudeep got a chance to act in Phoonk 2 I have heard many of them saying, "Sudeep will not return to Kannada…. Sudeep is funding for the Hindi movies he is acting in to become a Bollywood actor…" etc. I do not know whether these reactions reached Sudeep but he was silently doing his job and also acted in Telugu movie Raktha Charita. From this movie Sudeep entered Tollywood.
The biggest success for Sudeep came when he signed for Eega directed by Rajamouli. Initially many were sceptical that Sudeep was acting as a villain and not as a hero. But when the movie released Sudeep name went worldwide with the film. When Maanikya shooting was going on at Mysore I had visited and met Sudeep. That evening I had asked him about Eega. Sudeep with a smile said Rajmouli had contacted some actors who had rejected the project. Sudeep had a hunch in his mind after that. "I did not know what it would be but I had anticipated something big. I had even told this to my wife. When Rajmouli's associate called me over the phone I asked him if it was Rajmouli calling, even before he introduced himself. The person who called was shocked. I went to Hyderabad to hear the story. The director was looking at my face. Within a few minutes I told him I am willing to act in Eega,"Sudeep had told me.
Sudeep explained why he chose this character. When Rajmouli was narrating the story Sudeep was very conscious. He understood that the hero will die early in the film and the fly (eega) will start chasing the villain (Sudeep). "When hero dies early in a movie, it is the villain who scores the points. So without thinking I gave my nod for the movie," Sudeep said. Sudeep is the first Kannada person to get an award at the Annual Edition Toronto After Dark Film Festival in its eight edition. Eega is the only Indian film to win awards at this festival. When Sudeep was shooting for Maanikya at Bangkok he was gifted with a chewing gum manufactured in Japan. Sudeep was surprised to see his photo on the wrapper. This was the effect of Eega. Sudeep had created history