He is not your quintessential hero; neither is he a typecast villain. Sudeep, for whom the success of Naan Ee must have felt like a windfall, is attempting to reap its rewards.
Before the 'fly' film happened, the Kannada hero was a virtually unknown quantity in Kollywood. Maybe film fans, with some affinity for cricket and those who had happened to catch the so-called star cricket league called CCL in the past two years might remember him as the fiercely competitive leader of the Kannada industry team.
However, the stupendous showing by Naan Ee in Tamil and the Telugu version (Eega) has not only sent his stock soaring across the two film industries but also underlined the acting prowess of this lanky performer.
Excerpts from an interview with him:
How tough was it to say 'yes' to the role, given that it was one with a negative tinge and bearing your (hero) standing in Kannada filmdom?
Honestly, I was very excited when I first heard the script. It isn't every day that a film-maker comes up with such a story wherein a 'fly' is the protagonist. Also, director Rajamouli was very clear with what he wanted to do and I had no qualms agreeing to work in the film.
Were you apprehensive that your fans might not like this movie as you have donned the role of a villain?
A: (Pauses) Probably not. When one gets to play a character like this, there is no reason to think twice. If you entertain and perform in whatever role you get, then the audiences are going to like you. I had no issues taking up this role or for that matter any other role as long as it has substance
About working with Rajamouli...
He is a wonderful director, who is very clear about his priorities and is aware of the box-office requirements and tailors his needs according to them. I was pleasantly surprised when I got a call from him to act in his movie. Working with him was a memorable experience. Also, I am glad I was able to justify his faith in my abilities. My only concern was that he was a 'hit' director and I shouldn't break his (success) record.
How does it feel to be receiving so much admiration?
Am enjoying it and am thankful to Rajamouli. It was a challenging role and I am really happy I could do a good job.
Describe your journey in filmdom thus far… as an actor-director…
It has been a wonderful one. It is important that one enjoys what he/she is doing and tries to keep improving and does something different. Acting is a continuous learning process and a performer can keep raising his level by evaluating his own work critically.
After the excitement and success of Naan Ee what next…
I am just trying to soak in the moment. Have been tied up with the project for over a year and my immediate plan is to take a small break and then see how it goes. There are some offers coming my way but I am in no hurry. Without a doubt Naan Ee has opened new vistas for me. I am not for planning too much; wish to go with the flow.
About working in other languages...
Language is no bar. Let’s see if offers come in.