Kichcha Sudeep on why he agreed to play the antagonist in Dabangg 3, working with Salman Khan and future projects
South star Kichcha Sudeep opened up about sharing the screen with Salman Khan in Dabangg 3, and whether he will take up roles of antagonists in the future
South star Kichcha Sudeep is delighted with the response he is getting for his villainous avatar in recently released Salman Khan’s cop drama Dabangg 3. Known for his outstanding performance in many Kannada films, Bollywood isn’t alien for Sudeep. Actor-director-producer-
What response did you get now that the film is out? What is the best compliment you received?
The best compliment has been the fact that I was taken for the film next to Salman. Pitted against the superstar is the best thing to happen because he is too huge when it comes to his personality, aura. Me being put over there to give my equities was the biggest task, and them believing that I can do it was the biggest compliment.
The response has been awesome. My friends and family will obviously say only good things but what matters the most is that the film should be applauded. People have their preferences of characters and their own priority of comedy and action, but I don’t think we should react to those reactions. What matters is what reaction the film is getting, because the film in its entirety needs to win for everybody in it to win. People told me it is very entertaining and that is what we all tried.
Are you happy with day one collection? Do box office figures matter?
Numbers definitely matter. Numbers always showcase the love and respect that people have given you. It is not about stardom, or being the numero uno. Salman always gets love in abundance and hence I need not be worried about the numbers. People who took me are happy and that is what matters to me.
Did you say 'yes' to Dabangg 3 even before the narration?
After working in the industry for so many years, we should not be thinking about what the reason was behind saying yes or no to any film. Earlier, we worked on our craft and how to groom ourselves, but now as the industry has offered you so much, then everything is about excitement.
It's my perspective that today if time is offering you such beautiful moments and opportunities to work with certain people, then you should just grab and cherish it. I didn't think much when the film was offered to me and said yes immediately even before the narration. Earlier, I did Rann with Amitabh Bachchan, now I have done Dabangg 3 with Salman Khan.
Dabangg being such a successful franchise, that must have also been the reason to attract you to the project?
No. My agreeing to do Dabangg 3 has nothing to do with Dabangg and Dabangg 2. As a viewer, I liked both films equally. Dabangg gave a genre that many people hadn't touched thus far. There was a lot of uniqueness in Dabangg — the background score, the characters, Chulbul's sarcasm and so on.
But you had earlier said that you don’t like playing a villain.
It is not that I don’t like playing a villain, I need a reason to play a villain. You cannot look down upon a villain’s role because without that villain’s character a hero doesn’t become a hero. Good people need to stand out, whether you take mythology or history everywhere there is a hero because of a villain. It matters to me because you have spent years and years to reach here and if you want to be accepted in a villain’s role then it has to have something for you to create some element where you can make a difference. If it is a regular character, I don’t think I would like to play that role because anybody can do it. I had all the reasons to play a negative character here, because I was sharing the screen with Salman. It wasn’t difficult because Salman makes it very easy. He never carries his baggage to the set and is very easy to work with. He is a very large-hearted man and he never fails to express his emotions.
Will you play a baddie again?
I accepted Dabangg 3 only because it is Salman’s film. I don’t think I will accept the role of being a total baddie again. I played an antagonist in Makkhi but I was not a villain altogether. But, not every film is worth with you being a baddie, what should I do it for? On the same dates, I can do another film.
Bollywood is not new to you since in the past you have done films like Phoonk, Rann, Rakta Charitra..Will you be working here more often now? And what attracts you to the Hindi film industry?
I can’t say that I will be working here more often now, but yes, it is always nice to have offers from all over the place. It is nice to be recognised, get the love of people and get a piece of cake everywhere you go. But it all depends upon how hungry I am at that moment. For me, the size of the project doesn’t matter, it has to be content, something needs to be attractive but I have a lot of work done down South. In the midst of all that I have to see what is coming. I like to go with the flow.
I don’t have anything particular that attracts me to Bollywood. It is just a call. It is a bigger industry. What probably attracts me is the kind of role that Bollywood offers, otherwise, I am happy here (South).
What difference do you find in the work culture between both industries? It’s believed that the South is more disciplined.
There is a lot of difference in the work culture. Timings are different and the way we operate is very different essentially because of the difference in climate. Bollywood is good in their zone and we are good in our zone. Our thought process is different due to which operations also become different. When it comes to discipline, it doesn't have a proper definition. It is all about an individual's choice. It depends upon what you decide and what you execute. Obviously, there is going to be speed and momentum difference which can be because of the weather, food and other factors.
How do you manage to be an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, television presenter and singer all at once?
This has got nothing to do with my talent. I don't think I am talented enough to do all these things you have mentioned. It's just a curiosity to know things and wanting to do new things in life. Presently, I am learning carpentry, cooking, painting, sketching, gardening and also music composition. There is nothing that I don't try. And so it has nothing to do with cinema. It's only about me and my curiosity to learn everything and anything.
My franchise Kotigobba is coming up next with its third installment. After that, I am doing Phantom. The role was not written for me, but I took it as a challenge as the content is exceptionally good. Post that film, I am free. I don't like to be caged. Having four films in hand for a year doesn't suit my nature. If something doesn't excite me, but I have still signed it, then I have to be committed to the project. Eventually, you will suffer because you know this is not going to work. You liked the script a year ago, but now everything has changed —cinema, the audience, and so on. So I keep my hands free all the time. I have only one film in hand because I don't want to stuff myself.
Any director who you would like to collaborate within Bollywood?
I admire Rajkumar Hirani. I like the scripts he chooses, there is a lot of human element and values in his scripts. If he offers me a film, great. But as long as he is making great films and as a viewer I get to watch good films, I am okay. It is not required that we need to work with each other. He should do his movies and I shall always be an admirer.
Finally, what was the takeaway for you from Dabangg 3?
Now Salman Khan is also in my contacts. He is somebody, if he likes you, he is surely one phone call away.
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