Sudeep on his physical transformation for Pailwaan, and sharing the screen with 'Anna' Suniel Shetty

Subha J Rao

Sep 12, 2019 09:20:12 IST

There are hardly three days left for the release of the big budget extravaganza Pailwaan, directed by Krishna, but Sudeep is as calm and collected as he always is. Possibly, due to the countless releases he’s seen over his 22 years in the industry, or just his philosophy of living in the now.

Even when it comes to speaking about Pailwaan, Sudeep prefers to focus on the film, and not on what the world is talking about — the transformation in his mid-40s from a good-looking hero to a lean, mean fighting machine, or how he’s dubbed himself in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.

 Sudeep on his physical transformation for Pailwaan, and sharing the screen with Anna Suniel Shetty

Sudeep in a still from Pailwaan. Image from Twitter

Excerpts from an interview with the star on a weekday evening, as he traversed Bengaluru’s traffic. Contrary to the crazy traffic outside, the answers carry a deep calm.

Pailwaan is releasing big, in five languages, and has a lot riding on it. Closer to the release date, how do you look back at the journey?

I’m going with the flow. There’s no pressure at all. Cinema has not been harsh to me so far. It’s been fairly sweet, and I’ve usually delivered. When a film does well, there’s greater responsibility to do better the next time. When a film fails, there’s the pressure to do better next time. My struggle, my strain and honesty have all been packed and given to the film. I leave it at that, and hope people like it.
Of course, one promotes a film, but you cannot say what’s not there. Honest filmmaking and honest promotions help. Luckily, people know of me in every language the film is releasing in (Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam), and we have gone ahead and met people and pushed the film as much as we could.

Everyone has been speaking of your physical transformation. In your opinion, what’s the soul of the film?

The way the film flows is the soul. The way it shapes up, the reasoning and the purpose as to why my character becomes a boxer, the theme that stitches everything together, that’s the soul.

Would you like to share something about where the film is set in?

Not, now. I’d like people to watch it and see it first-hand.

You work with Suniel Shetty in this film, and this is his first film in Kannada….

Anna is a sweetheart. He commands respect, and when you meet him, you know exactly why he’s called Anna. He’s so disciplined, and it was lovely working with him. His joining the team was a beautiful thing to happen to our film.

Has it sunk in that this film is possibly your biggest release so far, across languages?

You must believe me when I tell you that I don’t think of such things. For me, the intent matters. We have worked to create something good, and when everyone likes it, you grow as a person and professional. I believe everyone has to try and cross boundaries. The Kannada industry has such beautiful talent right now.

You’re now part of a number of big-budget films such as Pailwaan, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, Dabangg 3 and Marakkar. Do you ever see yourself being part of a small, intimate beautiful film?

Let me put it this way. I don’t like to classify anything as small or big. That said, I don’t think small. Whatever I take up, I like to give the project the best it deserves.

What aspect about the physical transformation in Pailwaan challenged you?

There was a joy about discovering certain things about myself, and moving one step ahead at a time with this film. I am someone who has never gymmed, but had to for Pailwaan. I achieved this result in five-six months of working out. It usually needs years of dedication. Truth be told, there was too much of gravity beneath me. I was not feeling light, and my reflexes were slow. I realise that only now. I was 89.5 kg and now weigh 74 kg. My waist size has dropped from 36 to 31, and I don’t ever remember being this size!

There was also something distinct about your body language in the trailer…

An actor has a perspective, a director has a perspective. You need to take that one line from the director, garnish it and serve. You keep track of the character graph and how he’s changed, and I think that’s what I did with this film too. This is not to say I go with no clarity to the sets. It’s ultimately about understanding what the director wants. Your mind will guide you.

Have you seen the completed film?

Not as yet. I’ve seen parts of it during dubbing, but I’m yet to watch it with the background score and the effect. But, I like what I’ve seen so far. Kitappa (director S Krishna) has captured what he’s wanted. And I am happy, because this film is all about team work. Everyone has given it their best. One person can’t take credit for everything. The greatest advantage was that we had a lot of good people who were part of the film. It was all about bonding and creating happy memories. After the day’s shoot, we would sit and chat and bond.

Updated Date: Sep 12, 2019 09:20:12 IST