June 27; For most, with success comes a little ego and loads of responsibility. Not for actor Sudeep. For him with success comes a lesson. “We see so many ups and downs in life that we realise just taking the success to the head and failure to the drains doesn’t work,” he says propped on a plush sofa in his chalet at the Bigg Boss sets in Lonavala, Pune. Sudeep is the host of the Kannada version of Bigg Boss being aired on ETV Kannada. During a break from the shoot, a relaxed Sudeep opens up about the show, stardom, the film industry and his philosophies of life.
When asked how real the show is, Sudeep says: “There’s probably very little we showcase on how it all goes on. All of us working on the set are aware of the truth behind it. There is a certain amount of scripting for the tasks that we give the contestants. Apart from that there is nothing that can be scripted because the format of the show is such.
The Kannada version of Bigg Boss is doing very well. Was this success anticipated? “Success is something we always look forward to,” says Sudeep. “People like it, so we don’t want to post-mortem as to why the show is successful. And I am very sure we will not get our answers. Every viewer has his own perspective as to why he is likes it.”
Sudeep insists there is lot one can learn from the show. “If you are open to learning, there are minute things in this show that teaches you a lot, like values. Small things are becoming a big issue inside the house. How a silly thing can become so huge – that should teach you something, no? Don’t you think what is happening in Bigg Boss is what happens with you?
Talking about memorable moments, the actor says: “On Mother’s Day we called all the contestants’ mothers to meet them, and they cried like babies, even though it was the same face they saw everyday. That makes you ask yourself ‘Am I spending enough time with my family?’”
While commenting that patience is essential to survive Bigg Boss, Sudeep gives his reason for taking up the show. “I had not watched Bigg Boss in Hindi though I had caught glimpses of Salmanji on the show. What attracted me more than the content of the show was the fact that the Bigg Boss house belongs to the contestants and the crew but the stage outside belongs to me. I can be myself there. You always carry a character when you come on screen. And probably some interview sometime in the television or the print media is the only thing people know about you and most of it are interpretations. Whereas this is one place where you can allow people to get closer to you, get to know you. I also love to be in a situation where I can think and say ‘how do I handle this?’ It’s a responsibility and I am enjoying it.”
Getting philosophical, Sudeep talks about stardom. “As a star, you are carrying along a stardom that does not actually belong to you. I have a chosen route which I like to follow. I make a film when I feel like making it. If I want to stay at home watching movies, I do that. If I want to take my bike out and go on a one-month holiday, I do that. To do all these things, it’s first of all important for me to realise that I need to live my life.
“I enjoy my life thoroughly. So whatever comes within it is just a part of my life and I enjoy that. It might sound philosophical but that is what I do. I am very jovial. I don’t like to be serious. Whatever comes I’ll do it, just that it has to excite me. This juggling can never tire me.”
Sudeep doesn’t watch telly. “I don’t read papers and watch TV. Earlier things were written and spoken about me, which had hardly any truth in it. I realised that during those four or five years, I was trying to convince the world. In time, I realised that they had forgotten and I was not ready to let go. I am not trying to say that people are wrong and everybody who wrote about me was wrong; there are many good things also that are written. It’s just that let me be, no?”
About the state of the Kannada film industry, the intense actor says he has, “Absolutely no idea! I connect very less. I just know that there are lots of movies coming out every week. That’s it.
Sudeep is one of those actors who has crossed borders and made it big in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films. “An industry doesn’t get exclusive, the people do. They don’t want to cross boundaries; it’s their choice. Phoonk was about black magic, something nobody would do, but I did. Because of Phoonk, I landed Rann and because of that I landed many more including Makkhi. You don’t know where the chain takes unless you take chances. I took. Doesn’t mean everybody has to.”
Sudeep says his dream “As far as cinema is concerned, I want to do something huge. I want to be recognised everywhere I go. Earlier, in the Bangalore airport we used to see the Bollywood actors coming and how they would be rushed through the security. And we being from Karnataka we had to give our id cards and tell the security, ‘I am also an actor!’ That made me think — ‘One day I want to go to Bombay and Hyderabad where the security people recognise me.’ Today if I go to even Pune there are a lot of people who know me and they rush me through the security. It’s not about an ego or being deserving here – it’s about recognition. Cinema is done only to get closer to the audience. So if they know you, they’ll recognise you and you feel complete. It’s been the best gift I have received.
Describing himself as “a one-film-at-a-time kind of guy,” Sudeep says, “though I have about six films at hand. I am doing one in July and till it is completed I won’t go for the other. Everybody knows that and they are used to it. The movie I will be working on in July is a family drama but a commercial one that I will be directing and acting in.