Telugu-Tamil actor Sundeep Kishan’s latest release Next Enti may not have performed as well as expected . But he is unfazed.
And happy. “I would do the film all over again, if needed. I learnt so much working with Kunal Kohli. I grew up admiring his work. He may not be conversant in Telugu. But he was clued into every nuance of the characters played by me andTamaannah.”
So what went wrong? “I don’t know if the word wrong is right here. Because I feel the film came out right. We somewhere missed out on marketing and promoting the film well. Next Enti was a totally new language for Telugu audiences. It basically had my character and Tamannah speaking on love life and sex. The audience needed to be drawn into the film. That never happened. Telugu cinema is growing by leaps and bounds. Not only Baahubali we have had Arjun Reddy, Gazi and Goodachari…all game-changers. So it’s not as though the audience in Andhra and Telangana is not ready for change.We just didn’t give them reason to appreciate our attempt at a new cinematic language.”
Sundeep has already moved ahead. “I’ve now turned producer with a Telugu film Neenu Veedani Nenu Nene. My leading lady in the film is Anaya Singh that very talented girl from Yashraj Films’ Qaidi Band. The film is again, a game-changer. It is partly a supernatural thriller but it is so much more,it’s hard to define. I am also shooting a courtroom comedy TenaliRamkrishna BABL with Hansika Motwane.”
Though Sundeep has done films in Tamil and Hindi, he regards Telugu as his home ground. “I was born and brought up inAndhra. Telugu is my mother tongue. But I also speak Tamil fluently. At the beginning of my career as an actor I did a Tamil,a Telugu and a Hindi film. I think language is no longer a barrier to appreciating good cinema.”
Early in his career Sundeep had done a Hindi film Shor In The City directed by Raj & DK. The directorial duo is now designing a fresh Hindi launch for Sundeep. “Raj and DK are like family. I thought their Stree had such an interesting role for Rajkummar Rao. Not like a conventional hero but a relatable character. That’s the kind of role I’d like to play . Raj andDK are planning something completely out of the box for me in Hindi.”
In the meanwhile Sundeep is pleased that most of his Tamil and Telugu films are dubbed into Hindi. “I was shooting in Kashmir and I was very surprised when the locals recognized me as the guy in Prasthanam , my first release which is now being remade into Hindi, or the guy in Maanaagaram. They had seen most of my Telugu and Tamil films dubbed into Hindi.”
Sundeep is also surprised by his swelling fan following. “I never thought of myself as particularly eligible when I was in college. But now even when guys come for selfies they say it’s for their sister or girlfriend. I am happy with the female attention. But for now I am very single.”
Sundeep also owns a restaurant in Hyderabad Vivah Bojnambu which offers what he calls the best food in Hyderabad.
“I expect nothing but the best from myself. I love to look beyond the expected,” he signs off.