Over an hour long exhaustive and exclusive chat with Senior Editor Jyothsna Bhavanishankar, Kannada Superstar Sudeep opens up on a lot of subjects ranging from Puli to Rajnikanth to Rajamouli to Tamil Cinema and to his personal life and much more.


There was no way I could do Puli
Fans have always been there because of my work and not because of what I chose in life
You need to be cautious when Nithya is around
You don’t feel wasted with Rajamouli
I thank everyone for making me stand next to Sridevi
Vijay has always been humble
It is wonderful being Rajini but being next to him is better
I like the subtlety of Ajith and his performance on screen
Vikram is a package of talent
Tamil Nadu gives me so much warmth

What made you accept Puli?

After Naan E, the commitment towards my films in Kannada was long pending. There was no way I could do Puli mainly because of my dates. But Chimbu Deven and the producers were very keen. They chased me for almost 2-2.5 months and after a while I kind of surrendered towards their need. I felt I should cater to the necessities of certain people who want to work with me. That’s how I came into Puli. Once on board, I am happy with the way I have been treated. They have given me an abundance of love and respect.

You are a superstar in Kannada. When you play the role of an antagonist, how do your fans perceive that? What is their response?

Fans came in after I became something. They are there because of my work and not because of what I chose in life. I started my career in the film industry, took my baby steps and then fans came in, which means they have been very loyal. In my case, I think I have been very lucky because people come to my films expecting something and I think I have been fulfilling those expectations.

I guess at certain times, we all need to do take chances and do things that excites us. We are not here anymore to prove a point. Cinema and time have been kind enough to give me more and more work. People expect nothing but a performance. Somewhere in life we need to progress to win more and more hearts than trying to become a star and a superstar. Everything comes to an end some day. We should plant a shrub in every state. We don’t necessarily need to become a superstar in every state but we need to be familiar. Familiarity is stardom, according to me. Not many people get this kind of opportunity, so when I get exciting roles, I take them up.


What excited me in Puli was an aura called Sridevi ji being on the sets. She has been working with our superstars, our favorite heroes and eventually we started loving her so much. I always know she was a very popular actress. Working with her, I realized why she became popular. The charisma and the aura she carries and the way she gets into the role are all a revelation. The way she switches on and off between the takes is pure magic.

In one of the shots, it was my turn to say the dialogue and I forgot to say, looking at her perform. And immediately I looked at the director and said- I want one more. It was not deliberate, it just happened. The opportunity of standing next to Sridevi is my biggest takeaway from Puli and I thank everyone who made it possible!


Vijay and I belong to the same generation. Stardom is not something that excites me as the yardstick varies from person to person. What I connect is something on a different level. I am in awe of Vijay on his humaneness. I hardly knew him before Puli; had just met him twice before.He made me feel comfortable in Chennai. I guess he has always been humble. That’s an added bonus to a star. More than anything, I love his family as it is something I could connect as I love family too. They made me feel at home and took care of me so well.

K S Ravikumar and Mudinja Ivana Pudi

KSR is someone who I have been watching from childhood as a director, his movies, and the names that he has worked with. At the end of the day, you want to look back at your career and while looking at your diary, it must excite you seeing certain names. KSR is one such name. He does not have any baggage or airs of having worked with the stalwarts.

Mundinja Ivana Pudi is a total commercial entertainer and KSR is a typical commercial director who cannot think beyond that.He has blended it with a lot of emotions which he is popular for.

Nithya Menen

I am quite excited to work with Nithya too, a wonderful actress. You need to be cautious when Nithya is around. She can just steal the scene beneath your nose and glide away. She is very versatile and instinctive. During the time of casting, they were talking about the height differences. But we both have really gelled well and our height has never been a barrier. We have a long way to go as shoots are happening now. And this is my first as a lead in Tamil and Kannada with KSR as director. I hope it does well. The ingredients are nice and we are cooking now. I hope the dish comes out well and wish people are in that kind of mood to enjoy the kind of cuisine we will be serving.

Why don’t we see more of you in Tamil?

I don’t want to say there are too many offers. After Naan E and Eega in Telugu, there were many people who wanted to work with me, but they did not know what to do with me, where to place me- a hero or a villain? Nothing came.

But now, they are coming. But not to forget, Karnataka is the place which made me. My first commitment will always go there. Nevertheless, why I am coming here to work is because of the warmth. They have never made me feel like an outsider. That’s why I come back irrespective of the roles. Now if good projects are coming which excite me, I would keep coming.

The opening credit of Lingaa had a thank you note for you and Rajini himself had called to express his feelings. How do you feel?

Tell me one person who would not feel happy about receiving a call from the Superstar. You feel the biggest at that point of time. I am also happy because it got me closer to a gentleman like Rajini sir, where he is one phone call away. Trust me, when I call and leave a message with him, I immediately get a response unless he is busy with something.

He is a great gentleman. And getting to know him close was something indescribable. I am one of those tiny specks in the crowd who had whistled, clapped in theatres, enjoyed when this man came on screen. And here I am sitting in his house, having a cup of tea with him. Time has been good and I have grown.

For what he is, I have no idea how it feels to be there. It is scary and very lonely at the top. The whole world is looking at you. Your life is no more yours and it is always handled by the rest. It is nice to look at it from a distance.

When the whole world wants to become your friends, you look out for friends. The whole world wants to love you, but you look out for someone to truly love you. These are the kind of mixed emotions that I feel when I see him. When I see him, all that I want to do is, give him a hug. I have done it. A man grows beyond your imagination and the imagination comes to a halt. It is wonderful being Rajini but being next to him is better.

S S Rajamouli

To work with him is a kind of mental challenge. Every morning he throws a challenge, every night you are relieved. It’s like a war with missiles, bullets and you are escaping when the day comes to an end. The next day, again, it begins and you feel yesterday was easier. He can make anybody look good on screen. And if you are personally good with your content, he will pick every drop of you, put it into the juice and serve. You don’t feel wasted with him. That’s one great thing with Rajamouli. You need to follow certain things and if you can really deliver, he will sit across and enjoy your performance. He is not a director who will keep coming in every frame to disturb you.

There is nothing that Rajamouli does not know and there is nothing he shows off. He does not even make you know that he knows. He is much ahead in his thoughts.

You are an actor/director/singer/producer/TV host. How do you manage all? Which one is dear to you?

It’s my life, who else will manage? I asked for it. And I am enjoying it. Every time when there is a heavy responsibility, I enjoy it more.

When you are an actor, you just look for that one first House Full show, then you want 150 days, then something more and more and in this process, without your knowledge you make your life monotonous. So at this stage, my production endeavor is helping. I want to support our youngsters and help them out. Lets see how it goes.

Of all the tasks that you had mentioned, I love direction, I have always wanted to be a director, but accidentally became an actor. I, of course, did not kill my passion to become a director. Basically I will do anything connected with the cinema. If you give me a choice between a cut out with 10 lakhs of garlands with paal abhishegam compared to just a title card as director, I would choose the latter. Direction excites me the most because I would like to go in my torn jeans, T shirt, chappal and walk around. I would like to make a film and be responsible for making someone a star. Directing is a huge responsibility and I love that as you are perpetually on your toes wanting to be right, making sure you are not cheating those who are looking up to you.

Who do you love the most in your life?

Everybody who has been a part of my life in this world. In some way or the other they have given me an abundance of love, knowledge and also all those who have wronged me. I really admire them because without them, I would not have learnt. I am not trying to be philosophical here. I personally feel we all have a role in each other’s life and that’s why we meet. Once that is done, we leave. And all those who came to do wrongs in your life, that was their role; so you took another step there and you went somewhere else. This is the chain. And it goes on.

There are lots of people I love. My parents who have brought me into this world, they have stood by me like a rock stone, irrespective of my stupidity. They have been with me through my good and bad times.

My family- I am going through my divorce now. My wife is one of the sweetest ladies I have met. She has always been a great source of strength to me and she will continue to be. She has given me a beautiful daughter. And she is my world. Certain contributions I have also done in my life for certain people to take certain decisions. But I guess life has to go on. We both are still there as good parents to my daughter. We will always be there.

This is a little family of mine, my two sisters and a handful of friends. I would never say that there is anybody who knows me completely, but these people know me to a certain extent and can tolerate me.

Who are your favorites in Tamil film industry?

We cannot talk about Rajinikanth sir, here because everyone likes him and his work, including actors from the industry. If somebody is from cinema, they worship him. If somebody is not from cinema, they believe him.

Apart from him, I like the subtlety of Ajith and his performance on screen. It is very rare to see certain people do very little and take away the cake. He is into a vast community of commercial cinema. But yet he maintains that divine subtlety throughout. He is someone who can come on screen the way he actually is without camouflaging his looks, grace or anything. This needs guts and I admire the fact that somebody can be so gutsy. Everybody does all things to look younger, but here is Ajith who does not care about these things. This needs confidence.

I have also been a great fan of Vikram as an actor. I think that man has got the potentials like madness. If given a right script and a right platform he can deliver. I was amazed seeing his I. To think of a project going on for two years, to maintain the intensity is something amazing. He delivers flawless performance and is a package of talent.