Telugu-Tamil actor Sundeep Kishan’s latest release Next Enti may not have performed as well as expected. But he is unfazed.
“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 and Tamannaah Bhatia.”
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 Tamannaah 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, The Ghazi Attack and Goodachari…all game-changers. So, it’s not as though the audience in Andhra Pradesh 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 Anya Singh that very talented girl from 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 Tenali Ramkrishna BABL with Hansika Motwani.”
Though Sundeep has done films in Tamil and Hindi, he regards Telugu as his home ground. “I was born and brought up in Andhra. 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 and 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 and DK are planning something completely out of the box for me in Hindi.”
Meanwhile, Sundeep is pleased that most of his Tamil and Telugu films are dubbed in Hindi. “I was shooting in Kashmir and I was very surprised when the locals recognised me as the guy in Prasthanam, my first release which is now being remade into Hindi or the guy in Maanagaram. They had seen most of my Telugu and Tamil films dubbed in 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 signed off.