Kichcha Sudeep is a superstar in the Kannada film industry. Alongside being a director/producer and television presenter,he has worked in a clutch of Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films as well. Year 2019 seems to be a good phase for him as Sudeep gets an open-arm reception in Bollywood too and with his films releasing in five languages, including Pehlwaan, where Sunil Shetty plays his guru, and Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, with a huge ensemble cast from the super star Chiranjeevi to Vijay Sethupathi. Kichcha will be seen playing the villain in Dabangg 3,opposite none other than superstar Salman Khan, as well being directed by choreographer-turned-director Prabhudeva. Kichcha met the Mumbai media during the promotional activity of Pehlwaan. Here are excerpts from the one-on-one rendezvous with the star…
You’re working with Salman Khan in Dabangg 3. Tell us something about your experience with him…
Salman is like an older brother to me. I am lucky to have an equation with him, which is not just transactional, a requirement. It feels good to have that kind of relationship.
Have you ever experienced rejection?
I don’t go looking for roles at all so I have never faced any rejections as such. I will never be in that position where I will be rejected. I have never been so ambitious that I would put myself in an awkward position. Whatever work I got, I came, did that work and went home. I do not like to ponder over negative stuff like rejections, etc.I have not been taught to carry negativity.It depends on how you look at things. I think how playing a villain in Dabangg 3, my presence will make someone else look good. So, I go ahead and do it. Besides, we have so much work down South, so we also have to look at that. It’s not just a question of being a superstar down South though. I believe that as people want to watch my films so I have to give them films.
Did you get an open reception in Bollywood?
You can’t say I got an open reception; the scenario at that time was very different. The Hindi and South industries existed on their own then. But doors, for me were opened nevertheless. I have a foundation since the time I worked with director Ram Gopal Varma and so there is familiarity. Ramu called me and gave me work. I met him in Mumbai. I had come to take the remake rights of Sarkar. Then once I met him at a function held in Hyderabad. I will never forget the recognition I gained working with him. I belong to the interiors of Bengaluru. Coming from such a humble place, working with the icon Amitabh Bachchan was indeed a huge opportunity for me. When I was a kid, we would all run to watch his films. I had never expected that, at some point in time, I would ever work with Amitji. Ramu made it happen for me and I will never forget that. Whatever role he offers me, I will do. I have already done a cameo in Rakhtcharitra.
When did you feel the urge to get into acting?
While watching a film in a cinema hall, when I watched people clapping, whistling, etc that drew me towards the art. I had come here to try my hand at direction. But at that age, you tend to believe the advice given to you by everyone. Some advised me saying, “You have great vocals…why don’t you try singing?’ While others said, ‘You have a decent height and a great personality. Why don’t you try acting?’ I did not have any money, still I decided to give acting a shot. My father is a big businessman. But the last time I took money from him was way back in the 10th standard.
Tell us more about the early days...
First, I started doing part-time jobs in warehouses on weekends. My first salary was about Rs 1500. I did not give any gifts to my mother as I had to maintain myself. I had a girlfriend. I used to save money as I wanted to buy her a bike. I didn’t want her to travel by bus. It was not puppy love. In fact, now I am married to her — Priya Radhakrishnan! I bought her a Scooty and that bike is still in our home. In those days, she would be riding the bike while I rode pillion behind her. After that she started working...time goes on.
How good are you as a father?
Bad! I have not been able to give her enough time but whenever possible, I make sure I am there for my daughter. At times it’s only the two of us going out together. I take her to public places with me. If she wishes to eat pizza or anything, I ensure I take her out and treat her to whatever she wishes to relish. But as a father it takes more…you should always be there for them. Especially daughters, they look up to fathers a lot. So, yes, as a father, I think I have failed a little, so I shall not give myself a lot of marks. I do my best when I can.
Do you believe that a woman always sacrifices?
I think it depends,na? Some things you can’t just generalise. It is, first of all, whether you want to stay with each other. That is important, and that thought makes you do things for each other. Then whether he does or she does, it doesn’t matter. Undeniably, the other person should be able to recognise it. I didn’t ignore it.But I think Priya and Saanvi have done better than me as a family. They have always been there. I guess that is why we call it a family. They all adjust with me. It does not mean that I am doing any good for them.
What else in life brings you joy?
I have my own kitchen and I am extremely passionate about cooking. When I stay in Hyderabad, I cook for myself every day. I also bake a lot. I bake things as minimal as buns and bread.
Would you like to be a chef when you stop acting?
Yes, I would like to be a chef after my retirement. I can open a restaurant My father was a hotelier. He was always there,but that does not mean I have learned from him. I have learned from my experience.