I’ve worked hard to reach where I am, says Sundeep Kishan as his new film releases today
Sundeep Kishan is a tad nervous before the release of Ra Ra Krishnayya, which comes after the successful Venkatadri Express. The nervousness has got less to do with bettering the box office run of Venkatadri Express and more to do with consolidating his reputation. “So far, all my films barring one (Mahesh, dubbed from his Tamil film Yaaruda Mahesh), have all received fairly good reviews. Credibility matters to me than just box office numbers,” he says. That view is not out of place, when one looks at his filmography, which includes Deva Katta’s Prasthanam, Raj Nidimoru and Krish DK’s directorial Shor in the City and production D for Dopidi and Kumar Nagendra’s Gundello Godari.
Sundeep pitches Ra Ra Krishnayya as his first love story. Guessing the puzzled looks that statement would elicit, he is quick to explain, “Routine Love Story was a satire. I am not a huge fan of love stories. It’s tough for me to be convinced that a love story will work. P. Mahesh came to me with a show reel and a script, which I wasn’t convinced about. Later, he approached me with the script of Ra Ra Krishnayya, which I felt had the right blend of emotions and comedy.”
The film sees Sundeep team up with Regina Cassandra for the second time and he concedes the familiarity led to a good on-screen chemistry. “We’ve been friends for three years, since the making of Routine Love Story. This time on the sets, I realised we were in sync with each other. Regina has a fantastic role. The girl plays a dominant part in the story and the guy, who has an understated role, gives into frustration at times giving rise to funny moments,” says Sundeep.
Sundeep also shares screen time with Jagapati Babu, who he says “plays a hilarious character, something he hasn’t done after Hanuman Junction and Anthapuram.” Sundeep says the ‘mass comedy’ works as a sub plot. “Besides the main story, I look for a sub plot which makes any film endearing. In Bommarillu, the father-son relationship works as a subplot, politics is the sub plot in Raanjhana and family ties does it in a love story like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge,” he elaborates.
The characters in Ra Ra Krishnayya, reveals Sundeep, are urban and placed in a rustic backdrop. “Director Mahesh has sketched each character so well and has done an even better job of translating it on screen,” he adds.
Sundeep has worked with a number of new directors — Merlapaka Gandhi, Kumar Nagendra, Siraj Kalla and A.N. Bose to name a few — and says working with new directors gives him a high.
An MBA in marketing, Sundeep approached filmmaker Gautam Menon to become an actor. “He wanted me to join his team. I worked as an assistant director and learnt more of what not to do than what to do. His sets were my film school. I might have been one of his worst ADs, but the experience enriched me,” reflects Sundeep. “I’ve always been passionate about cinema and have struggled to reach where I am today. Some people think I would have had it easy being the nephew of Chota K. Naidu, but that didn’t fetch me roles. Since I’ve been lucky to be part of films like Prasthanam, Shor in the City and Gundello Godari, I get some of the best scripts. But not all these scripts are backed by producers. I look to work with people who are passionate about cinema.”
For more than a year, DK Bose has been awaiting release for financial reasons and the actor says, “It’s a mass comedy with a new concept. I believe in the film and hope it releases soon. Director A.N. Bose has done a wonderful job.”
A few months ago, Sundeep also produced the endearing short film Silent Melody, directed by Prashant Varma. Now working on Kumar Nagendra’s next film Joru, Sundeep says, “In these six years as an actor, I haven’t made much money but have earned goodwill. I hope Ra Ra Krishnayya does well and keeps me in good stead.”