His disappearance from Hindi cinema after the success of ‘Rang De Basanti, had surprised many but actor Siddharth, who was busy building a career down south, says he is back in Bollywood and for good.

The actor, who played a disillusioned youth alongside Aamir Khan, R Madhavan and Sharman Joshi in Raykesh Omprakash Mehra’s 2006 blockbuster, is making a comeback in Bollywood with ‘Striker’, which will hit theatres on February 5.

“To be very honest, I had just become a star in south before RDB happened. I could not completely abandon that. I have really worked hard to ensure my place in Southern cinema,” Siddharth told PTI in an interview.

“Now that I am an established star there. I can afford to spend time and make a mark in Hindi cinema. But make no mistake. I am here to stay. I don’t want to be just another guy. I want to be respected and loved as much as I am in Telugu and Tamil film industry,” Siddharth said.

The actor, began his journey in the films as an assistant director in Mani Ratnam’s ‘Kannathil Muthamittal’ but turned down some big offers from Bollywood to concentrate on his career in Tamil and Telugu films post ‘Rang De Basanti’

But 30-year-old Siddharth is confident that ‘Striker’, which is based on a true story about a carrom player from Mumbai’s ghettos, will not only help him become a star but also establish his credentials as a solo actor.

Set in 1980’s, the film has been directed by Chandan Arora, whose previous credits include ‘Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chchti Hoon’ and ‘Main Meri Patni Aur Woh’ It is releasing on February 5.

‘Striker’ also stars Aditya Pancholi, south Indian actress Padma Priya and Anupam Kher in key roles.

Siddharth, who enjoys the status of a heartthrob in the Southern cinema thanks to his romantic roles, is looking forward to a similar fan following in Bollywood.

“I have seen lot of stardom in the South where they follow me as a ‘matinee idol’ I need the same in Hindi cinema. Movies like ‘Rang De Basanti’ and ‘Striker’ happen once in a life time and I am keen to take it forward,” the actor said.

“Striker is almost a sure shot film for me. I know I sound very confident but you have to see the film to believe me. I think it is the best performance of my career,” he said.

Siddharth is looking forward to a variety of roles in Bollywood and says he has some big films but will talk about them post the release of ‘Striker’

“I am looking at doing different kind of roles. Down south I am known as a romantic chocolaty hero, that’s a genre I have become a specialist. So it is more challenging to do a film like Striker which is more dramatic and peformance oriented film. I don’t like being closeted. I want to be an actor first and star later,” he said.

Siddharth has worked in Mani Ratnam’s ‘Aayutha Ezhuthu’, ’Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana’, ‘Chukkallo Chandrudu’ Vishal Bhardwaj’s short film ‘Blood Brothers’ and ‘Rang De Basanti’.