Actor Sudesh Berry, who hasn't had a successful run in Bollywood, is looking forward to his Mollywood debut, Second Show
Bitter, frustrated and cynical! Sudesh Berry couldn't help sounding so. With a Bollywood career that has not seen too many hits despite his unmistakable talent, the actor could not be faulted for his cynicism.
Indeed, the Mollywood debut – in debutante Srinath Rajendran's Second Show, the launch vehicle of Mammotty's son Dulquer Salman – has come as a whiff of fresh air, he admits. “I call that destiny,” says Sudesh, better remembered for his Hindi serials Kashish and Suraag, aired by Doordarshan in its heyday.
A boxer in his college days, it was a tryst with Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) that took him to the arena of films, as an actor. “I don't have any ‘filmi' background or any training. Acting came naturally to me,” he says with confidence.
In tinsel town
However, the lead roles in Vansh and Yudhpath, released in the early 90s, didn't help him make a mark in tinsel town. He has done some 40 films, a majority of which didn't do well! But he takes pride in being a part of three J.P. Dutta movies – Border, Refugee and LOC Kargil.
“I am an intuitive actor. I have been the tortoise of the industry and have never been a part of the rat race. I must be the only actor who has never visited any producer for any role. My PR skills are weak. People even say I'm a snob…,” he goes on. Sudesh lists every big name in Bollywood, saying: “I am close to all of them, but have never approached any of them for a role.”
He is quite flustered with his son Sooraj's debut film, Little Godfather, produced by Ekta Kapoor, lying in the cans. “Ekta has released all her other films, but not this one…I know Sooraj is good… I don't know why she isn't releasing it,” he says. He has even launched a production house, apparently to support Sooraj.
It was his friendship with Srikanth, founder of AOPL, which is producing Second Show, that brought him to Malayalam cinema. “I've been treated like a God here. Cinema is more or less a religion for Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam audiences. But you can't say the same about Bollywood,” he says.
Sudesh plays Vishnubudhan, a character with negative shades, in Second Show. “We wanted a new face to play the negative character. Sudesh's name came up for discussion since the producer knew him. We felt he would be perfect for the role. As a young boy, I thoroughly enjoyed watching him play the investigating officer in the serial Suraag,” says Srinath Rajendran, director of Second Show.
Sudesh had just a few days shooting in Kozhikode. “He struggled with the language. But we are happy with casting him, his role stands out in the movie,” Srinath says. Sudesh can't stop raving about the cast and crew. “They were all so nice. It didn't look like they were all debutants,” he says. Although he is reluctant to divulge details of his role, Sudesh is quite thrilled after seeing the promos. “One good close-up does wonders for an actor, I have found,” he says.
About Dulquer, he says, “It doesn't matter whose son you are, people should appreciate you. Many star sons in Bollywood have flopped. And you have a boy from Delhi who made it big in Bollywood and now calls himself the King, which I don't approve of!”
Television has been a saviour for Sudesh, whose USP has been his baritone and screen presence. However, he isn't doing any serial these days, the last ones being Mata Ki Chowki and Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo. Kashish and Suraag have been the highpoints of his career. His Mr Darcy act in Kashish (as a director who falls in love with the heroine, played by Malavika Tiwari) is still loved. “I am still Rahul for many. I'm 52 now…but the age of my fans is not increasing at all!” he says, breaking into a hearty laugh.