Interview Movies

Sudheer Babu steps it up

Sudheer Babu in a still from ‘V’   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Sudheer Babu’s first collaboration with director Mohana Krishna Indraganti was the heartwarming Telugu romance drama Sammohanam (2018). In V, their second Telugu film together, the director-actor duo explore a new realm — a neo noir mystery action drama. Sudheer plays the cop while Nani is the antagonist. As V gears up to stream on Amazon Prime from September 5, Sudheer is waiting to see how the thriller, which they hoped would elicit whistles in theatres, will be received online. “We wanted to wait till theatres reopen, but we had to adapt to circumstances. V will stream in 200 countries. We were also told that one in five viewers are likely to be from outside India. This gives us scope to reach a new audience,” says the actor. Edited excerpts from the interview:

Director Mohana Krishna Indraganti mentioned that it was tougher to cast an actor for the cop role. When did he approach you?

I was dubbing for Sammohanam when he casually narrated an outline of the story. Mohan sir has a few stories and likes to discuss them. It was an informal conversation. I asked who are the actors he has in mind and he said Mahesh Babu and Pawan Kalyan. After the project began to take shape, I knew that Nani was on board as the antagonist. Then Mohan sir asked if I would like to play the cop. He trusted in me and believed that I can enact any kind of role. I take it as a compliment.

You have played the bad guy before, in Baaghi (Hindi).

Yes, I choose different roles in each film and try not to have an image. For V, had I been given the chance to choose a part, I would have still preferred to be the cop. The story revolves around two strongly motivated characters who go to any extent to do what they believe in.

You tweaked your fitness routine for V. Can you tell us about it?

I was bulkier during Baaghi. Mohan sir wanted me to be lean, muscular and agile. I asked if he had a reference in mind and he said Brad Pitt from Fight Club. That was a big motivation. I had to look like a regular guy and my ripped muscles had to be visible only when I took my shirt off. Not many know that to become leaner, you first need to bulk up and then lose it.

There was a video of you pushing an SUV as part of the training…

That was during an interim period, about a month before we began filming. My trainer Ali likes to make me do something new from time to time, to break the routine and keep the energy levels up. V has action sequences that happen organically. The fitness routine helped me to be prepared.

Sudheer Babu and Vennela Kishore (in the background) in ‘V’

Sudheer Babu and Vennela Kishore (in the background) in ‘V’   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

You were a badminton player before you became an actor. Did the fitness journey become easier, given your sports background?

It did. We have a lot of actors here who work hard to hone their craft and fitness. But the sports knowledge gave me an edge... I knew what regimen to follow. I believe that one should always be on the path to fitness so as to adapt to any given role easily. While filming outdoors, we spend long hours in different weather conditions. Staying fit helps me sustain those long hours and be attentive.

What’s the update on the Pullela Gopichand biopic?

It’s in the pipeline. I have observed Gopichand from close quarters and it’s an honour to play his part. Badminton cannot be learnt overnight; it takes years of training. Quite a bit of story will unfold as the sport is being played, so the film requires an actor who has the skill set. I am confident that I can give it my best.

During lockdown, you shared videos of you reciting dialogues from Alluri Seetarama Raju and Daana Veera Soora Karna. Do you do these exercises often?

It’s part of my routine. I pick up dialogues and situations from classics and try enacting them to further my craft. Just that I hadn’t shared the videos on social media earlier.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 11:56:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/sudheer-babu-on-playing-the-cop-in-v-and-how-brad-pitt-from-fight-club-was-his-motivation/article32472050.ece

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