With choices like ‘Bhale Manchi Roju’ and ‘Shamanthakamani’ proving his mettle as an actor, Sudheer Babu is in an interesting phase of his career. Which is why when Indraganti Mohana Krishna approached him with the script of ‘Sammohanam’, he didn’t want to take chances and wanted his besties Vijay Challa and Shashi Devireddy to shepherd it under their 70MM Entertainments. But the director was already committed to make the project for Sivalenka Prasad’s Sridevi Movies, which produced his ‘Gentleman’ earlier. “I told Indraganti garu that Vijay and Shashi will make and market the film well, but he assured me that Sivalenka Prasad will be equal to the task. I was convinced and as the shoot progressed, Prasad garu surpassed my expectations. I wouldn’t mind doing another film for him,” Sudheer notes in a conversation with telugu360.com.
He gleefully recalls that he was supposed to team with Indraganti for his second film but the film didn’t materialize. In fact, the director pitched him a script even before his maiden film as a lead – ‘SMS’ (Shiva Manasulo Shruti) – opened. “He watched ‘SMS’ in a private screening and later met me with the script of ‘Oohalu Gusagusalade’. It was penned by Srinivas Avasarala, while Indraganti wanted to helm. A producer too was in place to pool in resources for the project but I backed out of it,” he flashbacks.
Besides the Indraganti factor, it was the script and the chance to play a role – a children’s book illustrator– that he never played before, drove him to green-lit the Friday slotted ‘Sammohanam’. “It is easily the most challenging role that I’ve played in my career till now. Vijay (the part’s name) is idealistic, speaks in chaste Telugu and is into literature. I usually take a considerable time to prep for my parts but I couldn’t find any person with Vijay’s similarities, so I copied Indraganti, who as everyone knows is a man of principles and has a great grip over Telugu,” he admits, adding that it is easy to dramatize a part because you know the highs and lows but it’s difficult to play it naturally. “I guess I’ve kept the character as real as possible. Normally we actors take four to five days for dubbing but I took 25 days to complete the dubbing for this film.”
Admittedly, he is in awe of Indraganti, saying that every actor should work with the auteur. “I was so in love with the mood he created on sets that I had to call my people up to show it. On his sets, actors are kings and he simply loves them. He gives those right cues to get the best out of you. I can do 100 films with him,” he raves, going on to add that when Indraganti spoke of him in high esteem at the film’s recent pre-release event, he couldn’t speak much on stage. “When he said that he chose me purely on my merit and that I was his most favourite actor, I felt I achieved something and got emotional. I think my career is on the right track.”
He adds with an air of confidence that his performance in the romantic drama, which features Aditi Rao Hydari alongside him, is his best till date. “After every film, I felt I could’ve done a better job with some scenes but with his film, there are no such feelings at all. I doubt whether I can better this performance in the future,” he exults.
Sudheer has recently started his production house Sudheer Babu Productions and the first film from the banner, directed by debutant RS Naidu, is 80 per cent through. The idea is to encourage new talent, he maintains. “I’ve seen a lot of talented people crushing their dreams and going back to their native places and doing jobs that don’t interest them. I’ve made a promise to myself that if I ever set up a production house, I’d tap such talent and my first project is in that direction,” he ends.