Telugu actor Sushanth, who’s basking in the positive reviews he has been getting for ‘Ichata Vahanamulu Niluparadu’, spoke about his decision to quit his engineering studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA, and come back to India.
Cinema is in the actor’s DNA, having the legendary Akkineni Nageswara Rao as his maternal grandfather, producer A.V. Subba Rao as his paternal grandfather and ‘King’ Nagarjuna as his maternal uncle. Engineering therefore had to make way for cinema, despite the “fine” grades Sushanth got while in university.
After his acting debut in the 2008 film ‘Kalidasu’, he kept getting signed up for more projects, but it was his star vehicle, ‘Chi La Sow’, directed by Rahul Ravindran, that went on to win a National Film Award in 2019 for the Best Original Screenplay.
So, was it a good decision to come back to India and pursue acting? “Yes, very much!,” Sushanth said in a conversation with IANS. “I have had my share of ups and downs, but I have matured along the way. I have learnt to deal with stress better and to relax even while working harder.
“I used to stress over doing well and people liking me. I think it was because I was overly eager to please people. Now, I think I will relax and enjoy my work and not worry about results. When ‘Chi La Sow’ won a national award, I felt I was in the right field.”
Reflecting back on how he has changed in the last few years, Sushanth said: “I always loved films, but I did not have the clarity and maturity to understand what to do. I went to the US to pursue my under-graduate studies when I was just 17 and a half. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do and there has been since then a natural progression.
“Fortunately, or unfortunately, I was a very good student. I got into a very good university and my grades were fine, but two years into engineering, I started missing films, India and home.”
The actor remembers the conversation he had with his mother Naga Susheela before boarding the flight back home.
“I was studying Digital Signal Processing in class, but I kept thinking that ‘this is not what I want to do’. It is great knowledge, but this is not what I want to do. I did work in an office as well, because at the end of the college year, I just went along with my friends and got a job. So, I called home and my mother said, ‘If you come back to India, you will never go back. So, just make sure you are not coming home just because you miss home.’ I was not happy and knew that it was not something I wanted to do. I knew that if I came home, it might be a struggle, or fun, but I had to do this,” the actor said.