Excerpts from a conversation between Kichcha Sudeepa and Kairam Vaashi
20 years in an industry where one's life can change every Friday, and you're still you're one of the biggest stars we have…
What explains this longevity?
Be honest. Be honest with your work. It takes a lot to be honest, because there are definitely going to be phases of life that will make you want to react badly, react in a different manner. See, we can never plan this journey, nobody can say that, if I am around for 20 – 25 years, it's my hard work, etc. I think time needs to be kind, you need to get a little lucky with everything and you definitely feel like the chosen one by the end of it. You start feeling grateful towards all those people who still come to the theatre, gratitude towards time and then you feel less arrogant about your achievements, and realise you just got really lucky. There definitely has been a lot of hard work, there's definitely has been focus, there's definitely has been a lot of sacrifices. I would not say it's only luck, that also adds on. Now, how do I decide whether it is this or that. It has taken me 24 years, I don't know and I don't want to know, I will just enjoy what is coming my way, I still feel so happy that this relationship with cinema is still on. It is still around, it still loves me, and I love the world.
It's a happy marriage…
It's a very beautiful relationship and it is still going strong.
Why not analyse that, is it because good things aren't meant to be analysed?
You can't get an answer, Kairam, unless and until you are happy settling with one answer that you like. We all like to hear what we like to hear, don't we? So, that way you may just hear, 'Sir, it's you Sir, your stardom Sir, your talent Sir…' If you like to hear that, there are plenty around.
So, you make an effort to ensure that the right kind of people are around you?
Yes, because I always had the wrong types and I never realised it. Nobody knows what's right or wrong, till they happen. I am not somebody who judges or is going to be judgmental about certain people. They all gave me the opinions that I have today. So, go with the flow, you'll know what is right and wrong someday, and act accordingly.
If I am right, you started off acting in a TV serial…
No, I started my career with a film called Brahma. I finished the shooting on January 31, 1996, at the floor in Kantirava, but that film did not get completed. After that, I did O Kusuma Bale, which met the same fate, then I did Thayavva, which went on for a long time. It ran for three days, and that's when I headed to television.
With Premada Kaadambari…
Today, you're a real pan-India star from Karnataka. But even before that, other regional language films were inviting you to work with them. From then to now, has anything changed?
Yeah, things do change, things have changed. I have changed, my perspectives have changed. we all keep changing. If you meet me in another three years, there will be more changes. It starts with your thoughts, your age, your growth, bank balance.
Today does Sudeep even have the time to sit back, look back and appreciate what life has given him?
Today is when I have time. I never used to have time earlier, because I would always be chasing something or someone. I lost most of my time chasing, and one day realised that I am chasing something that is running away from me. At the same time, I was running away from what was beside me, and following me. So, you slow down, not because you can't catch up, but because things and people who you left behind need to catch up with you. But, you feel good, because people and your destiny are telling you that they are there for you, so why look elsewhere? It might sound philosophical, but after I slowed down, I saw a better life, better career, people who wanted to work with me, everything…
There's a lot of learning?
Yes, I've done my share of mistakes, be it selection regarding certain things, decisions, speaking about a co-star… One day, you realise that what works is not fighting someone but protecting what you have. Battles cause deaths. We should protect what is given to us, those with us, and stay happy.
What helped you develop this perspective? Life itself, reading or anything else?
Life. I don't read books, I am very bad at reading. I love to see people reading books and the way they are reading tempts me to read. But then I open the book, and on the third page I forget the characters, I go back and check… it doesn't work well for me. For me, it's about the right question you need to ask yourself. You'll get the answer. I can think of two reasons why I struggle to read: I am a visual person; I can listen to a story narration for hours. I can't follow someone else's perspective in a book; instead, I think I should lead a life that will be worth a book someday.