Sometime back in 2019, Sundeep came up with the idea to make an action love story keeping with the style of present-day filmmaking. This sowed the seeds for his upcoming raw action entertainer Michael. Keeping the plot under his hat, Sundeep sums up the narrative as “Rambo in Love.” When he was on the lookout for a suitable director, he happened to watch Ranjit Jeyakodi’s Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum (2019). Having loved his style of filmmaking, Sundeep pitched the idea to Jeyakodi who wrote the complete story of Michael. The actor says, “I was blown away by the script. It had all the elements that I had in mind when I pitched the idea.”
Sundeep had to go through multiple transformations for this action flick, which co-stars Vijay Sethupathi, Divyansha Kaushik and Gautam Vasudev Menon. But he doesn’t look at this as hard work. “I play a 16-year-old, a 22-year-old and then a 29-year-old in the film. I really enjoyed the process and the strength stems from the fact that I love my job and I consider myself very lucky to be doing this. More than hard work, it is about satisfaction,” says the actor, who adds that putting extra effort into a film and being recognised for the hard work gives him a high.
After a few films, actors are inevitably boxed into certain kinds of films, he says.“Knowingly or unknowingly, a web is formed around you. When such things happen, you should break the web and show what else you can do.” And to do that, he rewatched all his previous films that failed to make an impact and did a self-analysis of where they went wrong. “Maybe I wasn’t my fittest or the best in terms of the looks of my characters. I don’t know why but I know it is my fault.” This realisation, the actor believes, helped him look at himself and find out if he was in his best form before looking at the bigger picture. “An advantage I had with Michael is that every day, besides seeing how much hard work I was putting in, I wanted to match the amount of effort put in by Ranjit and the team because what they were doing was way tougher,” he says.
The actor looks at films like Michael as a catalyst that helps him push boundaries. “In one sequence, I am all shirtless and completely bruised with blood, and while shooting the scene at the time, I had some issues with my right leg. There was fire all around. But it was amazing. I want to deliver this kind of cinema which is very commercial but comes with a certain vibe. Choosing to do a film like Michael is me trying to find the best in myself. To be very honest, Michael for me, in a lot of ways, is respect.”