Model-turned-actor Sudhanshu Pandey made a big splash when he arrived into Tamil cinema in 2012 as the villain in Billa 2. After a break, he’s returning South in this week’s Indrajith, and is also a part of the biggie, Rajinikanth’s 2.0. He calls Indrajith an action-adventure, and says it’s a complete package. “It’s got action, drama, comedy, romance… It’s a perfect family entertainer.”
Is he playing a villain again? “My character, Kapil Sharma, is a high-profile government officer. I don’t know if I can call the character a villain, but it’s definitely going to be perceived as a negative character until the end when the story becomes something else,” he smiles. There have been some comparisons with the Indiana Jones franchise, given the promotional material of this film, but Sudhanshu will have none of it. “Indiana Jones is a cult adventure film, and so, whenever anybody makes a film in that genre, there will always be comparisons. Frankly speaking, it’s an honour to be compared with such a film.”
Sudhanshu says that the action sequences will be the highlight of the film. “We have shot in the jungles of Kerala in very difficult situations. We used tables and moving jeeps for the sequences involving Gautham Karthik and me,” he says. “One stunt in particular proved to be so difficult that we shot it for at least a week. The result will be evident for everyone to see.”
Sudhanshu thinks it’s important for him to be cautious about the roles he accepts. “I’m not a 22-year-old anymore (laughs), and so, the characters I pick have got to be mature. They have to challenge my creativity and be mentally stimulating.” But he realises it isn’t useful for his career to have lengthy gaps in between films. “Even in Hindi, I haven’t done much work in the last couple of years. Indrajith has taken almost four years to make due to the post-production work proving to be challenging. I have to work on avoiding such gaps,” he says.
The actor, who juggles Hindi and South films, was also part of a Hollywood film, The Myth starring Jackie Chan. “Ultimately, regardless of language, all that matters is a desire to make a good film.” But he is convinced Tamil cinema is the best of the lot. “I’ve had the best experience here. I’ve fallen in love with how things work here. There is just so much passion. That’s probably why there’s so much quality in Tamil cinema content.”
Though he gets offered the villain role, he constantly strives to differentiate between them. “There’s got to be something different about each of those characters. In Billa 2, I played a sophisticated don who approaches life with a been-there-done-that attitude. In Meagamann, I played a cold-blooded villain whose face is damaged — I had to use prosthetics for the role. And in Indrajith and 2.0, it’s again something different. All these are films in which if you removed my character, the story collapses.”
“I was a part of India’s first boy band, Band Of Boys. We are now on the verge of coming out with a single after a decade. I look forward to the release of the video.”