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I was craving for respect: Sonu Sood

Sonu Sood seems to be a content man today. After all, he has just completed 10 years in the industry, with several Bollywood and South films next to his name.

The actor has apparently even purchased a Rs 20 crore duplex property in South Mumbai, a move that clearly confirms his sound financial standing. From his debut with Shaheed-E-Azam, Bhagat Singh in 2002 to his recent role as a tough cop in Maximum, Sonu speaks to us about his decade-long career…

Do you think Maximum was the next best logical step after Dabangg?
I would say that an actor needs at least one Maximum once in their career. I am glad that critics have loved my work and I think that while Dabangg gave me the stardom, Maximum has given me the respect that I was craving for.

The critics have compared you to a younger Amitabh Bachchan. Are you flattered?
I think he is too big a legend to be compared. If I even achieve 10 per cent of what he has achieved that I would say that my life is made.

You are said to be the only north Indian actor to establish yourself in the South...
I received the Nandi Award in 2009 for my film Arundhati and I feel that it has been my best performance in South till date. Thankfully, my track record in South comprises 95 per cent hits and it feels good when people say, ‘you are our lucky mascot and you are the only North Indian to establish himself in South’. I have made it a point to at least have two releases there every year. It gives me the freedom to choose among the best in Hindi films.

People feel that you are no longer open to negative or character roles?
I am still open to roles that will take the script forward and where I will be one of the pillars of the story. It can be negative or positive as long as it is an integral character.

What have been the highpoints in your career so far?
Definitely working with some of the biggest directors in the country like Mani Ratnam, Ashutosh Gowarikar, and Sanjay Gupta, not to forget my South director as well. With every film like Aashiq Banaya Aapne, Singh Is Kinng, Jodhaa Akbar, Dabangg and now Maximum, I have tried to take that one step forward and that has worked for me in its own way.

You play Dawood in your next film. How has been the experience?
I would like to say that the combination of Ekta Kapoor and Sanjay Gupta (as co-producers) is like Sachin Tendulkar and Virendar Sehwag, which can never go wrong. I have always maintained that Gupta is one of the finest technicians that we have in the industry today. Gupta presents his actors in a completely different form and the character of Dawood that has been written for the film is something that no one has ever seen before.  

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