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Sudheer Babu: South actors couldn't market themselves in Bollywood

Sudheer Babu says he is trying hard to stay in demand in the Hindi film industry and survive the competition

Following rave reviews for his role as a villain in the recently-released Baaghi, Telugu actor Sudheer Babu says he feels "accepted" by the Hindi filmdom. In a tête-à-tête with hitlist, he compares Bollywood with its Southern cousin and talks about what he’s doing differently to stay in demand here. Excerpts:

Sudheer Babu
Sudheer Babu

Q. Many actors from the South have tried their luck in Bollywood, but hardly has anyone been able to sustain their stardom here...
A. I won’t name anyone, but many actors with potential have done Bollywood films and have even been recognised for their performances. But they did not understand how this industry functions. So, actors from South couldn’t market themselves in Bollywood.

But I am aware that it is important to market yourself properly and am focusing on that aspect apart from just making an impact with my acting abilities. I am constantly meeting people and also taking tips from a few people to understand how I need to function here and sustain my market value.

Q. Were you in two minds about debuting here with a negative role?
A. I always knew that this industry accepts and encourages good roles and performances. But, in the South, they worship only the hero; other key characters are sidelined. I had never played a role like this over there and so, wanted to experiment here.

Q. Are filmmakers down there not experimental enough or is the audience not ready to accept change?
A. Filmmakers have tried to come up with new concepts on and off, but those films didn’t work. The audience only wants to see the hero beating up the villain and dance with the heroines.
But things will change there, eventually. Bollywood lags behind Hollywood, but it is also progressing in its own way. Similarly, South film industry will also move forward even though it is slow.

Q. Will you be here for some more time and see how it works?
A. Yes, I am meeting people, and a few films are on the verge of being finalised. However, I will continue doing films down South. But if there is a content-based role here and a South film offer that is not as good, I will always choose the better film.

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