Sundeep Kishan awaits the theatrical release of the period romantic gangster actioner 'Michael' this Friday (February 3). Director Ranjit Jeyakodi is making his pan-India debut with the film.
In this interview, the 'A1 Express' actor talks about working with an ensemble cast (read Gautam Menon, Vijay Sethupathy, Varun Sandesh and Anasuya Bharadwaj), heroine Divyansha Kaushik, why he thinks the film can't flop, and more.
Sundeep is extremely confident that the film will surely click. "I analyze everything in detail. It is impossible that 'Michael' will fail. Even in the worst-case scenario, people are going to say it's just okayish," the actor says in this interview, adding that the producers didn't mind the budget going over and above the planned figure. "Despite the budgetary spikes, they haven't desisted from going all out with promotions," Sundeep adds.
We are satisfied with the output and it is for the first time that I am doing a pan-India movie. In terms of content and visual flavour, the movie is special. We felt duty-bound to work diligently and cautiously. The film will be visually exciting, the action scenes are fresh... The realistic treatment will surely excite the audience. The entire action style is real. The hand-to-hand combats will definitely impress the audience.
Michael is calm and at the same time, he is aggressive when he rages on. He would be like that even if he were not a gangster. Most of the situations that have been shown in the film don't take place in the life of an individual like me. This is so unlike my previous movies. Michael is a lonely person with some eccentricities. This is the first time that I played a character of this sort. He talks less.
This is an emotional film. It's a love story that takes place between dark, dangerous, and bad people. The story is set in the gangster world of the 1980s and 90s. There is also a dose of dark comedy. The love track is conversational in nature, eliciting humour.
This is not primarily a gangster drama like a 'Raktha Charitra'. It's an emotional journey for some characters. The vibes are different. It's like a person's story where one phase of his life is narrated to heightened levels. The narrative style is a surprise package. After watching the first copy, I had tears in my eyes. The director, the cinematographer worked so much hard that my effort pales in comparison!
I have dubbed for my character in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.
The casting choices were collaborative in nature. Vijay Sethupathi was an obvious choice. The character played by Gautam Menon was supposed to be played by a Bollywood artist. He couldn't do it. So, casting Menon was a tricky choice. He is an expensive casting choice, actually. They did 'Michael' because they trusted my judgment, thanks to my track record. Anasuya is another terrific artist; one must appreciate her for playing the role. Varun Sandesh's character was supposed to be played by Rahul Ramakrishna, but he was busy with 'RRR' at that time. I suggested Varun's name because we have never seen him in a role of this sort. He was a sport.
The heroine had to be someone who has to look beautiful, is sort of a dangerous person, and at the same time likable. Divyansha proved to be a perfect choice.
I observed a rigorous diet regimen for 18 days for an episode where I have to look too weak physically. I was given physiotherapy because my legs were too weak.
It's a vast jump for me from 'Ninu Veedani Needanu Nene' to 'Michael'. In the interregnum, the only film that didn't click in any way was 'Gully Rowdy'. I am now picking scripts that can potentially offer a visual experience.
I shot for underwater sequences, and I trained in scuba diving. I learned a lot of things while doing 'Michael'. Seventy-three was the number of working days for which we shot the movie. A good film will work any day.
There have been hits in February. Worldwide, our movie is going to be released on 1500 screens. Those who have watched the movie's pre-release screenings are very much positive in their feedback.
I know the Kollywood culture a little better. Probably, that's why I am inclined to work with Tamil filmmakers. 'Michael' couldn't have happened without me trusting the director and the director trusting me. You need some experience to deliver a big-scale movie with this kind of budget. I don't care which industry my director belongs to. I value him as long as he trusts me and my abilities. Films made by Kollywood directors have worked in Telugu, but the other way around hasn't happened much unless it is an SS Rajamouli you are talking about.
A lot of Kollywoodians trust me. That's why I am doing Dhanush anna's 'Captain Miller'. They show affection towards me. And it's my duty to satisfy them by doing whatever I can. I am giving my all. I would have dubbed for my character in 'Michael' in Hindi even if it didn't release in theatres. The least I can do is speak the language.
I am next going to do the craziest character in a film. The announcement will be made by the makers themselves soon. It will an unexpected announcement from that director. I am one of the leads. Who the other lead is will surprise you.