Sonu Sood is one of the few actors in Bollywood who can boast of working across industries, whether it’s Hindi, Telugu, Tamil or Kannada. Slowly but steadily, he has managed to make a place for himself while doing the kind of roles that have been pretty varied. Just when it seemed that he may be forever known as ‘Cheddi Singh‘ post villain, he has shifted genres with ‘Maximum‘. Though the film has seen mixed reviews coming its way, Sonu is willing accolades as an actor despite an array of other veteran actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Mohan Agashe and Vinay Pathak. Over to Sonu.
Was it director Kabir Kaushik’s sensibilities as a director that made you go for ‘Maximum’?
I have seen Kabir’s ‘Seher’ and think it is brilliant. That film deserved to be a success but when it released, were floods in Bombay due to which it couldn’t cover the distance. According to me though, it stays on to be one of the most brilliant cop dramas made till date. Kabir is pretty much aware of the realities of being a cop and that was captured brilliantly in the movie. Now he has grown as a filmmaker and has also started thinking as an audience.
How did you go about approaching the part? After all, there have been far too many cop films in the recent times.
When I read a script, I keep my director’s thought process in mind and try to imbibe the same in my character so that it matches with his overall vision. Also, I kept one thing in mind which is not to go overboard. See, number of times when we make commercial movies, an actor tends to dominate the script and become larger than the script. However, I give myself entirely to the script as I believe it’s not just one person who makes a film; its teamwork coupled with power of the script that makes it happen. We all have to be in synch and it just can’t be a Sonu or a Kabeer film. If together we manage to strike that balance, the job is indeed well done.
No wonder, Vinay Pathak seems to have been roped in for an altogether different characterisation, something which is different from his routine funny man image.
That’s true; Vinay has digressed a lot from his original image. When he heard the script, he was compelled to do it. He simply agreed and stated that he wasn’t left with any other choice but just go for it. He knew that it was very different form his comic image. As an actor he did not want to be in the same shell and was looking at break away from it. ‘Maximum’ gave him an opportunity to play a serious role and for that I would like to give Kabeer good credit since he was able to think of Vinay in such characterisation. None of the characters are negative here; they are just real. Same holds good for Naseer too. They are just common people who did mistakes but not with any malice intentions.
Meanwhile your intentions as an actor seem quite sorted. Other than Bollywood, you seem to be striking good balance down South as well while winning awards and also making good moolah. Happy to be in a situation where you are?
Definitely, it is a huge high and something that I am very proud of. Recently I was in Hyderabad and was with a couple of big stars there. They acknowledged that I was the first North Indian actor who was so well accepted in South. As per them, there is usually a commotion in theatre when I enter the screen. Now that’s quite unusual for a North Indian actor to gain such reception in South. It’s a great achievement for an outsider to be accepted and appreciated out there. So many times you see actors go there to earn money but I have gained more than that. I have learnt what audience acceptance is and that’s a much more enriching learning than anything else that I may have gained money wise. I have been very lucky, my mother’s prayers have been with me and that has done the magic.