On Sudeep’s 50th birthday, five films that made him a force to reckon with

screenmixSeptember 2, 2021

You probably know him from Dabangg 3 as Chulbul Pandey’s enemy. Or the evil man from Puli. You may remember as the guy who played a cameo in director SS Rajampouli’s global hit Baahubali: The Beginning. But, there is more to Sudeep than a few negative roles and cameo he has done in non-Kannada films. He commands a huge fan following that makes him a formidable force at the box office in Karnataka.

Sudeep has been the captain of Karnataka Bulldozers, a team in the celebrity cricket league. He has been the face of Bigg Boss Kannada since its inception eight years ago. He has a slew of box office hits to his name in multiple languages, a feat that gives him a distinctive edge among his peers in Kannada cinema.

As Sudeep turns 50 today, we look at the five Kannada films that showed his ability to perform a variety of roles and turned him into a star.

Huchcha

Director Bala’s Tamil hit Sethu (1999) gave then-struggling actor Vikram his first break and set his career on an upward trajectory. Incidentally, Huchcha, which is the official remake of Sethu, did the same to Sudeep’s career. It was Sudeep’s fourth film and the success of the film made him a household name.

Swathi Muthu

By the time Sudeep did this movie, he had established himself as a bankable commercial actor in Kannada. He had been doing a series of unapologetic over-the-top action movies. It was quite daring for him to take on such an offbeat role very early in his career. Especially, it takes a lot of courage to step into the shoes of Kamal Haasan. This film is a remake of Kamal’s 1986’s cult hit Swati Mutyam. The film follows the story of an autistic person, who is overly dependent on his grandmother. How he finally learn to be independent and fight injustices of the society forms the heart of the film.

Just Maath Maathalli

The urban romance drama was written and directed by Sudeep, who also played the lead role in it. It is one of the most relatable films that Sudeep has ever done. Set in the cosmopolitan culture of Bengaluru, the film reflected the laid back nature of the city and its inhabitants. Sudeep stars as a popular RJ in the film. It is a solid feel-good movie.

Vishnuvardhana

This film could be considered as Sudeep’s only full-fledged comedy in his career. Yes, it gets pretty melodramatic and loud in the climax but chances are you will only remember the humour that cracked you up at the end. Based on the Korean movie Handphone, the film follows Sudeep’s Vishnuvardhana, who wants to become rich quick by cutting corners. Fate presents him an opportunity as he stumbles on a phone, which holds all the business details of a high-profile criminal. Thus begins a cat-and-mouse race.

Eega

This film will remain the crown jewel of Sudeep’s filmography. Written and directed by SS Rajamouli, the film provided a massive scope for Sudeep to deliver an unbridled performance as an evil man. Sudeep has eyes on Nani’s girlfriend, played by Samantha. In order to get her, Sudeep kills Nani in cold blood. Nani later reincarnates as a housefly and comes back to get his vengeance and protect his love. Sudeep could be the evil force but he ends up being the star of this show.