2.0 actor Sudhanshu Pandey on working with Rajinikanth: ‘It was a life-changing experience

Sudhanshu Pandey, who debuted in the Tamil film industry with actor Ajith-starrer Billa II, is back once again with Rajinikanth-starrer upcoming magnum opus 2.0. “Whatever happening to me now in South cinema is because of Billa II, which is a big franchise and as we all know, Ajith is a legendary star in Tamil cinema. When Shankar sir’s office called me for an audition in 2.0, I was told that they saw Billa II and liked my performance in the film,” says Sudhanshu, in an exclusive interview to Firstpost.

Recalling his first meeting with director Shankar, Sudhanshu says, “I was called for a look test and met Shankar sir for the first time at his office. To give a new look to me, Shankar sir flew down a special hairstylist from Mumbai. He had a lot of options in mind and it took nearly six hours for him to finalise my look in 2.0. In that one-day meet, I came to know that the man I’m going to work with is a perfectionist.”

When asked to compare the perfection quotient of Shankar with other directors, the Billa II villain says, “Each one’s definition of perfection varies but talking about Shankar sir, he would make his actors perform the same scene 100 times. You may not know why but Shankar exactly knows what he wants from his actors and he wouldn’t leave you until he gets the required expression”.

Confirming the news that he plays the son of Dr Bohra, the Guru of Dr Vaseegaran (scientist Rajinikanth from the first part), Sudhanshu says, “Yes, I play Dr Bohra’s son in 2.0 and he is strongly motivated by evil intentions.” He adds that he will be seen as a scientist who has a pivotal role in the film.

Sudhanshu and Akshay Kumar have worked in many films in the past. When asked him whether there is a combination scene with Akshay, Sudhanshu says, “Towards the end, there is a combinations scene between me and Akshay. For me, working with Akshay is like meeting my brother after a long time. Though we don’t meet often, Akshay is a funny chap, and as he also knows Punjabi, we often crank jokes and hang out on the sets. Also, Akshay is very simple and I like him for his humility”.

The Meaghamann actor says working with Rajinikanth was an enlightening experience for him. “Just like how Gauthama Buddha got his enlightenment under Bodhi tree, working with Rajini sir has become a life-changing moment for me. My perspective on life has changed now. If you carefully observe Rajini sir, it could be a turning point in your life. I’m running out of words to describe the kindness in his eyes and his spiritual thoughts. As I’m also a spiritual person by nature, we had various conversations about spirituality on the sets,” says the actor.

When asked him to share a memorable moment with Rajinikanth, the actor says, “Well, there were many such moments but on the last day of the shoot, Rajinikanth sir presented me a book titled Living With The Himalayan Masters, with a handwritten note wishing me a great success in life. He also told that the book changed his life so insisted me to read it. Getting that gift from Rajinikanth sir like winning Academy Award because he thought I’m worthy enough to have that precious book”.

Interestingly, once Rajinikanth also presented the same book to actor Ajith, with whom Sudhanshu worked with in Billa II. Comparing Ajith and Rajinikanth, Sudhanshu says, “Both are extremely humble and they stay grounded despite achieving great heights. I’m sure everyone in Chennai knows about the greatness of these two stars”.

Denying rumours on him playing the villain in Kichcha Sudeep’s Kotigobba 3, Sudhanshu says, “I’m not a part of that film but currently acting as the main antagonist in a Tamil film starring Prabhu Deva. However, I can’t divulge more details on the project now”.