The cricketer in Kiccha Sudeep thrives amidst all hurdles

If you have your passion intact then nothing can stop you from living a dream. Kiccha Sudeep is one of the superstars of Indian cinema but the Kannada actor aspired to make it big in cricket before turning to the silver screen.

An engineer by qualification, Sudeep attended acting workshops in Mumbai to hone himself as an actor but before all of this he was a university-level cricketer and has represented his state’s Under-17 and Under-19 sides. In fact, he played the game to earn money during his struggling phase.

In an interview with The Hindu in 2010, Sudeep said: “I never took money from the family after standard 10. I used to work in a clothes store, played cricket for money, did photo shoots. It was that period of struggle, which gave me the experience to be an actor. The emotions have to come from the raw material of life.

Sudeep represents the word ‘multi-talented’ in its literal way and the once cricketer won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor — Kannada for three consecutive years for his films Huchcha (2001), Nandhi (2002) and Swathi Muthu (2003).

While his acting career reached soaring heights, he soon became a popular face across the county with sporadic appearances in Bollywood. But did he compromise on his cricketing passions?

With the inception of Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) in 2011, Sudeep lived the dream he longed for. He led the Karnataka Bulldozers to the runners-up position. In his CCL debut he scored an unbeaten 26-ball 37 against Mumbai Heroes. In 2013 and 2014, he led the side to title triumphs.

Playing against non-cricket celebrities might have been an easy proposition for someone who has played the game at a good level. He tried his hand in professional cricket and appeared for the Rockstars in Karnataka Premier League (KPL) — a high-profile domestic league involving top players from the champion state.

Sudeep is currently leading Rockstars in the KPL, a team that comprises of former Karnataka greats Sunil Joshi and David Johnson. He scored four ducks in the last season, of which three were consecutive. On one of these occasions, “mystery spinner” KC Cariappa of Bijapur Bulls dismissed him. In the current edition, from 3 innings he has managed only 13.

His 14-year marriage with Priya Radhakrishnan recently ended in a divorce. Interestingly, his divorce took place on September 11 — during the KPL. He was asked to pay alimony of INR 19 crores and to surrender the custody of his daughter.

With his personal life in docks, the passionate cricketer in him stood out and he turned up for the game against Bijapur Bulls on Sunday. He is not getting younger at 42; juggling his career between films, television, events business, and playback singing, Sudeep’s focus is still on KPL.

With 5 loses and a no-result from 6 games, Rockstars are at bottom of the league table; but it would take more than that to keep Sudeep down. Cricket means too much to him.

 

 

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sportsmarketer , strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)