Sundeep Kishan has proved his calibre in the Telugu film industry in the past decade. His latest release A1 Express happens to be his ambitious project till date and is coincidentally his 25th film. “A1 Express is an emotional project for all of us, we have given our 200 per cent,” says the young star, who lost 14 kilos for this movie.
After his first production venture, Ninu Veedani Needanu Nene, became a decent success, Sundeep officially announced his second project, A1 Express, under his Venkatadri Talkies banner. The film is helmed by newcomer Dennis Jeevan Kanukolanu. Sundeep played the lead role, along with Lavanya Tripathi, apart from producing it, while Murali Sharma, Rao Ramesh, Priyadarshi and Rahul Ramakrishna appear in supporting roles.
With a sense of pride that A1 Express is among the first in Telugu cinema that deals with hockey, Sundeep also explained that the film is the remake of the hit Tamil sports flick, Natpe Thunai. Although A1 Express is a remake, the creators have made it significantly different from the original version, he says.
“When we thought of doing a movie on hockey, many said that there would not be many fans for this game. And the funda is like, if you are a cricket fan, you will watch a film on cricket, but my answer to it is, for all Indians, hockey is akin to patriotism. It’s India’s national game. Everybody say that we worked in this film like our first film, as well as like our last film; we wanted to create a benchmark. How best and what best we can deliver is what we did,” says Sundeep, adding that film completed its shooting in 40 days.
The sports drama-comedy film is co-produced by TG Vishwa Prasad, Abhisekh Agarwal, Vivek Kuchibhotla and Sundeep Kishanm, and the story deals with the issues of corruption and nepotism in sports. “We had under 18 and under 21 original State and National players in this film, and after seeing their dedication towards the game and their hard work, I am now sponsoring three National athletes,” shares Sundeep, who practised hockey for six months. The actor is also planning to help Warangal-based hockey trainer Rakesh, who is training 40 underprivileged players for free.
Talking about the emotion linked with hockey, Sundeep says, “My mom works for All India Radio and when she was working as a transmission engineer for the Netherlands vs Pakistan hockey match, that was the first-ever sport I saw in grounds,” says Sundeep who also thanked the audience for accepting him.
“Telugu audiences receive any good film very well. For example, after Covid when the theatres were opened worldwide, in terms of ratio, Telugu audiences went to theatres in large numbers and watched the movies; they are always the best,” he concludes.