Sudhanshu Panday, who until now has only played supporting roles in films, has signed the biggest step in his professional life. The actor is slated to play a gangster in Billa 2, which is a prequel to the original Billa, which was released way back in 1980.
The gangster flick starred south superstar Rajinikanth, in one of his earliest film roles and was based on the 1978 film, Don. Billa 2 also stars actor Bruna Abdullah in her first Tamil appearance. To ensure they perfect their roles, both the actors have been taking extensive Tamil lessons in Mumbai. “The very first line that I could say in Tamil was Naan Unwayi Adijiruven!!!’ (I will slap your face),” says Sudhanshu.
The 1980 film was remade in 2007 and starred Ajith Kumar in the lead. It was co-written by Javed Akhtar and Salman Khan’s father, Salim Khan. This version was loosely based on Don: The Chase Begins Again (2006). Billa was remade again in Telugu in 2009.
“I was surprised when I got a call from the director, Chakri Toleti,” says Sudhanshu. “He said my eyes had the look of a gangster, I just needed to have a beard. For the first time in my life, I have started growing a beard.”
The film will go on the floors in September and will release in 2012. Ajith Kumar, from the Telugu version, will be seen as the lead actor in the film. His character is that of the gangster’s right hand man, who moves up the rung and becomes a don himself. “Though I play the second lead in the film, my role is as long as an hour. The film will be shot in Bangkok and Thailand.”