'Dabangg' is turning point in my career: Sonu Sood

New Delhi, Oct 5 (IANS) He has featured in many big-starrers, but it is "Dabangg" that has got actor Sonu Sood his due. He has earned rave reviews for essaying the corrupt politician, Cheddi Singh, in the cop comedy.

" 'Dabangg' has been a turning point in my career. It has taken me a step ahead and portrayed me in a different avatar. It has helped people know that I can do action also," Sonu, 37, told IANS on phone from Mumbai.

Salman Khan plays the lead in "Dabangg", but Sonu's performance was noticed and appreciated by audiences as well as critics.

"It feels really nice when you are recognised for your hard work. When you are not from the industry it is difficult to convince the people that you are capable of doing well. It feels great that after years, my hard work has finally paid off. I am receiving lots of film offers," he added.

The actor played the lead role in Sooraj Barjatya's "Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi" and he was also seen in sizeable roles in big-budget movies "Jodhaa Akbar" and "Singh Is Kinng". The last two films were successful, but it didn't benefit him much.

Sonu was supposed to play Salman Khan's role but when the actor himself agreed to play the lead, he was offered Cheddi Singh's role.

Sonu made his Bollywood debut with "Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh" in 2002 but was better noticed as Abhishek Bachchan's brother in Mani Ratnam's "Yuva" (2004). He then went on to do films like "Aashiq Banaya Aapne" (2005), "Sheesha" (2005) and "Siskiyaan" (2005).

A self-confessed fitness freak, Sonu is flooded with compliments for the six-pack abs he flaunts in "Dabangg". Asked how much hard work he put in to attain the sculpted body, Sonu admits he leads a very disciplined life.

"When you are acting alongside someone like Salman Khan, you have to be in great shape. I indeed had to work on my body. You have to be very disciplined.

"I dedicate three to fours hours daily on gymming and workouts. I also keep changing my workout schedule every 10-15 days. Sometimes I do cardio, sometimes kickboxing, which helps me stay fit.

"Diet also plays an important role. You need to cut down on carbs, high-protein and get used to non-tasty food," said Sonu, who works out at True Fitness, the largest fitness and wellness centre in Mumbai.

It is often said that to have a good physique one needs to have non-vegetarian food, but Sonu says it's a myth. "It is a myth that one has to feed on non-vegetarian food to build up those muscles. It is not true."

Producer Arbaaz Khan has started work on a sequel to "Dabangg".

"In the sequel, I would be playing the role of the twin brother of Cheddi Singh, who will return to take revenge from Chulbul Pandey (Salman). Abhinav Kashyap (director) is working on the script. They plan to shift the film from Uttar Pradesh to Maharashtra," he said.

Meanwhile, Sonu is gearing up for his next movie, "Buddha", which has Amitabh Bachchan in the lead role.

"I play a cop in the film and you would be seeing me with a leaner yet muscular look. I have already started working out," he said.

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