Mumbai: Actor Jackie Shroff said though his foray into the South Indian film industry was an impromptu one, he was thrilled with the love of the fans who treat actors like `god`.
"I am doing films down south as people from there are approaching me. The filmmakers want me to be part of their films. It is not something I had planned," Jackie told reporters in an interview.
Jackie, fondly called Jaggu Dada, has done films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.
The actor made his debut in Kannada by acting in `Care of Footpath` directed by world`s youngest film director Kishan Shrikanth, who was then 10 years old, in 2006.
Jackie`s entry in Malayalam industry was through `Athishayan`, a 2007 science fiction inspired from the 2003 American superhero film `Hulk`.
`Aaranya Kaandam`, a 2011 action film produced by S P Charan, son of renowned singer Balasubhramaniyam, marked the debut of Jackie in Tamil films.
"In south, films are treated like religion and fans treat stars like gods. Rajnikanth is treated like a god. The audience shows their loyalty towards actors. They respect their actors a lot. There is a lot of talent in the south
industry," Jackie said.
"Almost each and every person in the south would watch movie in theaters, very rarely would someone buy a DVD. Fans go to the extremes for their stars. Even if the film is atrocious they will go and watch it for their stars. In
Bollywood, if a film is bad, you know audiences are not going to watch it," he said.
Jackie, who has acted in over 150 films in his career spanning three decades, made his acting debut as a villain in 1973 hit `Heera Panna` starring veteran actor Dev Anand. Nine years later he acted in another Dev Anand film, `Swami Dada`.
It was Subhash Ghai`s 1983 hit `Hero` that catapulted Jackie to stardom and a string of hits followed - `Andar Bahar`, `Karma`, `Ram Lakhan`, `Parinda`, `Khalnayak`, `Rangeela` and `Devdas` among others.
The actor has of late started acting in southern films.
Jackie`s latest appearance in a Bollywood film was a cameo in `Bhindi Baazaar Inc`, a thriller directed by Ankush Bhatt.
He would next be seen in `Cover Story`, a dramatic thriller directed by debutante Laurence Postma.
The film starring Sheena Nayyer - last seen in a horror film `Mallika` - and Jackie, is based on the story of a successful film actress played by Sheena, and Jackie essays the role of war correspondent. The movie is expected to
release by September-October this year.
His upcoming regional projects include `Platform No 1`, a Malayalam film directed by Nissar and a Telugu action film `The Shadow` directed by Vishnuvardhan. Both these films are expected to release this year.