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Full of promise

k. r. manigandan
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meet Actor Dinesh is making waves as a roadside Romeo in the just-released Attakaththi

Dinesh, who plays the lead in Attakaththi , is excited about his new-found celebrity status. “I have got quite a few offers after my film released, but I am being careful about what I sign next. I am counting on the advice of friends and well-wishers,” says Dinesh, who, after his performance as a roadside Romeo with a never-say-die attitude in the Ranjith-directed Attakathi , is being looked at as an actor with potential.

“After my school, I wanted to pursue Visual Communication, but could not. I had a passion for SLRs and therefore wanted to learn cinematography from the best in the industry. My friends suggested I approach director Balu Mahendra,” says Dinesh, who isn’t very different from the character he portrays on screen.

“I decided to meet the legend. Until then, I had travelled between Royapuram and Nungambakkam and was not aware about the rest of the city. Unsure about how to get to Balu sir’s place, I asked an auto driver which train I must take to reach Saligramam. He just laughed and said, ‘Just buy a Rs. 2 ticket on any bus that heads this way and it will drop you there!’”

Life wasn’t exactly a bed of roses for Dinesh who had to face several defeats before this success. “The moment I got to know Saligramam was close by, I made it a point to nag him daily into accepting me as an assistant cameraman. I did it for almost a year until one day he told me to stop troubling him at home and instead visit him at his office. The other assistant directors at the office suggested that I try to get in as an actor instead. I agreed.”

His first test was a disaster. “Balu asked me to smile and I couldn’t do even that. I felt ashamed and hurt. It was director Vetrimaran, his assistant then, who consoled me that anything was possible with practice. I will always be grateful to him for this advice. He told me to watch modern plays to hone my skills. I joined the Koothu-p-Pattarai backstage team as a light boy where I had a lot of time to observe actors. Slowly, I started acting in plays and then, films. Eight years later, I have got my first opportunity to play hero.” The manner in which he seems to have impressed director Ranjith too is interesting.

“I first met Ranjith during the post-production stage of Goa; that’s when work on Aadukalam had just begun. Impressed with my confidence, he told me, ‘You have nothing, yet you are confident.’ Then, we started meeting often and discussed plays at Koothu-p-Pattarai. Two years later, I got a call from him, asking me to come to his office and there, after several rounds of auditions, I was shortlisted for this role,” recalls Dinesh.

“Several directors like Ranjith, Venkat Prabhu and Vetrimaran have been very supportive right from the start. I am grateful to all of them,” the actor says as he signs off to pay a visit to theatres screening his film.

k. r. manigandan


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