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Beaten and bruised

A still from Visaranai Photo: Special Arrangement

A still from Visaranai Photo: Special Arrangement

It’s been a year since he completed his portions in Visaranai , but Attakathi Dinesh still can’t shake off the feeling of hopelessness that permeates the film, based on the book Lock Up . This, even after the team was put through some yoga sessions, so that it could de-stress after being part of a movie that recreates real-life brutality. “For some months, I would wake up drenched in sweat at 1 a.m. And then, I would realise that I was working on a film, and I’ve finished shooting for it…,” he says.

It helped that Chandra Kumar, the auto-driver who wrote Lock Up based on his experiences, was around during shooting, says Dinesh. “Every time I felt overwhelmed, I would look at him and see how he’s survived, how he charges on without care,” says Dinesh.

During the strenuous days of shooting, the energy of Vetrimaaran and Chandra Kumar kept the actors going, says Dinesh. “For instance, when shooting a ‘beating’ scene, I would be thirsty and crave water, but would stop and think that Chandra Kumar would not have been given water in the lock-up, and would plod on.”

Dinesh is known for this kind of zeal to keep things real. His eye still hurts after he essayed the visually-challenged hero in Cuckoo . “Every time I step out into bright light, drive or scroll down on the mobile phone, I feel discomfort. But the film was worth it. It demanded that kind of preparation,” he says.

Every time a film releases, the cast is nervous about how it will be accepted. Dinesh has been spared that agony, because Visaranai has received great appreciation everywhere it has been screened, including the Venice Film Festival. So, all the actor wants to do is sit with the audience and watch their response. “There’s a unique respect that the truth commands. This film is about truth. So, I’m curious to see how they react.”

Dinesh says he’s been lucky with the roles and the turn his career has taken, but admits that post- Visaranai , his responsibility to be part of quality cinema increases. “Till now, my policy has been very simple — only do films that appeal to my heart, and accept one project at a time. I think I’ll stick to that for now.”

After Visaranai , Dinesh has a few releases lined up. There’s Oru Naal Koothu , Ulkuthu , and Annanukku Jai. And the biggest of them all — Kabali , with the Superstar and Pa. Ranjith, the director who gave Dinesh his prefix, ‘ Attakathi’ .

But, Dinesh has no plans to plot his journey. “Let me see how far I can run this way,” he says. “If you set your sights only on Everest, it is possible you might miss out on something beyond that!”


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Printable version | May 22, 2022 9:41:59 am | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/beaten-and-bruised-attakathi-dinesh-on-visaranai/article8193442.ece