Felt quite comfortable doing romantic scenes
Dinesh thinks Ulkuthu will easily rank as the most challenging role of his career, even if its just for its sheer intensity. “However, Visaaranai will remain unchallenged at the top,” says Dinesh, who doesn’t mind that people still refer to him with the Attakathi prefix.
In Ulkuthu, he is paired again with Nandita Swetha, his co-star in Ranjith’s Attakathi. “I felt quite comfortable with the romantic sequences of Ulkuthu as I had already worked with Nandita before. She took the pressure off me,” he says.
The actor plays the role of a middle-class man, whose life gets shattered when he faces off with some rowdies. “Director Caarthick Raju has really handled my character well. The interesting part is how he has managed to keep emotions under check even while finding a way for me settle scores with the bad people,” he adds.
He scoffs at the action-hero tag that some have ascribed to him. “There’s no way audiences will accept me bashing baddies on-screen. That’s why the fights were designed to suit the image of an average man. You will not find the fights to be contrived in Ulkuthu. It’s all treated with sensitivity. The director’s message is that while a middle-class person may get persecuted, justice will ultimately prevail.”
One of the challenges of this film, set in Nagercoil, was getting the look of a flower vendor right. “I was shooting for Kabali around the same time, and the get-up for both films was in sharp contrast. But we have managed well, I think.”
Invariably, the conversations veers to Visaaranai. Dinesh says the film has affected him in many ways. “My heart went out to the tortured prisoners. It’s a role that will remain with me forever, regardless of whatever films I go on to be a part of.” Another film close to his heart is Nelson Venkatesan’s Oru Naal Koothu. He has an unusual reason for liking being part of the film.
“For once, I could wear Western clothes. With the roles that are coming my way, it has become almost impossible,” he laughs.
Dinesh believes in versatility. “Each film of mine has been different since Attakathi. How many artistes would have done a Cuckoo so early in their career?”
Next up for Dinesh is Annanukku Jai, in which he will play an aspiring politician. To be directed by S Rajkumar, a former assistant of Vetrimaaran, the story deals with the subject of palm-tree plantations and is set in Tiruvannamalai.