Dino Morea on Tandav: A political science professor can be good-looking, right?
The actor chats about his Tandav character and reviving his career on OTT
One of the surprises of Tandav is Dino Morea turning up as a scruffy political science professor. A canny presence, he forms the bridge between the campus and national politics. “My character, Jigar Sampath, is an important link between the students and politics,” Dino says. “He drives the narrative in a major way.”
Streaming on Amazon Prime, Tandav is Dino’s third consecutive OTT release. Prior to this, he appeared as a single father in Mentalhood and a sweet-faced assassin in Hostages season 2. Together, these shows mark a resurgence for the actor, who had quit the mainstream in 2010 for some actorly soul-searching.
“The 2000s were a great time for me,” Dino recalls. “After that, though, the kind of terrible offers I was getting were really disheartening. I did not want to continue doing rubbish cinema.”
Instead, he took a break and moved to Delhi for a year. There, he trained under veteran acting coach NK Sharma, all while shedding his past assumptions about the craft. The phase wasn’t easy, Dino admits, punctuated by deep fears of being forgotten by fans. “After doing 15 films, I went back to acting class,” Dino says. “It was quite scary. I had the same out-of-sight, out-of-mind insecurities that actors have. But I wanted to learn, and some good scripts did come my way.”
Asked if his looks (still sharp at 45) get in the way of his offers, Dino chuckles. “I think directors now are looking beyond,” says the former model, adding that he’s learned to work around this gap. As an example, he points to his upcoming production Helmet, starring Aparshakti Khurrana in the lead.
“That film is set in Benaras,” Dino says. “I knew I couldn’t have pulled it off because I don’t have the trappings or physicality of a small-town guy. As an actor, I have to be prudent about the kind of roles I pick.” Still, there are other scenarios where he does fit in. “I mean, a political science professor can be good-looking, right?”