Dubai-based Bash Mohammed casts Dinesh Prabhakar

Dubai-based Bash Mohammed casts Dinesh Prabhakar

By Deepa Gauri

Published: Mon 11 Jul 2016, 12:22 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 Jul 2016, 11:26 PM

Some call him the 'Nawazuddin Siddiqui' of Malayalam cinema, and others see in him the next bankable character actor who can deliver amazing versatility. Dinesh Prabhakar, however, is not carried away by such tags: While acting is his passion, he continues to don many hats - as Malayalam cinema's first certified casting director, executive producer and a television commercial maker. Dinesh also has the enviable record of acting in Bollywood, with John Abraham in Madras Café, and Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin in Waiting. He is now all set to go international with a project directed by Dubai-based Bash Mohammed.
Road to Acclaim
Indeed, much of Dinesh's acclaim came with the critically merited Lukka Chuppi, the debut film of Bash Mohammed, which was selected to the Indian Panorama (Feature) for the 46th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), and the New York Indian Film Festival 2016.
Dinesh's role as an auto-driver, who meets is friends in high positions by chance at their get-together, was noted for the spontaneity and control he brought to the role. His portrayal was also praised by festival juries. Dinesh is now in Dubai for discussions with Bash. He plays the main protagonist but would only reveal that the film's narrative is one that has never been attempted before. Bash says that during his discussions with Oscar-winner Resul Pookutty, the initial plan was to seek the availability of Nawazuddin Siddiqui for the film.
"But having seen Dinesh get into character for Lukka Chuppi, and knowing his talent that is still untapped, I see him as the perfect fit for the main character. I am sure he will surprise us all."
The journey of Dinesh, however, has not been an easy one.
Discovering Mumbai
Hailing from Perumbavoor, Dinesh recalls being 'totally into' movies as a youngster, watching every film at the local movie halls, and then being hooked to the Hindi films and series on Doordarshan. Curiously enough, his first interest was Bollywood and Mumbai, and off he went, inspired after watching Mohanlal's Aryan, to the big city. "That is when I realised that no colony was waiting for me to elevate me as a don, and that to survive in Mumbai, one had to work and work real hard," says Dinesh.
He did practically every job - from waiting at restaurants to working in a newspaper office and courier company. He also used to serve as MCs at events organised by the Malayali associations, before discovering that he also had in him a singer and mimicry artist. When his talent was called in for dubbing, he found his calling in the advertising industry working as copywriter, dubbing artist and producer. That is when he was encouraged by friends to go to Kerala and seek a career in films.
After a failed start trying to convince Malayalam film directors of his talent, he made a dispirited return to Mumbai to work in advertising again. A referral to meet director Lal Jose landed his first film role - in Meesha Madhavan, released exactly 14 years ago this month.
A rewarding third innings
Two years later, having done just a few small roles, Dinesh moved to Mumbai again before making a third-coming to Kerala in 2010. That was the start of his real innings (after all, he was a cricketer as a college student). He bagged significant roles in films such as Left Right Left, 1983 and Friday, among others.
Critics started noticing the lanky young man with unruly hair and unkempt look making a defining mark as a character artist. He also worked as casting director for Thira, the first-time Malayalam cinema had such a role, and for Jacobinte Swargarajyam, shot fully in the UAE.
Dinesh set up a television commercial agency in Kochi, doing accomplished work that opened doors for him in the role as casting director of Madras Café and as a key actor. This work eventually led him to his role in Waiting.

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