How do you steal a few weeks from Dhanush’s date diary and convince him to headline a Hindi project? Offer him a compelling script — that’s all the Tamil star asks for. Yet, in the next instant, the actor throws a curveball, saying that he hadn’t heard the script of his next, Atrangi Re, until the last moment. “When Aanand L Rai [director] and Himanshu [Sharma, writer] approached me, I directly asked them when they needed me. I told them I will come [for the shoot] and hear the script then. So, I made them narrate the script to me one week before the shoot. That is the kind of faith I have in them,” begins the actor, who made his Bollywood debut with them in Raanjhanaa (2013).
Dhanush with Akshay Kumar and Sara Ali Khan
With Atrangi Re, Rai explores another facet of love through the journey of the carefree Rinku, essayed by Sara Ali Khan. While the director was convinced that Khan would be the perfect choice for the protagonist, Dhanush admits he had doubts about his co-star initially. “That kid surprised me. Playing Rinku is not easy, even for seasoned actors. I asked Aanand, ‘Are you sure about this? She has done only two to three films. Can she handle this?’ I was skeptical and hesitant about Sara at first. But when I walked into the set, I saw the hard work she put in; she surrendered to the director. She was willing to do anything to get each shot and song right. Sara will surprise the audience.”
In an industry where stars are obsessed with vanity, it is refreshing to come across an actor of Dhanush’s calibre who can mould himself according to the demands of every role. He believes his biggest strength is his everyman appeal. “It takes great discipline to have six-pack abs; I can’t take away from it. But I play the other kind [of man]. You’ll see me everywhere on the streets. I reflect the common man, his successes, pains and joys. That works brilliantly for me. I think women like intelligent men more than anything else.”
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