I was afraid whether I would ever get work or not, luck turned after a long wait: Dino Morea

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Now Khushi has knocked all-round in the life of actor Dino Morea, who was away from the screen for a long time. On one hand he is garnering praise for his negative role of Shaybani Khan in his web-series ‘The Empire’, while his production banner film ‘Helmet’, which creates awareness about condoms, is also in the news. Dino talks to us about these films, his career and his struggles in a heart-wrenching way:

On one hand you are playing a challenging character like Shaybani Khan in a big show like ‘The Empire’ as an actor and on the other hand you are bringing a film like ‘Helmet’ as a producer. How easy or difficult was it to balance the two?
I have always been ambitious. I am ready to work 24 hours a day, so the synergy is created. As an actor, I have waited for many years for such an opportunity. There was a time when I didn’t have work and now I am getting everything, everything is happening. I feel that this universe is going to fill me up now because I have waited so much, suffered so much. Only I know how bad times I saw, what things I went through, how much tension was there whether there would be any further offers or not. Will I get the film or not? This feeling is very scary, only I know how many difficulties, how many troubles I have endured. Now I feel that I am getting the fruits of this patience.

What was the reason for choosing the role of a cruel villain like Shaybani Khan in this Disney Hotstar series?
I was waiting for such a role for years because it was very challenging for me and I accept every challenge. This is my dream role. If I had got such a role earlier, I would have done it too, but then such roles were not available at all. My last film came in 2011. After that I consciously decided that I will not speak, because good offers were not being received and I had decided that I would refuse bad offers, but after refusing, I stopped getting offers. Then a little nervousness started whether man would get the work or not. A feeling of insecurity sets in, disappointment sets in, but even then I keep preparing myself that if an offer comes, I will be ready. The feedback that is coming in right now is very good, because people have got to see a different look of me.

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In your last few series, you are constantly playing negative characters. First ‘Hostages 2’, then ‘Tandav’, now ‘The Empire’, is this also a deliberate decision?
No. No. I got these offers and I liked the character a lot, so I did, but I believe what I did in ‘Hostedges 2’ and ‘Tandav’ was a warm-up for the show. This is the main show. Basically I see the character, I see the story, if the story is good, the character is good, whether it is positive or negative, I am ready to do it.

What was your reaction to the orgy that broke out over ‘Tandav’? Are you scared or surprised as an actor?
I agree that we also have a responsibility as actors, but I am playing a character. What the whole show is, that producer, director only knows, I am just a small part. Yes, we should be responsible as actors, but sometimes it is very complicated because you don’t know whose feelings get hurt. As an actor, I understand my responsibility, that’s why I read everything many times, so that no one gets hurt.

These days your banner’s film ‘Helmet’ is also in a lot of discussion. As an actor, how did you let go of such a fun role? Didn’t think that I should act on my own?
I am a producer and I know that I cannot play such roles at all. This is the story of a small town. My look just wouldn’t match this character, so I knew I wanted amazing actors. This story is very funny and it is very important to tell it. I myself related to it. When I was in college and went to buy condoms for the first time, I felt so uncomfortable I couldn’t tell. While I grew up in a city like Bangalore, I felt it should be talked about. Despite being from metro city, I felt ashamed. Why? Shopkeepers wrap condoms in newspapers, why? These questions must be answered.

When Dino Morea met Hollywood star Johnny Depp

Now a little personal question that why is a good looking and successful guy like you single?
I have also left it to the universe that if she wants me to be with someone, please send it (laughs). I am happy at the moment, concentrating on my work, but yes, I also want to have a partner. When there is luck, she will also get it, then let’s see.

What qualities do you want in your partner?
One must be trustworthy. Give respect to everyone, that is very important and give me lots of love. That’s all you need. Nothing else is needed in life.

What preparation did it take to go from cool Dino to brutal Shaybani Khan?
I prepared a lot. Worked on the look. At first we thought that I would be bald. Then experimented with longer hair, which we really liked. I read this script at least thirty times so that I can understand the mindset of this character. Then, I compare my character to an animal, then compare Shaybani Khan to Black Panther and watch a lot of Black Panther videos to see how he walks, how he sits before attacking, how smart he is. As a spectator, you can’t take your eyes off him, knowing how cruel he is, ruthless, because he is so beautiful. I wanted Shaybani Khan to have that kind of charm. I used to listen to warm songs before every scene to get in the mood.

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