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Lucky Cameo

Every year sees newcomers being launched in our Hindi film industry. Some are industry kids and some are not. The next few months will see South star Diganth Manchale, making his debut in Wedding Pulav. Over to him:

Background

I belong to a small town called Thirthahalli in Karnataka, and have been fascinated with acting since I was a child. But I was too young to understand what career I should pursue. For my graduation, I moved to Bengaluru. Once I finished my studies, I was determined to take up acting and that’s when I happened to meet Kodlu Ramakrishna, who also belongs to my home town. I enrolled with his acting school and he also cast me in his film Miss California, which was my debut film.

The struggle starts

That’s where my struggle began. Since my debut film bombed, no one wanted to offer me any films. I had probably met every director-producer in the Kannada industry back then but I could not land even a tiny role. So I started doing modelling and doing TVCs even though I did not enjoy it. It doesn’t require any creativity to walk the ramp or hold up a product. So I kept on giving auditions.

Turning point

After three years of struggling, I was offered a cameo in Mungaru Male. The film became the Kannada industry’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Since the movie was a superhit, people noticed me in the cameo. The same director Yogaraj Bhat then cast me in his next films like Gaalipata and Manasaare, and there was no looking back after that. It was like I had been re-launched and people started recognising me as an actor. Good roles started coming my way.

Bollywood calling

I was doing some good work in the South and therefore never considered Bollywood. One day, I got a call from Bejoy Nambiar for David but it didn’t work out. That’s when I decided to try my luck in Bollywood. Making your debut in a Hindi film ensures a wider audience. I was also offered Vikram Bhatt’s 1920 London, which also didn’t work out but, once again, Bejoy contacted me for his production Fatak, a remake of the Tamil film Chennai 28, where I play the lead role. So, basically, that was my first Hindi film.

On Wedding Pulav

Whether the Hindi industry or any regional industry, like actors, technicians also shuttle between industries. So many of the technicians who worked with me in Kannada films were doing Hindi films too and that’s when one of them told me that Binod Pradhan was making his directorial debut and was looking for a fresh face. I started scouting for his phone number and also got busy with other films. I had gone to Thailand for a shoot and after coming back I saw some text messages from Binod sir. He was trying to reach me and so was I! The film was tailor-made for me and because I am comfortable doing rom-coms, it was the perfect script.

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