Dino Morea on films, OTT and The Empire: People were not thinking of me at all
Actor Dino Morea says he is indebted to filmmaker Nikkhil Advani for giving him the opportunity of a lifetime by presenting him as an antagonist in the web series “The Empire”.The actor said it is difficult to stay relevant in the industry when one does not get good offers. “People were not thinking of me at all. The offers that were coming were rubbish and I made a conscious decision that until something good comes my way, I will not do it. The only belief I had was someday, somebody will notice and something might change,” Morea told PTI in a Zoom interview.
The actor’s last full-fledged role was “Pyaar Impossible!” in 2010. He then featured in appearances in “Happy New Year” and “Alone”. Recalling the time, Morea said, “I was trying to stay relevant or visible in the industry because once these insecurities start creeping in your head that out of sight, out of mind, then it is not easy. As the offers were really far and few between, you keep thinking is it over? Is it done?”
The actor said he focused on honing his acting skills and the OTT boom helped him revive his career, courtesy shows such as “Mentalhood”, “Hostages” and “Tandav”.
And now “The Empire”, created by Advani and directed by Mitakshara Kumar, features him as the prime antagonist. “I owe this new transition to OTT. I am extremely grateful to Nikkhil and Mitakshara Kumar (director) for thinking of me like this and visually seeing me this way because not many people have the guts to do it. I am being presented in a new way.
“I am grateful to them for helping me show my versatility and potential, otherwise how do I prove myself. With OTT, people are thinking out of the box, which I love,” Morea said.
The actor said he loved the opportunity to play Shaibani Khan in the show. “I have never played a character like this ever. I’ve been waiting for a long time for someone to give me such a beautiful offer and it has come when I was absolutely ready to do something different. I have just sunk my teeth into it completely,” he said.
The show is based on Alex Rutherford’s novel “Empire of the Moghul: Raiders from the North”.Morea said he hasn’t read the book and rather relied completely on the script to create his character.
“We have just heard about a warrior and a barbarian, Shaibani Khan. Was he emotional? Was he not emotional? Was he cold-blooded? We had to induce all that to make the character believable,” he added.
To get into the skin of his role, the actor said he studied the characteristics of black panthers. “I looked at the characteristics of a black panther, like how he is cunning, smart, savage, and beautiful to look at. We wanted to make Shaibani Khan be like that. So, I watched a lot of YouTube videos and National Geographic,” he said, adding, he would listen to a lot of background music to enhance the mood of a scene with his co-actors.
Morea said there is a thrill in playing negative roles as there are no “limitations” to one’s madness.
“When you play an antagonist, you can be mad in every sense. When you play the protagonist, there are limitations to what you can do. What makes any bad character colorful is that we just don’t know what they’re going to do, besides they take you by surprise by doing strange, crazy things.”
The actor, who made his debut with “Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi” in 1999, has done films such as “Raaz”, “Gunaah”, “Baaz: A Bird in Danger”, “Chehraa” and “Life Mein Kabhie Kabhiee”
With “The Empire”, also starring Shabana Azmi, Drashti Dhami, Aditya Seal, Rahul Dev, the actor hoped he can play a memorable character.
Produced by Advani’s sister Monisha Advani and Madhu Bhojwani, the show premiered on Disney+ Hotstar on August 27.