The actor-producer talks about humanizing characters that belong to the crime world and how he finds a different pleasure in portraying gangsters and people of the crime world.
Last Updated: 12.34 PM, Oct 21, 2022
Dhananjaya's tryst with gangster roles isn't new. As someone who tried his hand at a variety of roles—a boxer, a mystic saint, and even a saint—it would seem that he was always destined to rise to prominence as Daali in Suri's Tagaru and use the gangster or antihero archetype to his advantage. And now, having been rechristened by his fans as ‘Daali Dhananjaya’, he is back with a new version of the antihero that comes in the form of MP Jayaraj in the recently released biographical drama, Head Bush—as Dhananjaya & Co. brace themselves for what’s to come at the box office, the actor-producer reflects on what attracts him to such subjects and whether actors share commonalities with gangsters.
“I suppose there is a relatability factor when it comes to gangsters because I find myself exuding a different kind of rage and energy when you play them on screen. One learns from all the different experiences and hone their survival instincts - I would rather call it survival instead of a struggle. The sharper the instincts, the stronger the desire to recover from a fall. And there is a human side to even gangsters - I have had the opportunity to interact with several people following Tagaru and listen to their stories. Be it those from the crime world or the cops, there is always a human story behind each individual. You have to also remember that the environment you grow up in also plays a huge role in how you shape up as an individual, so, therefore, you can’t dismiss someone just because they are on the fringes. "It is very important to connect with the human side of each person,” says Dhananjaya.
But why does the audience adore, or even look up to, gangsters in cinema? Dhananjaya reckons that the idea of going against the system has a lure of its own, but not everyone manages to breach that moral line.
“See, everyone likes to break the rules of a system, either because they don’t agree with them or because they are bored with the system itself. So, when it comes to cinema, the audience likes to watch someone bend the law and find some joy in it - but that doesn’t mean that they will walk out of the theatre carrying a negative impact or feeling inspired to become a gangster. Everyone knows where to draw the line, "he adds.