Mangesh Desai says his eyes, cheekbones resemble the late actor-director’s; jokes that everybody asks him for Vidya Balan’s contact number.
Mangesh Desai, who essays the role of the late actor-director in Shekhar Sartandel’s film, reveals that he saw the 1951 musical comedy, Albela, directed by and featuring Bhagwan Dada, 25 times before he began shooting.
“As a child, I’d seen him in songs like “Shola Jo Bhadke” and “Bholi Soorat Dil Ke Khote”. I hadn’t seen any of his films as there isn’t much online, barring a newspaper article which highlighted his plight towards the end of his life,” points out the 43-year-old actor whose character ages from 19 to 50 in the film. Did they have to depend entirely on prosthetics? He denies this, saying veteran make-up artiste Vidyadhar Bhatte gave him several different looks with only one wig.
“For the scenes where I played the young Bhagwan Dada, I sucked in my stomach and used body pads when the character aged,” reminisces Mangesh who believes his eyes and cheekbones are a lot like the yesteryear matinee idol.
The film traces the difficulties Dada faced while making Albela. The makers had arranged for a small clipping of a fight sequence from the Pune archives to help Mangesh prep up. “He was a natural actor but there were some melodramatic elements in his performance, which I’ve tried to imitate,” says Mangesh, who was worried about the Naach Gaana as Dada was a fantastic dancer. “I trained with a choreographer before going on set. At my birthday party last year, Shekhar saw me dance and said that this was exactly what he wanted. That boosted my confidence.”
The actor is delighted to have got an opportunity to work with the National Award-winning Vidya because he’s now been getting lots of offers. “But at the end of the conversation they ask for Vidya’s contact number. Many want to attend the premiere only to meet her,” he joked. On the last day of the shoot, Vidya gave gifts to all the HoDs, and a metal sun to Mangesh, with the prayer, “May you rise like the sun.”
You will be able to see this exciting impersonation of Bhagwan dada by Mangesh Desai in Ekk Albela by Manglmurti Films and Kimaya Motion Pictures on 24th June all over the world.
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2014 The Global Indian New Network (TGINN)