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Engineer, sportsman, hero...


SEEN "SATTA"? Those whose answer is in the affirmative, are usually also seen asking a question. `Who is this lad playing Raveena Tandon's hubby in the film?' This lookalike of Abhinav Chaturvedi or `Nanhe' of "Hum Log" fame? Well, many people have said this to him and he agrees too. He is a 30-year-old Sameer Dharmadhikari, a Pune-based adman, sportsperson, theatre professional, engineer and well, national champion.

Well, if you can recall, you might have seen him in "80-odd advertisements including Mafatlal and Raymonds."

A mechanical engineer who worked for "six-and-a-half-years with Indian Railways' Research and Development department as designer merchandiser" Sameer had been actively into theatre "right from his college days" but "never had a drive for a hero". Hence, he got involved in sports. Played volleyball, swimming and polo at the national level.

"Since theatre was not commercially viable and I was not getting substantial roles to do, I dropped a few pictures of mine with a friend in the film business and forgot." One fine morning, Madhur Bhandarkar, called this six feet one inch man with impressive vocal cords at his office. "I was very excited, waiting for my turn to come, but when I went inside, he asked me for a tape which I never had. I suggested him to take my screen test. It ran for two-and-half hours."

Sameer was asked to deliver a lecture on the stage like a political leader. "My experience in theatre had come handy." Sameer had sleepless nights for two days till a nod came from Madhur on the third day.

"I was selected for a role in `Satta'. I knew it was woman-oriented film but never mind, a good beginning was made," he says.

So he does not mind working in multi-starrers or playing a second fiddle? "These days definitions have quite changed in Bollywood. More you are seen in a multi-starrers, more you are noticed and as far playing a second fiddle is concerned, if the character is important, I have no ego hassles," says this cool guy for whom his "cinematographer wife is my best critic".

Wife? Well, yes, he is married for "eight years now" he laughs at your surprise.

This "home bug, not a party kind" is all geared up to play a fighter pilot in "Angni Pankh", a film directed and scripted by Sanjay Suri.

A different role? "Yes, for I can't play a gajar ka halva kind of easy romantic roles... "

A different man?

RANA A.SIDDIQUI

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