Former autorickshaw driver Dhananjay Prabhune, a lookalike of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu who was spotted by director Ram Gopal Varma, says acting in Telugu films has changed his life.
Prabhune, who will be seen playing Chandrababu Naidu in Varma’s upcoming Telugu directorial Kamma Rajyamlo Kadapa Reddlu, was honoured by the local rickshaw union on Sunday.
Talking to the media, Prabhune praised the director and his crew for taking special care of him during the shooting of the film.
The people of Andhra were very kind and the food was tasty, he said, adding that he loved working in the Telugu film industry.
Dhananjay Prabhune said his life has transformed after getting the opportunity to act in Telugu films.
Kalu Komatkar, president of the rickshaw union, said the auto drivers were proud that one of their fellowmen had found a place in movies, that too in the south film industry.
This is a great honour for us, Komatkar added.
Dombivili-based Dhananjay Prabhune used to drive rickshaw and later started a hotel in the temple town of Trimbakeshwar in Nashik district.
Last year, while in Trimbakeshwar, he shot to fame as Chandrababu Naidu lookalike after a tourist shared a video of Prabhune serving food. The social media post went viral and caught Ram Gopal Varma’s attention.
Varma, best known for films Satya, Shiva, Kaun? among more, posted a tweet, asking people to help trace the man in the clip. The filmmaker even announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh to the one who found Dhananjay Prabhune.
Prabhune was tracked within hours. Ram Gopal Varma was then making Lakshmi’s NTR, a biographical drama based on the life of former film actor and Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, NT Rama Rao.
Though actor Sritej played Chandrababu Naidu in Lakshmi’s NTR, Varma cast Dhananjay Prabhune in the role of the former CM in Kamma Rajyamlo Kadapa Reddlu.