Doctor by profession, an actor by accident. An Indian-born British radiologist is the cynosure of all eyes as his debut film, Accident, premieres in London on Friday.
Mahesh Kumar Neelala Anand from Oldham, near Manchester, plays the role of a singing, dancing, murdering gangster in the Kannada film, said to be a success in India. It is being released in Britain with English sub-titles and is awaiting an all-US release in August.
Anand is the head of radiology at Pennine Acute Trust, which runs hospitals in Oldham, Rochdale, Bury and north Manchester.
The doctor temporarily traded in the radiology rooms of northwest Britain to travel to Bangalore last October when his friend Ramesh Aravind, a successful Indian film director, offered him the role out of the blue, reported The Independent.
Anand, 43, says he jumped at the chance to prove his skills as an actor, which he first developed in amateur dramatics as a student in India.
"Some of my friends are involved in mainstream film production and they just said that the role would suit me, so did I want to do it? I couldn't resist it," he said.
"I used my annual leave to film in Bangalore for 20 days at the end of last year and this included acting and voice dubbing. The director and crew were absolutely brilliant, and it's really exciting to see the film get released here," Anand added.
His movie character, Mahesh Longa, is a rogue who runs a nightclub and pirate DVD empire. The film tells the story of a disc jockey who becomes suspicious about the death of his girlfriend in an alleged accident and begins to piece together the jigsaw of evidence that could lead him to a possible killer.
Anand arrived at the Royal Oldham Hospital in 2000 after completing additional radiology training. An active member of a theatre group in Cheshire, he says he is keen to pursue other professional acting roles, but not at the cost of his present job.
Since Accident, he has been approached about another two roles in Bollywood films.