OFF SCREEN Having made his mark in Bollywood, Rana Daggubati opens up to MADHUMITHA SRINIVASAN on films and more.
With a grandfather who’s a Dadasaheb Phalke awardwinner, a superstar for uncle and one of the biggest producers in the industry for a father, spearheading the family name into the third generation must be quite a daunting task. But Rana Daggubati seems to be at ease with that responsibility, and has already proved that he’s on the right track.
Movies apart, Rana also has a National award to his credit, which he won even before he began his stint before the camera; for “Belly Full of Dreams”, his first film as producer. Though he continues his behind-the-scenes involvement in films, he is now a familiar face on the posters, be it Tollywood or even Bollywood (“Leader”, “Dum Maaro Dum” and “Nenu Naa Rakshasi”).
NXg chats with the dashing and no-airs-about-my-lineage Rana, on, what else, but movies!
Any moment or incident from your pre-film days that nailed your decision to get into films?
Actually, it has been a long journey of observing and learning. I have been working on films since I was 17. My entry into films has been gradual. It was never a sudden decision, so the one moment that sealed it for me is out of the question.
What are the advantages and the disadvantages of being the third generation Daggubati to enter cinema?
It is definitely an advantage as I have been learning since I was a child. The knowledge I have garnered so far is much more than I can imagine. But, on the flipside, failure is not an option for me.
The characters in all your three films, and the one in the making, are extremely different from one another…
I feel it is an excellent way to start out as an actor, with every character being very different from the other. Even in the Hindi movie with Amitabh Bachchan, I play a police officer. My look is different in all the movies.
Which character is most similar to the real Rana?
I have never been a politician, so it’s not Arjun Prasad (“Leader”), not a dark person like in “Nenu Naa Rakshasi” and not an aimless musician like in “Dum Maro Dum”. It will have to be the character I am playing in the under-production Telugu rom-com “Naa Ishtam”.
Most of your competitors/contemporaries are either family or friends. How do you manage your relationship?
That’s the best thing about it. Bunny (Allu Arjun), Charan (Ram Charan Tej), Chaitanya and I are really close. We practically grew up together. We went to tuition together; now we also act together, just that in different genres. Bunny and Charan do large scale commercial movies; Chaitanya does very urban, romantic movies, while I do movies that are very different in terms of story telling. Hence it is important for me to get their feedback, which I do at the rushes stages itself. The competition angle never features in the relationship.
How different was the Bollywood experience? Did you face a lot of scepticism, being a “South Indian actor”?
In terms of filmmaking, the procedures are the same. Just that Bollywood has larger boundaries. There are numerous genres that will work there. In fact, one of the reasons I took up “Dum Maaro Dum” is the fact that I was offered the role of a Goan musician that I knew I would never get to do in a Telugu film. For me, it’s about the role rather than the language. But the acceptance has been huge, even though they knew that I was from Hyderabad.
You are pretty active on Twitter. How do you view a social networking platform like Twitter?
Twitter is a great medium to interact with people. Personally, it is not possible to meet every person who has watched my film and get their feedback or interact with every fan. Through Twitter I am able to reach out to people, and gauge public reaction. And, it is mutual.
How do you draw the line between the things that people want to know about you and things that you don’t want to share?
I generally don’t hide things. But handling such a situation is simple — if there’s something I do not want to speak about, and then I simply don’t. It depends on each incident.
Plans to enter the Tamil film industry…
Each industry has something new to offer to an actor. I like the Tamil industry. There are a lot of great films being made there. I hope to focus my effort to bag a project here. Chennai’s a great filmmaking city and my heart’s still there.
A movie you can never tire watching: “Star Wars”
A remake of a movie you would love to be a part of: “God Father”
Best rumour you’ve heard about yourself: That I acted in “Leader” because I wanted to enter politics
A pick-up line that always works for you: I will not tell you that one!
Your pet peeve: I don’t like arrogant people
Future projects: Prakash Toleti’s
“Naa Ishtam” in Telugu with
Genelia and Ram Gopal Varma’s
“The Departmenet” in Hindi with Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and Kangana Ranaut.
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