Rana Daggubati: I look at cinema from a different perspective

Rana Daggubati, who is basking in the success of Bheemla Nayak, talks about his experience of working with Pawan Kalyan and Trivikram Srinivas
Rana Daggubati: I look at cinema from a different perspective

Rana Daggubati began his acting career with Sekhar Kammula's political drama Leader (2010). After cementing his name with commercial and critical success like Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum (2012), Baahubali: The Beginning (2013), Rudhramadevi (2015), Ghazi (2016),  Baahubali: The Conclusion, and Nene Raju Nene Mantri (2017), he enticed the Telugu audience with his captivating performance in his latest release Bheemla Nayak. He had a great time sharing screen space with Pawan Kalyan in this action thriller.

Excerpts from his conversation:

Did you expect the kind of response you have received for Daniel Shekhar?

On the day of (Bheemla Nayak's) release, I was in Mumbai busy shooting for Rana Naidu. It was a 12-hour call time and I couldn't catch the film on the first day. At that time, I had only imagined what was happening here. Later, I watched the film with the local Telugu strata over there and I was flooded with congratulatory messages. It was a fulfilling experience.

What was it like working with Pawan Kalyan and Trivikram?

Pawan Kalyan garu is a more popular star and I thought the film has become too big to fit in my shoes. I am happy that Kalyan garu has come forward and is attempting different genres. He was an exciting person and had a heart of gold. He doesn’t carry the ‘Powerstar’ baggage and looks really simple.

Trivikram garu, on the other hand, was extremely knowledgeable and a highly educated man. Whatever he speaks, it has a great meaning. He has a good command of the language and he respects our culture a lot. I have learned a lot from Kalyan garu and Trivikram garu and meeting them up-close and personal is a gratifying experience.

Bheemla Nayak looks like a refreshing remake, which has been made on a different scale. Do you think having a primary reference to the story worked to your advantage?

When I watched Ayyappanum Koshiyum, I understood that the story centered around only one point and carries the same emotion throughout the film. Usually, we get to see many conflicts or different emotions in the story, but here, it's different. Our nativity and sensibilities are different. For example, you take a rich politician from Andhra or Telangana and compare him with someone in Kerala, we notice that they are entirely different not only in terms of looks but also the way they talk. Having said that, I am a huge fan of Robert Downey Jr from Iron Man. His character does all the weirdest things, but we enjoy watching them. Similarly, my character does all the craziest things in Bheemla Nayak. When I got to know about Naga Vamsi remaking Ayyappanum...in Telugu, I asked him if I could play this character. I totally loved this character and I went with an open mind and did my part.

What was the most challenging part of working in a remake?

Firstly, it’s really difficult to remake a hit film. The toughest part was to come out of the original and make a different film. It is easier said than done. Because we get apprehensive of making any changes fearing it would mutilate the original. I must say it looked easy in Bheemla Nayak due to Trivikram garu’s presence. He was the backbone of the film and he wonderfully incorporated our sensibilities and culture into the story. Malayalam is really verbose as they have to say long words framing big sentences to convey something. Whereas, we can convey the same in a word.

You have been getting experimental with your career choices.

I have grown up in the film world and I look at cinema from a different perspective. I used to sit in the Steenbeck editing suite during my fifth standard and I always wanted to attempt or do something which I haven’t seen in cinema. I don’t have inhibitions portraying a negative role. I treasure every experience because we get to play someone we are not in our real life.

A section of people believes that you dominated the screen space with your own style of acting.

It’s nothing like that (laughs). Usually, if you listen to a man with values and observe another man creating drama in an inebriated condition, you may enjoy the latter’s acts because he provides entertainment. Everyone has a certain way they grow up. Danny is a guy who is complex by nature. If people say they liked him, that implies that we don’t have good people like Bheemla Nayak in our society (laughs).

What are your thoughts on working with Saagar K Chandra?

Saagar is a straightforward guy and was never complicated on the sets. I was quite jealous of him because he got a bigger opportunity to work with the likes of Kalyan garu and Trivikram garu in the early stages of his career. How he has been able to take what is needed and remove what is not and be able to control the set was interesting. I think he is definitely a lot more mature as a person by the end of the film. I think he has a promising career.

What’s the progress of Virata Parvam?

The re-recording is in the last leg and I am planning to watch the first copy on Thursday. There are many pending films lined up for release. We will announce the release date once the situation stabilises.

Talk to us about Rana Naidu.

It’s a con drama series backed by Netflix. It also brings Chinnanna (Venkatesh) and me together for the first time. I promise that it will be new, unique and engaging with commercial elements. We are done with 30 percent of the shoot and I am confident that the audience will have a blast watching both of us in action.

Looks like your brother Abhiram is following in your footsteps.

I am happy that he is working with Teja garu in his debut film. They are almost done with the shoot and I am excited to see him as an actor.

What’s next after Rana Naidu?

Sekhar Kammula garu is working on the sequel to Leader. He meets me, narrates three scenes and leaves (laughs). He is taking time to complete the script. I am waiting for Rana Naidu to be completed because I don’t plan beyond one project at the same time. Also, working in a series is time-consuming as the show is about eight-hour-long. Once I wrap up Rana Naidu, I will decide on my next project. 

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