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Interview with Rana Daggubati
Date: 26 April 2011, Hyderabad

Rana Daggubati has unconventional looks for a typical Telugu film hero. He made the perfect debut as ‘Leader’ with an author-backed role. He is also one of the rarest young South heroes to get into Bollywood at an early age. His 3rd movie ‘Nenu Naa Rakshasi’ in Puri Jagan’s direction is releasing on 29 April. Born into film industry, Rana is a smooth and shrewed customer when it comes to facing the media. Here are the excerpts of his chitchat with scribes -

Tell us how did ‘Nenu Naa Rakshasi’ (NNR) materialize?
Jagan narrated me the story at a restaurant and asked me to take a couple of days to take the decision. I have the habit of writing scenic order whenever I listen to a story. I wrote the scenic order that night and found that it’s a fresh story which I had never come across. When I did politician and music guy in Leader and Dum Maro Dum (DMD) respectively, I had a few films as reference to follow the characterization. But I didn’t have any references to the character of a professional cold-blooded killer I played in this movie.

NNR is a character based movie in which Jagan dealt a sensitive angle of human nature (suicide). Everybody has an opinion about somebody else’s death. But only the person who has gone through it would come to know what it takes to attempt suicide. There are around 14 suicide deaths happening per hour in India. NNR has suicide backdrop, but it is not the subject of the movie. It is a love story between a professional killer with a dark side and a girl with a darker side. Though it has a sensitive side to it, the Puri Jagan mark commercial elements are aplenty.

I would like to share an interesting thing here. Both Puri Jagan and Ileana wanted to commit suicide at different points of their lives. However, I never faced any problem that forced me to think about suicide.

You have worked for DMD in Bollywood. How different are these two industries?
Both Telugu and Hindi film industry work on the same basic things. However there is a huge difference in terms of boundaries and genres. There are new genres and niche pockets of audiences in Hindi film industry. We don’t have that luxury in regional cinema.

What is your experience in working with two hot ladies Bipasha Basu (DMD) and Ileana (NNR)?
Bipasha Basu is elder to me age-wise. She is also an experienced actress. Bipasha Basu, Abhishek Bachchan and Rohan Sippy made sure that I am at home while working for DMD. It was a great experience to work with her.

Ileana is a senior to me in profession, but younger to me in terms of age. I met Ileana for the first time after I signed NNR. Like anybody else, I was also impressed with her glamour quotient before I met her. But, I was blown away by her performance in NNR. She gave lot of stimulus to perform. There is a crying scene in an island of Thailand and she was crying 30 minutes before the shot and an hour after the shot.

NNR film is projecting the ‘suicide' angle in poster and video publicity. Don’t you think you will miss out on openings when you reveal such sensitive details?
NNR film has commercial elements as it’s a Puri Jagan’s film. But we didn’t want to cheat the audiences by releasing the entertainment-oriented trailers. NNR is a genre film and it was made in a budget that supports that genre. We have also sold it with in that boundaries. hence, we didn’t try to have typical mass/entertainment oriented trailers for NNR.

Tell us about NNR music?
NNR’s music was scored by a couple of lyricists (Vishwa and Rehman). The lyrics of the song will drive the story. Hence we didn’t chase big music directors, but asked the lyricists to score the music instead. Anup Rubens did terrific background score.

Padithinammo song is inspired by Michael Jackson’s ‘Leave Me Alone’?
I am a movie lover. But I am not a music lover. I am not aware of it when I heard for the first time. I loved that song. You should be asking this question to the music directors.

What are your future projects?

1. Naa Istam: It is a romantic comedy. It is the love story of a selfish boy. Prakash (associate of Sukumar) will make his debut as director with this movie.

2. Department: I will be playing the role of a cop in Ram Gopal Varma’s next Bollywood project ‘Department’

Ram Gopal Varma is on a lean patch now. Is there any reason for working for him?
Directors like Steven Speilberg and Mani Ratnam too had flops. I loved his classics like Shiva, Kshana Kshanam, Gayam, Rangeela, Satya and Company. Department is a RGV’s kind of movie and I am sure that it will work.

How is it like going from South and working in Bollywood?
Many actors like Rajnikant, Kamal Hassan, Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna and Venkatesh did act in Bollywood and delivered hits. They did Bollywood films after they proved themselves at highest level in South. I made my Bollywood debut at the beginning of the career. I want to do many films irrespective of the language barrier.

What are your dream projects?
I have two dream projects. One is to do a big-canvas period film. The other one is to do a Tamil film. I learnt Tamil first and I was born and brought up in Chennai.

You have more than 1 lac followers on twitter. How do you react on twitter if any of your future film fails? You can’t be honest and accept it because it hurts the producer. You can’t lie because it might make your followers think that you are a hypocrite?
It is a hypothetical question. I haven’t faced that situation so far. I will deal it when I face it.

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