His films and affairs were ample fodder for rumour mills in tinsel town but this prince charming preferred to focus on his career. As he sits for an interview, his charm and tall frame compliments his wit. With a high-profile movie in the pipeline, Rana Daggubati is on a spree to capture hearts in Bollywood. Shravan Shah decodes.
After having a successful career in movies down South, you are back yet again with Baby and your role seems quite promising. Can you tell us something about it?
Baby is a very realistic action thriller and I portray the role of Jai Singh Rathod who is a weapon and hand combat expert. My team and I are on an undercover operation. He leads a very secretive life. He comes when the job is to be done post which he disappears. In the film I enter at a crucial time. The performances and action scenes are shot very realistically.
You are being directed by the very talented Neeraj Pandey and are sharing screen space with veterans from the industry. How has the journey been?
I shared most of the screen space in the film with Akshay Kumar and Anupam Kher. Both of them are super talented actors and fine human beings. Most of the scenes of the film we shot were in Abu Dhabi where all three of us were stuck in a dessert and didn’t have anything to do (laughs). It was a huge learning experience and I took back a lot from both of these veterans as well as Neeraj (Pandey). He is a superb filmmaker to work with. He is somebody who is very clear and focuses in the style of cinema he makes and continues to do so. I’m really looking forward to work on more projects with him.
You had a very successful career as an entrepreneur. What made you take up acting? Is it because of the family lineage of producers and actors?
Well, I sold my company and didn’t have a job, so I got into acting (laughs). I grew up in films and as an entrepreneur, I used to work in films. Soon I started getting offers and thus from a visual effects supervisor, I became an actor. Maybe years later I’ll be something else, but I’ll always orbit around films. This is my world.
Apart from Baby you have Bahubali releasing this year. It has been anticipated since 2013.
We shot for 281 days, and when people ask me what have you been doing since three years I say that I have been doing a single film which is not out yet (laughs). I can surely promise that Bahubali is the largest and biggest visual spectacle ever seen in Indian cinema. It is a fictional war tale which has never been made before. The beauty of this film is that we are re-writing the history which was never there, a time which never existed. We shot the climax of part one, which is a war scene for 120 days. A lot of efforts and hard work has gone behind the film. A lot of ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘look videos’ are out from which the audience can have a fair idea of what Bahubali is all about.
So do we have Bahubali 2 as well?
Yes of course. Bahubali does have a sequel but for that, you guys won’t have to wait so long. We have already shoot 60 per cent of the lm and it will release in 2016.
Mumbai has always been welcoming. Every time I am here, it is fun being a part of this industry. I hardly know people here but they have always been kind and supportive.
Since the start of your career, you had created a buzz in B-town with your acting chops and your ‘friendship’ with Bipasha Basu. Is everything okay now between you two?
There was never a problem between Bipasha (Basu) and me. It was always a problem in the newspapers. We were in a relationship in the media and we broke up also in the media. And every time I kept saying everything was ne between us, nobody believed me, so I have stopped saying it.
Now that you are three films old in Bollywood, are you adapting to it? What has the transformation been like?
“Bipasha and I were in a relationship in the media and we broke up also in the media.”
A lot of Bollywood directors are remaking Southern films. Why so? Are those films more original?
It has always been the case and since quite a long time. It’s not only about Bollywood remaking south films, it’s also vice versa. A lot of Bollywood films have been remade in the south. A story that is good will always remain good even if it is remade in any language.
Very few know that you are a photographer as well as a visual effects coordinator. What are you doing on that front now?
I haven’t been doing anything of late. I tried helping a friend who is a visual effects supervisor on a film and understood that I had forgotten a lot of things. Also it’s been four years since I have moved out from that profession and now there has been a massive change in technology, which I haven’t coped up with. When I was working on Bahubali, I knew more than the other actors and that really got me excited.
What are you future ventures for Bollywood?
I am working on Bahubali 2; while in Bollywood I have signed a film title Nia for which the timeline is yet to be fixed. I am also doing a Telegu film. That’s it for the next year.