Starweek - - Star Interview -

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.

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