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Updated: December 13, 2011 17:30 IST

Leader to gangster

Sangeetha Devi Dundoo
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POISED TO SUCCEED Rana Daggubati. Photo: Nagara Gopal
POISED TO SUCCEED Rana Daggubati. Photo: Nagara Gopal

Birthday boy Rana Daggubati feels blessed to be working in three languages with some of the best directors, he tells Sangeetha Devi Dundoo

Rana Daggubati, who celebrates his birthday on Wednesday, feels both blessed and lucky. “When I started working in films, I had made a wish list — I wanted to work in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi films. I am lucky that I am now part of all the three industries so early in my career,” he says with a smile.

Rana's new Telugu film, Krishnam Vande Jagathgurum, directed by Krish Jagarlamudi, will be launched on Wednesday. “I believe that the stories choose me and not otherwise. Krish's film is an action revenge drama, where I am a stage artiste. In the last 10 years, I haven't seen a representation of Telugu theatre in our films,” he says. He's been fortunate, he admits, to have worked with directors like Sekhar Kammula, Puri Jagannadh, Rohan Sippy and now Ram Gopal Varma, Vetrimaaran and Krish. “Incidentally, most of these directors moved away from their regular genre and explored an alternative space when they came to me,” he says.

2012 looks promising with Naa Ishtam and Krishnam Vande Jagathgurum in Telugu, Department in Hindi and Vada Chennai in Tamil.

Rana spent his growing years in Chennai and given his fluency in Tamil, one would have expected him to have done a Tamil film earlier. “Of course, I thought I would get to do a Tamil film after Leader. Surprisingly, Rohan (Sippy) called me for Dum Maaro Dum and the Hindi debut happened,” says Rana.

The actor was earlier slated to do a Tamil-Telugu bilingual with Selvaraghavan, which has been put on hold. “Somehow our timings never coincide. Meanwhile, Vetrimaaran offered Vada Chennai. His films Aadukalam and Polladhavan are among my favourite films. Vada Chennai is a gangster film with Simbhu and me,” adds Rana.

Before that, we will see Rana in Ram Gopal Varma's Department and Prakash Toleti's Naa Ishtam. Speaking of Department, Rana says, “I grew up watching RGV's films like Shiva and much later Satya and Company. I am amazed at RGV's understanding of how the mafia works. I don't think any other director in India can match him on that front.” Department is a drama between an underworld don (Amitabh Bachchan) and cops (Sanjay Dutt and Rana).

Despite being part of big projects, Rana's last two releases — Dum Maaro Dum and Nenu Na Rakshashi — didn't set the BO on fire. “DMD got a good opening and helped me in my career. It was because of DMD that I got Department. With Nenu…, I knew I was doing a dark film. People expected another Pokiri kind of film from Puri sir. Having said that, I must mention that I really enjoyed working in the film. I believe that, sometimes, you learn more from your failures than through success.”

On a parting note, he mentions that it's been a series of celebrations at home. “My uncle (Venkatesh)'s film Bodyguard's audio was launched on his birthday on Tuesday and I am starting my new film to mark my birthday. There's plenty of reason to celebrate.”

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