Directors seem to like the idea of exploring newer genres with me, says Rana Daggubati
Days before the release of his debut Hindi film, Rana Daggubati describes his state of mind to be ‘susegad' to borrow a Goan term. “The word describes my character of a chilled out Goan musician, Joki. Chilled out is my state of mind at the moment and I've always been like that,” he says.
Rohan Sippy's Dum Maaro Dum pitches him against Abhishek Bachchan, Prateik Babbar and Bipasha Basu. “Everyone is talking about the way I look in DMD. Come on, I was a khakhi-clad strict, rigid politician in Leader. As a Goan musician, I better look drastically different,” he laughs.
Rana landed up in Goa days ahead of the shooting to get the vibes of the city. “I am not a veteran actor. I've just done one movie. I wanted to hang out there and see how I can handle the character. Goa is one of my favourite holiday destinations. We've always seen the touristy side of Goa. DMD unfolds in Goa that we have never seen before on Indian screen,” explains Rana.
Getting his diction right was easier said than done. “Hyderabadi Hindi is Hindi that no one else can understand. And I think in Telugu or Tamil and not in Hindi,” laughs the actor. “I had a month-long training in Hindi while in Mumbai. We also had a diction trainer on the sets. Add to that, I had to lip sync a Konkani song and say a few lines in Konkani. Now, that's a foreign language to me. I had never heard Konkani before. And thanks to Phalguni and others who worked on my look to ensure that a Telugu guy looked Goan,” he laughs.
He is all praise for his co-stars for not making him feel like an outsider. “Prateik and I were the first ones to start shooting for the film. Prateik is younger than me and he is extremely brilliant and honesty in his acting. He holds the beginning of the film and he sounds so true to what he is saying on screen. Abhishek is the only one I knew from before and he was my comfort zone. I had never met Bipasha before and she ensured that I felt at ease working with her,” he says.
Eyeing Tamil cinema
Ask Rana about having an unconventional launch in both Telugu and Hindi and he guffaws, “I think every director who wants to move away from his regular genre ends up calling me. Shekhar moved from family dramas to political drama with me. Rohan has never explored the drug-mafia nexus before DMD. Jagan (Puri Jagganath) is doing something different in Nenu Naa Rakshashi. And Selva Raghavan, unlike his earlier movies, is doing a hard hitting action film in my Telugu-Tamil bilingual,” he explains.
Up for release is also Nenu Naa Rakshashi, which Rana describes as “a romantic thriller involving two complex characters with saddened lives. The subtext of the film is that suicide is the permanent solution for all our temporary problems. Generally, I like to have reference points. Before Leader, I watched movies like American President to see how actors like Michael Douglas deal with such characters. But I couldn't find a single reference point for Puri's film. Korean films do deal with such issues but they are too dark,” he states.
Finally, we ask him about another aspiring actor from his family and Rana laughs, “My brother? He is a Standard XII student. Come to think of it, each one of my family members has had something to do with movies. Cinema is a way of life for us. For a short time, I dabbled with a BPO company but realised that was not what I wanted to do. There is so much madness in movies that makes this journey exciting. Your journey begins from scratch in each movie. No other job in the world can match that,” he says, resting the case about why his family will always be in the business of entertainment.