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Courting Fame

harshikaa udasi
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chatline Considered the hottest import from the South, Rana Daggubati is all set for an exciting innings in Bollywood. harshikaa udasi has the details

I t was December 2009. The promos of Telugu film Leader had hit the screens and were courting controversy for depicting the murky world of politics. The protagonist of the film, Rana Daggubati, grandson of producer D. Ramanaidu and son of D. Suresh Babu, was hoping to get his next big Telugu film. Instead, he got a call from producer-director Rohan Sippy's office in Mumbai. “It appears they liked me in the promos itself! I don't think I ever expected that. No one can ever; not when you are awaiting your debut release in a regional language,” says Rana, who has become the hottest import from the South to tinsel town with his first Hindi release this month, Dum Maaro Dum (April 22).

Dum Maaro Dum (title inspired by the ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna' song), is a film based on Goa and its dark underbelly. It stars Abhishek Bachchan as a cop fighting his own dark past, Prateik, a student who is ready to sell his soul to go to the U.S., Rana as DJ Joki, Bipasha Basu as Zoe, an aspiring airhostess and a child of the hippy generation, and Aditya Pancholi as Biscuit, an unethical local businessman.

Rana plays Joaquim Fernandes, a Goa-based musician and deejay, in the film. “I just jumped for it when I got to know about the role. I am very excited about playing a musician and DJ. A Goan musician? I don't think I could have landed something similar to this in Telugu cinema,” says Rana frankly. DJ Joki (short for Joaquim), has a laidback attitude to life and remains a mute spectator to what is happening around him. He drifts aimlessly after an encounter with the drug mafia cost him everything he held dear.

Ask him if Joki was an easy character to play after essaying the role of a serious politician, and he denies it. “The challenge was to unlearn everything I did for Leader. As a politician, my mannerisms were very different from what was required of this musician from Goa. Thankfully, there was a two-month workshop with Rohan and the entire cast where I got to hone my skills. Especially my diction and handling of the guitar. Composer Pritam's guitarist was with me throughout, guiding me to play like a professional!”

Point out that his diction would come under a microscope, and he laughs, “I come from Hyderabad, so at least I am comfortable with Hindi. But definitely the style and the accent required work. The good thing was the dialogues were locked with the script, early on. So I got a lot of time to perfect them.”

Classic ensemble

Asked about screen space in Dum Maaro Dum, Rana says, “Three stories run parallel in the film; Prateik's, Abhishek's and mine. Each has been well etched. It is a classic ensemble. We are very different in the film, not just character-wise but physically too.” Incidentally, all three come from a background steeped in films. “Yes. I feel the bond was better because of this. Abhishek comes from a family of actors, Prateik too and I am from a family of producers. It definitely helped.”

Prod him about his working relationship with co-actor Bipasha, and he says it was good. That's all? The industry is rife with rumours that their growing fondness was the trigger for the John-Bipasha break-up. “All such reports are baseless. It's demeaning to creativity and art. In a film, different people, and in this particular one, from different regions come together. Let's be appreciative of that.” But it doesn't hurt to have such reports when the said co-star is playing your love interest, does it? “It doesn't help either. When I used to go to watch a movie I would do it because I liked the promo, not because actor A was linked to actor B,” he adds.

The actor has a Telugu release too, just one week down the line from Dum Maaro Dum. A romantic action film, Nenu Naa Rakshasi stars Ileana D'Cruz opposite Rana and is directed by Puri Jagannadh. Come April, Rana is set to begin a Tamil-Telugu action film with Selvaraghavan.


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