Daggubati Rana’s foray into visual effects set a new precedent in Telugu films. He’s now eyeing the gaming segment amidst gearing up for his acting debut, finds Sangeetha Devi Dundoo
Daggubati Rana is the most talked about tinsel town bachelor these days. He’s being groomed to make his acting debut following his uncle’s (actor Venkatesh) footsteps. Rana himself has been making blink-and-miss appearances on the city’s social radar, busy with work in Hyderabad and Mumbai.
Credited with producing an offbeat film like A Belly Full of Beans and introducing cutting edge visual effects into Telugu films through his firm Spirit Media, Rana doesn’t fathom the fuss about him making his acting debut. “Acting will happen. But there’s no way I’ll stop work with visual effects and gaming once I become an actor,” he tells us, on a quiet afternoon at Spirit Media.
Right now, more than acting, it’s the gaming sector that’s keeping Rana busy. A team of 200 artistes have been developing games for movies. The first, D 2.5, will release shortly. “This will be the first PC-based game to be developed in India for films and it comes from Hyderabad. D 2.5 is based on Dhoom 2 and lies somewhere between Dhoom 2 and 3. We’ve also developed a game for Aamir Khan’s Ghazini, which will be released before the films hits theatres,” he says.
For those who’ve tuned in just now, the gaming sector, particularly PC-based games, is still a nascent market in India. “There have been plenty of games for the mobile phone. The cost to develop those games and download them are much lesser compared to PC games. It takes a year to develop a PC game and the investment works out to US $ 400-450,000, excluding the licence,” Rana informs.Shooting in the dark
The target is the film-loving audience. “The comic culture isn’t big in India. We have a 3D game on Archies but the market for cartoon games is small. I have a team researching on comic-based games but we are still shooting in the dark. With D 2.5, we will know the market for gaming. The growth percentage is around 200 per cent annually but in terms of numbers it is small. Abroad, there are different games for different age groups — 8-12, 12-20, 20-40 and so on. In India, everyone plays the same game or no one plays anything.”
Rana is chalking out plans to popularise the games through home video segment in India and abroad, apart from tapping schools and colleges. The real threat is the piracy factor. “We have different methods to combat piracy but the pirates are smarter,” he sighs.Visual language
On a larger perspective, Rana says, “Spirit Media used to be a service based company but no longer. We are keen on developing content based on films and licensing them for IP (intellectual property rights) — content stemming from films for games, television, comics and you name it.”
His firm has worked on visual effects and postproduction for 70 to 80 films and experimented with digital colour correction for Sainikudu. “I believe in training myself for whatever I do, be it visual effects, using ARRISCAN or DI (digital intermediate). To understand cinema, it’s important to understand the visual language of photography. I learnt industrial photography in Chennai for two years,” says Rana, who often quotes from George Lucas. “I admire Lucas’ work since he brought in visual effects into cinema.”
Rana’s next focus is on acting, a different ballgame from the back end operations he is used to till now. “Today, there’s place for an out-of-the-box person like me. Films like Happy Days and Anasuya have proved that.” He scoffs at rumours of rivalry between him and Ram Charan Teja: “Charan and I have grown up together and been friends since school days. It’s funny to hear that since we both are at loggerheads merely because we are going to be competing actors,” he signs off.