Rana is a hunk. But when he analyzes the state of affairs, he can look like a research scholar. In this interview with IndiaGlitz, he comes across as a personality who has got rare insight into the trends. After the release of Naa Istam, there is no doubt about his ability to become a worthy successor to Venky.
He talks about why he did Naa Ishtam, the contrasting roles he has done so far, why Department is different, why he thinks multi-starrers are possible in Tollywood, what makes dubbed movies work and so on.
On Naa Ishtam & his character:
Prakash Toleti narrated me the story even when I was shooting for Leader. At that time he explained me about the character, and it took more than one-and-a-half hours. This is one film that I have always wanted to do from beginning. Naa Ishtam is a complete commercial film. It is a character-based film, and the character's behaviour is so close to the real me.
I have never worked in this genre. You have never seen me in such a role before. Ganesh (character's name) is a variant of Sukumar's Arya, you could say. He is very selfish because he believes that if one is not selfish, others would take advantage of him. He believes that nobody who has got money in his hands is an orphan.
On Prakash Toleti:
I must say that Prakash Toleti is a fantastic writer. He is the best writer that I have ever met. He was a mathematics teacher like Sukumar. The detailing of the character, the body language, his thinking... He puts everything on paper. He told me every minute detail about how the character behaves.
There are only two truths in this word, he would say. Selfishness and love. Naa Ishtam is a mix of these two truths. The film drives home the message that one must be ready to save one's love.
Genelia compared to Rana, in Naa Istam:
Genelia is definitely a very experienced and fine actor. Her characters in the past were bubbly kind. In Naa Ishtam, her character is close to how she is in real life - very calm and composed. She is a complete contrast to my character. While I am too selfish, she is with me after giving up everything for the sake of love.
On trying dances in Naa Istam:
My intro song and an item song were choreographed under Prem Rakshit's direction and the rest of the songs were directed by Ganesh. We did fair enough rehearsals before going to the sets. I have tried things that I never did before. All the songs are high energy numbers.
Venkatesh vs Rana, with respect to dances:
I don't think it is appropriate to compare two actors. I am trying to bring out uniqueness to my performances to the best of my ability.
On the pace of his releases:
It was not conscious. In my first year I had one release. In my second year I had two releases. In my third year I have four films lined up for release. There has been gap in releases, but I never took off from work.
On his choice of films:
You ask me how I tried something new in Naa Ishtam. When I did Leader, I did not have the body language of a politician. So is the case with Dum Maro Dum and now Department. There are all very definitive characters. I chose them because I felt that I would be apt for them, given my mature voice, tall physique.. I behaved in the manner demanded by scripts. I never had priorities about what characters I should play. I knew I had a lineage and the support of fans here, but I always did only that in which I was interested.
For the first time in my career, here I am playing a character my age in Naa Ishtam. I behave very much like I am with my friends and at home.
First film, next director, last actor:
(At the end of the day) people are fans of films, not stars. Take for example Mahesh, who is the reigning star. Why didn't people watch Khaleja? A star is only as good as his film, just as an actor is only as good as the character he plays. If you ask my opinion, I would say that the order goes like this: First film, next director, last actor.
I am playing a Maharashtrian cop in Department. I think this is a film that is an extension to Sathya, Company and Sarkar. Sathya was a gangster film; Company was a gangster film narrating student-mentor dynamics, while Sarkar had the element of initiation.
Frankly, I never felt that I was doing a Hindi film until I dubbed for the movie. My director and my assistant director are Telugus.
Multi-starrers in Telugu:
In Hindi, multi-starrers have been possible because of the age profiles of the actors there.&nbs