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Rana talks elaborately on his next movie, marriage, etc [Interview]
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 • Telugu Comments

Rana Daggubati Interview

Rana Daggubati is not at all nervous as 'Nene Raju-Nene Mantri' braces itself to compete with two other movies on August 11th.  His confidence says it all.  "The kind of movies I do, nobody else does," he says with a glint in his eyes.

In this interview, the hunk talks about what went into the evolution of 'NRNM' as a story, what the film is about, the experience of working with Teja, so on and so forth.

What is the character of Jogendra like?

'Nene Raju-Nene Mantri' is more about the journey of Jogendra.  He is an honest money-lender in a dry town like Anantapur/Kurnool or whatever.  His rise is sought to be halted when he is suppressed by the powers-that-be.  How he fights back and rises again is what completes the journey.  When he flips back, he is in the midst of the world of crime and politics.  In the process, he finds his redemption.

What are his character traits?

He is not a politician of the variety you saw in my debut movie 'Leader'.  Just as many of those who use proverbs in day-to-day conversations, Jogendra uses them, be it as an ordinary man or when he becomes a force. What is the film's USP in terms of the narrative style?

The story is definitely commercial, but the approach is what it is like in art movies.  There is an effort to make the audience in the auditorium believe that what is unfolding on the screen is a real story.  'Ghazi' told a story without knowing what is there in the classified information related to the 1971 battle.  In terms of making the audience believe it's a true story, 'NRNM' achieves the same.

In tracing the character's journey, the film introduces several characters.  There are those who try to outmaneuver him, there are others whom Jogendra outwits, etc.

Where does Kajal Aggarwal's character figure amidst all this?

She is playing my wife Radha.  Jogendra rechristens himself as Radha Jogendra after he marries her.  While being a revenge drama, the film narrates the changes in the husband-wife relationship.

Why the title?

At one point, we wanted to go with 'Jogendra' or 'Radha Jogendra' as the title.  But 'NRNM' aptly gives a sense of Jogendra's character and his attitude.

Teja hasn't had hits for years.  Didn't you have second thoughts before choosing him?  How was it working with him?

Sankalp had no film when I did 'Ghazi' with him.

Teja garu has seen it all as he worked with AVM Studios, he lived in some areas of Madras, etc.  As a huge MGR fan, he has brought a perspective to Jogendra's character.  We all know MGR as a phenomenon, but Teja garu's understanding goes beyond.

When I was doing 'Baahubali-2', the story was being discussed with many people.  The story evolved over 9-10 months in that way.  Jogendra has no resemblance to any real-life politician.

Is 'NRNM' a political film?

'Leader' was a political film, but this is not.  Politics is the backdrop, but the story is something else.  The love story is told through songs.  It tells the journey of Jogendra entertainingly.  If you have watched the Hollywood movie 'Wolf Of Wall Street', which narrates a sad story in a lighter-veined fashion, you will know what I am saying.

On the narration front, 'NRNM' also draws from the kind of heroism seen in 'M Dharmaraju MA' (Mohan Babu-starrer).

Did Suresh Babu give any suggestions?

My father is someone who asks doubts, thereby triggering new thoughts.  Suresh Productions believes in making films with good stories.

How have you changed as a person after 'Baahubali'?

I am the same kind of person.  There hasn't been any change at all.  I was always adventurous and I am the same.  Had I not done 'Baahubali, perhaps 'Ghazi' wouldn't have happened.  I can work newer backdrops now.

You are into acting, you involve in movie-making, you are doing TV, you are into business.  How many hats?

(Laughs).  Recently, I discovered while going through my Twitter that I am everywhere.  The thing is I never planned to do all this at once.  It took time for some things to fall into place.

You have played both negative and positive roles.  What is your comfort zone?

I would know it only when I essay a character.  I did a regular commercial movie once.  There were those regular fights in it.  I discovered that it doesn't work for me.  I don't understand the regular format.

You had planned a production venture with Akshay Kumar.  What happened to that?

It's the budget that fails a movie, not the film.  We wanted to do the movie within Rs. 1.50 Cr.  The rights are still with us.

Telugu film industry is doing a fine balancing act as here we have patrons, the ticket pricing is right, etc.  Bollywood has been stagnant, while Kollywood is not doing that great.

What are you taking up after 'NRNM'?  Are you doing the remake of 'Vikram Vedha' with Venkatesh?

The way I choose newer backdrops, I wouldn't know it exactly.  I did 'Ghazi' when I discovered Sankalp accidentally.

'1945', set in British Indian era, tells a love story in the backdrop of the disappearance of Bose, which left the army leaderless.

I too have read about me doing 'Vikram Vedha' remake from newspapers (Smiles).

You have played a politician twice in your career.  Will you debut in politics some day?

When I did 'Ghazi', did anybody ask me if I will be joining the Navy?  (Laughs).  Why is it that you are asking me this question about whether I will join politics?

I am not villainous like Bhallaladeva, I am not greatly patriotic like the naval officer I played in 'Ghazi', nor am I like Jogendra in real life!

You are doing great as a host on 'No. 1 Yaari'.  How are you approaching the show?

I want to keep it very real and so, the idea is to invite real friends so that it's enjoyable.  I brought Rajamouli garu and Sobhu garu for the same reason.  I invited Chaitanya and Sumanth for the same reason.  Gaining in terms of TRPs by going for big names for the sake of it is not the idea.

Co-incidentally, NTR too is doing great on TV.

It's good.  Tarak's diction and spontaneity are something very few people have.  The format of 'No. 1 Yaari' and 'Bigg Boss' is totally different.  You have to keep following all the episodes.  The vibes of the Telugu version are different from those of the Tamil version, as it's an older actor hosting the show in that language.

You have been asked about the drugs scandal so many times.  You recently said that adults doing drugs is not your concern.  Why so?

The adults are informed.  If they are doing drugs, it's their problem.  But children doing drugs is dangerous stuff.

I disagree when people say that the issue is bringing a bad name to Telugu film industry.  Three months ago, they were calling us the biggest evolving industry in India.  Suddenly, drugs are projected to be pervasive.  Three months from now, there is going to be another narrative!

When is the dream boy of many girls getting married?  Aren't you being pressurized to marry?

There is no pressure from my family to get married.  I suppose they will talk about it after the release of 'NRNM'.