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‘Chennai accepts offbeat and commercial films in the same breath’

…says Rana Daggubati who was in the city to launch the trailer of his multilingual film Kaadan (Aranya in Telugu and Haathi Mere Saathi in Hindi)

‘Chennai accepts offbeat and commercial films in the same breath’
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Rana in Kaadan

Chennai

Rana doesn’t mind talking about Kaadan for hours together and still remains with the same enthusiasm he had while he entered the venue. “The reason is to make such a film in Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi on a mammoth scale, and to launch the trailer in Chennai is surreal. It is because Chennai accepts both offbeat and commercial films in the same breath. When you do an action film in three languages or a romantic film for that matter, the audience embraces it. When you do a film with an elephant they interrogate you. In Telugu, they see such a film as an experimental film. In the North, they see this as an attempt by actors and technicians down south. It is in Chennai, the audience understands why and how we made this unlike the others,” he elaborates. Rana goes on to say that Kaadan isn’t a film in which he acted and went back to the hotel. “Some films can impact you and Kaadan is one such film. It changed me as a person forever. Having shot this in the jungle for over two years, my relationship with nature changed. What we give to nature is what we get from it is something I understood clearly,” he says.

After taking us to the world of Mahishmathi through his character Pallvaal Thevar and the world of a submarine in Ghazi as Arjun Verma, Rana is set to take us into the world of the jungle by playing Bandev. “I like to explore the unexplored. When I co-produced Bommalaata in 2005 it won a National Award but wasn’t commercially viable. I understood that a story needs a hero to take it to the audience. I also understood that there are lots of stories that people ought to know. That’s why I did a film like Ghazi and Kaadan now.” Is that the reason why he takes 24 to 36 months to make a film while his best buddies are releasing two films a year? “Films are forever sir,” he says in a hefty tone. “Nobody will ask you for how many days you shot or how many takes you gave for a scene. All they need to know that the film is good,” he tells us.

Of late, the word pan-India has become the new strategy to sell films in a wider horizon. Rana quips, “Yes. Everyone is saying Pan-India. I have been in that pan for the last 11 years. But with a film like Kaadan, people in Coimbatore, as well as Assam, can relate. Isn’t that what Pan-India means?” Having said that people during the lockdown started appreciating offbeat content, like the ones Rana has been delivering in the last decade. Tell him that the audience needs “Rana Daggubati-kind of films” for and post lockdown, he laughs, “Let me finish my coffee. Yes, people have started looking for something new and can enrich their lives. They need a new experience to keep them interested. I will continue doing those films.” We congratulate him on his wedding to Miheeka as we leave. “Every time we met, you asked me about my wedding date. Finally, you have an answer to it,” he says and the director of Kaadan Prabu Solomon walks past us saying, “It is now a permanent lockdown for Rana.”

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