No commercial movie formula for me: Rana

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 16:45

Rana Daggubati gets candid days before the release of 'Nene Raju Nene Mantri' on August 11th. In this interview, he talks about his character in the movie, working with Teja, his choices, his marriage, etc.

What it is about:

'Nene Raju-Nene Mantri' tells the story of one character's rise, fall from grace and rise. Jogendra is a small-town, honest businessman who lends money to farmers and leads a good life. His life changes when people of power suppress him. He is now thrown into a world of crime, politics, etc. His fall from the pedestal and how he redeems himself is what the film is all about.

Art film kind of approach:

Although the story is very commercial, the approach is art film-like. You start believing in the journey of the character as if the film were a biopic. The same happened in the case of 'Ghazi'. People believed that most of what was being said was true. Nijam ane feeling vastundi.

Hubby-wife relationship as the anchor:

After his marriage, Jogendra starts calling himself Radha Jogendra. 'NRNM' is a revenge drama, but it is more into issues related to the evolution of the husband-wife relationship.

We find people using proverbs in their conversations very frequently. Jogendra is much like that. We did consider titles like 'Jogendra' and 'Radha Jogendra'. We eventually chose a title that reflects the character's attitude. In the journey of the character, a lot of characters try to defeat him. It's like a game of chess where he has to outdo his enemies.

The story kept on evolving:

The character has no reference to any real-life politician. Actually, the story kept on being evolved for 10 months when I was doing 'Baahubali-2' and didn't know when it would be completed (laughs). Teja garu discussed the idea with so many people. We took suggestions like when someone said something similar happened in Russia.

Teja garu is a die-hard fan of MGR. He knows much about his philosophy. The 'pancha kattu' style in the movie reflects what he observed during his days in Madras.

Not a political film:

This is not a political film like 'Leader', which was the story of a politician wanting to make change happen. Politics is just a backdrop in which the story of 'NRNM' unfolds. There is a love story which is told through songs. Just as in the Hollywood movie 'The Wolf of Wall Street' (2013), wherein a sad story is told in a jovial manner, we tried to adopt it here.

You will also be reminded of the kind of heroism we saw in films like Mohan Babu garu's 'M Dharmaraju MA'. It has been many years since the audience has seen such kind of heroism.

No change in me:

I am the same kind of person before and after 'Baahubali'. By birth, I have been the same adventurous person. Because of 'Baahubali', I was able to do films like 'Ghazi'.

Dad's involvement:

My father knows well how to select good stories. Suresh Productions has always believed in making story-based movies. He is the kind who asks many questions/doubts while listening to the story and that helps.

Tollywood is very safe:

If you read the FICCI report, it's Tollywood alone which is doing a balanced job. The Bombay film industry has been stagnant for the last five years. Kollywood has been on a downhill. What fails is not the film; it's the budget that fails a movie. People ask me why I and Akshay Kumar didn't do the movie we had planned. The thing is we wanted to do it in Rs. 1.50 Cr or so.

There was a time when North Indians couldn't even differentiate between Telugu and Tamil industries. 'Baahubali' changed that.

What next?:

I myself don't know what I am going to do next. I failed when I did a regular commercial movie. That format doesn't work for me. What excites me are newer backdrops. Same goes with my films '1945' and the international project I am going to do.

As for 'Vikram Vedha' remake, I learnt it from news outlets. (Laughs).


(Laughs). When I did 'Ghazi', nobody asked me if I will join the Navy. Why then are you asking me if I will join politics just because I have done 'NRNM'?

The 'No. 1 Yaari' experience:

It has been great. I could have brought big names on the show and ensured very high TRPs. But I want to bring only actual friends. When I brought Rajamouli and Sobhu Yarlagadda, I did that because I have seen their friendship for five years. Same goes with Chaitanya and Sumanth.

Tarak has got so much spontaneity and his diction is alright. Bigg Boss Telugu has got different vibes compared with the Tamil version, as it's an older actor hosting it there.

School children doing drugs!:

If you are doing drugs, that is your problem. But if your child does, it's very dangerous. When I went to Chennai, people there were asking me about how the drugs thing could spoil the image of the Telugu industry. A few months ago, they were hailing Tollywood for bringing out 'Baahubali'. A few months later, they have another issue.

No pressure to get married:

I am facing no pressure from my family to get married. May be, they will talk about it after the release of 'NRNM'.