There are very few actors in Tollywood who are always up for challenges and ready to experiment with their films and, undoubtedly, Rana Daggubati stands first in the list. This man doesn’t really give a damn about the result of the film but never hesitates to experiment with every movie he does. Despite being born into a filmy family, Rana’s entry into film industry was not like the usual star kid launch we see these days.
At a time where star-kids look out for top directors and commercial movies, Rana did not play any ‘safe game’. Instead, he ‘experimented’ with a political drama ‘Leader’ with director Shekar Kammula, whose movies don’t give much room for heavy-duty action or melodrama. Rana played his character, Arjun Prasad, sincerely, and the film garnered tremendous critical acclaim and even helped him bag a Filmfare award.
The choice of his second movie tells us about his experimental thoughts. Shortly after the release of Leader, Rana decided to add Bollywood dimension to his career by essaying a pivotal role in Dum Maaro Dum. The film was a moderate success at the box office, but Rana’s name did make some noise as the actor shared the screen with Abhishek Bachchan and Bipasha Basu.
Rana was back in Tollywood with Puri Jagan’s “Nenu Na Rakshasi” – where he played the role of a professional assassin. Though the movie didn’t live up to the expectations, the experimental factor here is that the movie is made in the genre of filmnoir – something that’s rare to our Telugu audience.
Rana’s next was with Ram Gopal Varma, who, at that time, was on a spree of flops. The actor still decided to go ahead with RGV and donned the cap of an encounter specialist in ‘Department’, where he acted alongside Bollywood biggies like Sanjay Dutt and Amitabh Bachchan. His next movie in Telugu was his first love story based film – ‘Naa Ishtam’ – which turned out to be a dud. But on a lighter note, this movie’s result seems to be that one experiment Rana surely doesn’t want to try anything like this again – which he never did.
It was in ‘Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum‘, Rana was seen as a stellar performer and got maximum mileage as an actor. His voice and diction was used to the maximum effect in this social drama. It was great to see Rana experimenting a commercial movie with director Krish, who had directed just two films – Gamyam and Vedam – both being non-commercial ones.
Rana never hesitated to give brief appearances in films. He played a significant role in Tamil film Arrambam (Aata Arambam in Telugu). Talk about experiment here? well, his character ‘Sanjay’ dies in this film (mana vaalaku ardam ayyundaali). Rana also did a cameo in ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewaani’, ‘Something Something’ before essaying a supporting role in ‘Baby’. Call it an unexpected experiment, the reason Rana could pull off this film was because Prabhas suffered a knee-injury during the shoot of Baahubali. Having 3-4 months in hand, Rana met Neeraj Pandey and wrapped up his shoot part in just 35 days.
Rana’s role as Bhallaladeva, a ruthless antagonist, in the blockbuster ‘Baahubali’ doesn’t need much talk. Rana decided to take the negative role in the magnum opus and the rest is history.
While one would hesitate to immediately repeat a genre, Rana went on to do another epic drama ‘Rudramadevi’ – in which he played the role of Chalukya Veerabhadra. This tells us that he is never fixed to any specific template or style when it comes to choosing films.
After a few cameos, the actor did ‘Ghazi Attack‘ – India’s first war-at-sea film. The very subject of the film besides choosing a debutante to direct the film is an experiment and Rana proved his finesse. After wrapping up the Baahubali with its sequel, Rana experimented with a political-drama ‘Nene Raju Nene Mantri‘ wherein the protagonist dies in the end. The movie under Teja’s direction raised many eyebrows as the director did not have a good success for quite a long time. This shows how Rana is up for challenges mixed with timely experiments.
The actor is now geared up to play Travancore King in Mollywood debut. If there’s one actor in Tollywood whose next film genre is something which you cannot predict – it is Rana Daggubati!
He never tried to impress the audience as a mass hero. He never tried to portray himself as a ‘star hero’. The man kept experimenting with every film all thanks to his unconditional love for cinema and we hope he continues the same. Thank You Rana Daggubati.. You’re a ‘true hero’.
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