Controversy’s self-confessed poster-boy, Rana Daggubati has cleared the air about the gossip surrounding him with a slew of denials — the latest being his entry to the sequel to Hrithik Roshan’s superhero hit Krrish.
“Name Krrish and what comes in mind is Hrithik Roshan. I was never approached for it,” says the 26-year-old, who was in the city recently to promote his debut Bollywood movie Dum Maaro Dum (DMD). There has been link-up stories of Rana and his DMD co-star Bipasha Basu.
“I’ve been a poster boy for controversies since my first Telugu film, Leader. My first film was a political film. There were issues regarding its release as it was pushed ahead thrice because of the condition in Andhra Pradesh at that time,” he says.
“I never knew Bipasha before the film. The link-ups are all baseless. She is a dear friend and that's what she will always be. She has done so much cinema and has seen so many newcomers. Most of this is Mumbai media manufactured. There’s nothing true in it at all,” he adds.
But what about his reported split with actor Shriya Saran after reports about his proximity to the Bong beauty circulated? "I was not seeing anybody in the first place, and I am single," he says with a giggle.
Talking about his maiden Hindi venture, Rana says he initially thought his role in DMD was just a one-scene act.
“I thought it was a cameo. By the time I read the script, I realised my character is the same as the other two protagonists (Abhishek Bachchan and Prateik Babbar),” says the actor.
Daggubati is glad he picked up the role. “My career as an actor has seen some very pleasant surprising turns. I signed DMD even before my Telugu debut Leader came out. What excited me was that the character is a Goan musician and I knew that I can’t do anything of that sort or nature in any Telugu movie or Tamil film because of our regional boundaries,” he says.
Throwing light on his character, he says, “I play a classic Goan, very laid back, relaxed and chilled out. He is like a mute spectator.”
He also had to undergo a series of look tests for his part. “We did a series of look tests like growing my beard and then taking my beard off, etc for a proper Goan look. We took images of musicians from Goa just to see the style of how they usually keep their hair or beard,” he says.
That’s not it, as he also had to learn to master the fret board. “I had Pritam’s guitarist who was throughout with me even months before we started shooting. I trained enough to get the rhythm right so now I can switch cord quickly,” he says.
Based in Hyderabad, Rana’s accent is heavy with southern influence. He said he underwent a series of diction classes for the role.
“I speak Hyderabadi Hindi. Rohan actually send me the dialogues of the film five to six weeks prior to the shoot and we had a diction trainer in Bombay. So I ran through the diction a couple of times. By the time I went on set, it was all sorted,” he says.
Rana was also praises for his co-star Prateik Babbar. “When I started doing the workshop in Bombay, Prateik was there with me. He is like a younger brother to me. He is an extremely talented and sweet kid. I grew very fond of him,” he says.
“AB (Abhishek Bachchan) was someone I knew since earlier in person. So he was kind of my comfort factor. He is a great guy to work with. I don’t know how he doesn’t get tired and lose his energy,” he adds.
So, what next after DMD? “There has been a lot of interest and I’ll definitely sign a Bollywood film this year. I’ll do one film at a time. I’m starting another Telugu film after this. I haven’t signed anything. It’s the most interesting space I’m sitting in right now,” says Rana, who wouldn't shift to Mumbai because of its traffic.
“I have a problem with the Mumbai traffic. I have a big house in Hyderabad. To have a house like that in Bombay, I’ll have to be the richest man in the country. And then we live in a joint family – me, dad and my granddad. So I don’t think so that’s happening. And the airline connectivity is so easy,” he smiles.
So does his uncle Venkatesh gave him any advice before his big Bollywood debut?
“He never tells me stuff while I’m doing it. He tells me after I’m done. Ultimately we are all left on our own,” he says.
Not many know that Rana has also been a pioneer of technology down south. “I ran a visual effects company for five years till I sold it because I didn’t want to be a part of the service business anymore. To me at the end of the day it was more of a sweat shop which was not the business I wanted to be in,” he reveals.
“That way I’ve also produced films,” he adds.
Among his future projects, he is also “doing some co-productions”. “I’d like to direct, write and do more and grow more in the big ocean of films,” he says.
He was also pepped up about coming to the capital.
“Only thing I know about Delhi is where to go and pick up the National Awards. Once I came to pick one as a producer for a regional film and once with my grandfather when he was given the Dadasaheb Phalke award,” he says.