He comes from an illustrious film family, spearheaded a technological revolution in southern cinema and now Rana Daggubati is set to make a mark as an actor with Telugu movie Leader, an intense political drama. The debutant actor says facing the camera was the obvious next step for him.
"Being born in a family of filmmakers, I had the opportunity to understand the skills required to excel in cinema. Also, since I come from a family of actors, stepping into the world of acting came naturally to me," Rana, grandson of veteran Telugu film actor-producer D. Ramanaidu and son of producer D. Suresh Babu, told IANS in an e-mail interview.
"I took a break from production and underwent two years of intensive training in acting. My uncle Venkatesh has been my guide and showed me a methodical way of going about it. How well you perform in your first film shapes your future; so I hope the audience accepts my performance in 'Leader'," the 26-year-old said.
"In fact, before the shooting began, we rehearsed and shot the film for 30 days on video. I also did a lot of research before stepping into the shoes of my character," said Rana, who plays a young politician in the film.
He says that he observed young leaders like like Rahul Gandhi, Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia for his role.
"My role is intriguing and intense. The film is a political drama and is relevant in the current political environment and can strike a chord with audiences of all ages. I've portrayed a young visionary, born in a powerful yet dynamic political family and out of sheer choice my character takes up the mantle of a leader in a highly volatile environment," he said.
Former Miss India US Richa Gangopadhyay and Priya Anand play the female leads. Suman, Kota Srinivas and Subba Raju will also be seen along with Rana in the film scheduled for a Christmas release. "Suhasini Mani Ratnam plays my mother in the film," he said.
Produced by AVM Productions and written and directed by Shekar Kammula, Leader was largely shot in Hyderabad and 20 other rural locations in Andhra Pradesh. It was wrapped up in 150 days.
"National Award winning art director Thotta Tharani designed massive sets for the film. He managed to create the right ambience and mood for the film," said the debutant who is fluent in Tamil, Hindi and English and wants to try his luck in Bollywood as well as Tamil cinema.
Before facing the camera, Rana was involved in post-production and visual effects (VFX) work and is credited for having revolutionised post-production in southern cinema.
He says VFX is one of the highlights of his film.
"Visual effects are used wherever suitable - mostly in scenes, which required crowd multiplication and set extensions. Efforts have been made to improve the standard of VFX."
Coming from a film family, was it easy for Rana to enter the industry?
"More than being easy, it was difficult for me since my family has set a very high standard in the the last four decades. As an actor I have to either exceed or be on a par with the standards my family has set," he said.
After finishing school in 2002, Rana learnt photography, cinematography and VFX and at the age of 19, he joined the family business at Ramanaidu Studios and Suresh Productions.
Asked why he plunged into film business at such an early age, Rana said: "I think it was due to having grown up in a film atmosphere and being surrounded by my grandfather, father and uncle. Our family has been involved with films for over four decades.
"Before my entry into films as an actor, I established Spirit Media, a state-of-art VFX, animation and digital post facility. I also had an opportunity to produce the film A Belly full of Dreams that bagged two National Awards. My goal is to emulate my success at the corporate level in acting as well," he said.