Rana Daggubati talks about his multilingual ventures and the efforts that went into the making of his latest Bollywood hit The Ghazi Attack.
Rana Daggubati played second fiddle to Akshay Kumar in the 2015 Bollywood action spy thriller Baby. Now his latest Hindi flick The Ghazi Attack is giving Akshay’s Jolly LLB 2 a run for its money at the box-office, and even doing better business than the latter at least in some centers.
Rana, who wowed the audience with a sterling performance as the antagonist Bhallaladeva in Baahubali, has been able to break linguistic borders and garner pan-Indian appeal by doing movies in multiple languages including Telugu, Tamil and Hindi.
The 31-year-old actor, who is in Kochi for the shooting of a Telugu movie, talks about Baahubali 2, and the success of The Ghazi Attack.
Your latest release has generated positive reviews all around. How do you feel?
I’m extremely delighted. I have been to two theatres in Kochi where The Ghazi Attack was played to packed audience. The response was overwhelming. Being India’s first submarine warfare movie, a mammoth effort had gone into the creation of The Ghazi Attack. The film is based on the destruction of Pakistan’s PNS Ghazi by INS Rajput off Vizag coast during Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. The story revolves around Indian Submarine S-21 which locates and torpedoes PNS Ghazi before it could target India's aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant.
The protagonist of the story is Lieutenant Commander Arjun Varma, a brave executive naval officer, who remains underwater for 18 days along with his team to spoil the enemy’s covert game. Pakistani authorities claimed that the submarine sank following an internal explosion. The film attempts to unravel the mysterious sinking of Pakistan’s flagship submarine.
Tell us about the preparations that went into the making of The Ghazi Attack?
It is the maiden directorial venture of Sankalp Reddy. He completed the script after spending over a year interacting with naval officers to get a clear idea of the series of events before PNS Ghazi sank. The movie is partially based on Sankalp’s book, The Blue Fish. He did extensive research and homework as not many movies were made in India that belonged to this particular genre. Ninety percent of the movie is shot inside the submarine, which is something without parallel in the history of Indian movie industry. A massive set was constructed at Hyderabad under the supervision of production designer Shivam Rao, who is an alumnus of National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. Hundreds of people worked strenuously to build the grand set.
In the 70s, India's submarine fleet consisted of vessels that were developed and manufactured in the Soviet Union. We collected drawings and photographs of those submarines and used them for the film. The underwater scenes were filmed in a huge swimming pool with the help of camera dollies having a hydraulic jib arm to produce a realistic effect.
Where does Indian movie industry stand as far as VFX and graphics are concerned?
The concept of big budget movies with top-quality graphics and visual effects is something new to our industry. Baahubali happened to be the first such film. I have worked as a visual effect coordinator in eighteen movies. The visual effects industry has grown exponentially in India of late. Many are coming forward to pursue professional animation courses. We will be able to catch up with Hollywood, but it definitely requires time. Creating VFX is laborious and time-consuming. Normally, the best VFX movies from Hollywood are those without a big star cast.
What are your expectations for Baahubali: The Conclusion?
Just like you, I’m also eagerly waiting for the release of Baahubali 2. It is expected to hit the screens on April 28. The sequel is definitely going to be bigger and grander in every aspect. I hope it will live up to the high expectations.
You have donned multiple roles of actor, producer, visual effect coordinator etc. What do you enjoy the most?
I thoroughly enjoy doing them all. I’m also happy about the way my acting career is going.
Will the success of The Ghazi Attack help you get more offers from Bollywood?
To be honest, when I get an offer I don’t pay much attention to the language. If I find the role interesting, I will accept it. My first Hindi movie was Department directed by Ram Gopal Varma. The Ghazi Attack is released in Tamil and Telugu as well. I’m in Kochi for the shoot of a Tamil-Telugu bilingual. It will be followed by a project in Telugu.
There's a good market for dubbed Telugu films in Kerala...
I’m looking forward to release the Malayalam-dubbed version of my upcoming Telugu movies.