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Rana: Genelia brought a lot out in me

Last updated on: March 21, 2012 11:07 IST

Rana: Genelia brought a lot out in me

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Rana Daggubati will usher in the Telugu New Year (Ugadi) with his romantic film, Naa Ishtam, co-starring Genelia D'Souza.

Directed by debutant Prakash Toleti, Naa Ishtam will release on March 23.

The actor talks to Radhika Rajamani talks about Naa Ishtam and his forthcoming projects.

How did Naa Ishtam happen?

The director Prakash had this idea in 2009 when I was shooting for Leader. He was developing a love story, where the character is very selfish.

What drives me is the story I choose to be part of. Prakash has been around for 12 years. He is a Maths lecturer, so explains like a teacher does to his student. The film is his vision.

What did you like in the script?

The characterisation. For the character, money is an important factor. He falls in love with a girl who leaves everything for love. You never know when you actually fall in love. The film speaks of protecting that love. That excited me.

If you live the way others want you to, you are called a nice guy, if you live the way you want, you are called selfish. The character lives by the second way. He speaks it out through humour. When he falls in love, there is a lot of confusion. There is a beautiful transition he goes through and the way the graph is built up is interesting.


Image: Rana Daggubati and Genelia D'Souza in Naa Ishtam


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'Naa Ishtam is my first commercial Telugu film'

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Did you have any reference points for playing this? You had said you didn't have any while doing Nenu Naa Rakshasi but you had many reference points for Leader?

This time I had a lot (of reference points). I had Ravi Teja and tried to see how he is in films, understanding his high loud energy and humour. Also, Bunny's (Arjun) character from Arya and films that generate humour through their characters. Then, there were films like The Sound of Music and Rangeela.

Was the role relatable then?

Naa Ishtam is my first commercial Telugu film. That was exciting. The role was closest to me. I was never a politician (Leader) nor was I a guy who would commit suicide (Nenu Naa Rakshasi). This character in Naa Ishtam was playful, chirpy and arrogant and was close to my age. It was how a 27-year-old who is not fully settled would behave. There were no complexities and so there was a relatibility factor.


Image: Rana Daggubati and Genelia D'Souza in Naa Ishtam


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'This is Genelia's most mature performance'

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How was it acting with Genelia?

She's a superb actress who has done some landmark films. This is her most mature role. She brings in freshness and even more maturity. I saw her the way she acts and then disconnects also into her personal life. She adds the stimulus for you to perform better. So she brought a lot out in me.

What are the highlights of Naa Ishtam?

Love and humour. We made sure each scene is funny and entertaining. The love story is told in an entertaining way. It's a young film full of life and love.

We had aimed for a summer release. We couldn't have got a better day than Ugadi (Telugu New Year) to release it. Also, the exams are over the day before the release. Most big films which were releasing around that time are also put off.


Image: Rana Daggubati and Genelia D'Souza in Naa Ishtam


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'It was a challange to shoot for two films simultaneously'

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You shot extensively in Malaysia for Naa Ishtam...

The story is set in Malaysia. We shot there for two- two and a half months in Kuala Lampur. Since it has an equatorial climate, the heat and humidity was unbearable. We had to also be prepared for rain anytime too. So you'll see different skin tones in the film!

Are you nervous about the release? Your last film Nenu Naa Rakshasi didn't fare well...

I am looking forward to the release. Everything has worked out in the right direction. So far there is no negative talk about the film. We operated without looking at the end result. I travelled with the film for nearly four years and shot it for 100 days. I have given my all to it. The Censors have given a U/A certificate.

At some point, did you shoot Naa Ishtam and The Department back-to-back?

Yes. It was quite a challenge.


Image: Rana Daggubati and Genelia D'Souza in Naa Ishtam


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'Naa Ishtam is a young film full of life and love'

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You are now working on Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum directed by Krish Jagarlamudi. Wasn't it supposed to be a film scripted for your uncle Venkatesh?

I only whacked the title, it was another script. I loved the title. I have shot for 11 days so far. The shoot, so far, has been superb. It's like working with a friend. Krish and I have known each other for some years. Krish understands me. This film is an action-adventure.

Nayanthara is the heroine...

Yes, she will join the shoot later.

Have you taken up any other projects?

I'm working on Krish's film. The Department releases in May. Two more projects in the pipeline are a film with Selvaraghavan (which could be in Tamil/Telugu/Hindi which I may begin in August September) and an action film with Ram Gopal Varma in Hindi (for which the look test was done with Nathalia and the pictures were splashed.)


Image: Rana Daggubati


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