‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ a ‘big action spectacle’: Rana Daggubati

MUMBAI:  Actor Rana Daggubati is excited about his upcoming action-spectacle “Haathi Mere Saathi” as the film focuses on environmental issues and deforestation crisis.

Directed by Prabhu Solomon, the lavishly-mounted movie will release across three languages – Hindi, Tamil and Telugu – in the summer of 2020.

“‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ is a story of a man living in the jungle for 25 years. The crux is a problem which is evident today – the issue of deforestation, and a wall which is being made in the middle of the jungle which breaks nature and the elephant corridor.

“It’s a story of a man who fought for the jungle, the animals, against the society. It has lots of action. It’s a big spectacle film, with me and 12 elephants,” Rana told PTI in an interview.

The movie is a tribute of sorts to the late legendary actor Rajesh Khanna, who starred in the 1971 film of the same name, but will have a fresh storyline.

The “Baahubali” star said the film is one of the many such stories that he would like to present to the audiences today, especially in the time of OTT platforms.

“The stories I want to tell are very specific. Whether it’s ‘Baahubali’, ‘Ghazi’ or ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’. These aren’t the films you’ll find in market somewhere. It’s not like I’m running in any competition. I can make a Telugu film, a Hindi film… it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s an interesting story.

“I am doing a love story in Telugu, then ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’, a three language film that’s out next summer. I’m able to do unique things, because today the entertainment business has also become so big, with films and OTT platforms, the excitement is to find newer stories to tell,” Daggubati, 34, added.

The language barrier that earlier used to divide Indian cinema into various regional subgroups is no longer relevant in the current era, the actor said.

He cited the example of his blockbuster “Baahubali” series, which earned filmmaker SS Rajamouli, and other actors pan-India fame.

“What ‘Baahubali’ did is that it introduced a storyteller with a unique voice in a different part of the country. These are exciting times.”

Rana has worked across Telugu, Tamil and Hindi films but the actor believes he was “never competing with anyone.”

“I was never here (in Bollywood) completely nor there. The films were releasing wherever I was and it continues to be the same. That keeps me going.”

The actor believes the trick to balance between industries comes down to one’s intent.

“Once you’ve made it big in one industry, you don’t want to go somewhere else and start like a newcomer… I had a successful Telugu film debut and had some big directors in my next few, and then I did ‘Dum Maro Dum’ in Hindi.

“Many people didn’t want me to do that film at that point of time because at a career level it wouldn’t have been a nice thing to do. But I understood the entire new world, a land of storytellers and cinema, telling unique things from where I was.”

Rana was speaking at the launch of Urban-I, a market access program. (agencies)