He made his Bollywood debut four years back with Dum Maro Dum (2011) and made an instant impression. Very recently, he played an integral part of Akshay Kumar‘s Baby and his hunky persona was on display all over again. In an impressive silent act, Rana showed once again that when it came to occupying the screen space with his mighty physique, he was the man for the job. No wonder, director S.S. Rajamouli identified this persona much earlier and signed him up for Baahubali as good as three years back. Now that their dream film is set to be unleashed on the big screen, Rana is excited as expected.
It has been for more than a year since we have been interacting on Baahubali. Now that its promo is out, how do you see the film justifying the hype surrounding it?
It has been an all-around terrific reception for us so far. Yes, while I have been talking to you for a year and a half on the film, my association with the film goes back three years. So understandably it is quite a satisfying feeling to see the film being ready for audience consumption. What excites me is that the film would be seeing such a large release across different parts of the country.
As an actor, when you are a part of the film, you know that it is indeed being a big affair. However, were you too caught by surprise when you saw the final product with VFX, background etc.?
I will tell you something. We recently did a test watch in IMAX, Hyderabad with just five-six of us who are connected to the film. Though I had seen a few scenes during the edit and knew the story inside out, the day I saw it in IMAX format, it was a spell binding experience. I have seen films like Troy and 300, and when I saw myself in something similar, I was thrilled to the core. This genre itself asks for bigness. I have grown up on Amar Chitra Katha and tales of Mahabharata. To get something like that on celluloid is epic. Baahubali is India’s first war film. It is of course mind-blowing to be a part of such a historic event.
In a way, how tough was it to actually live S.S. Rajamouli vision right from the very inception of the film?
(Pauses) When I look back, it all sounds so very difficult now. I had no idea how it would be to begin with. However, Rajamouli is extremely clear and precise about what he wants. Three years back when he gave me the story, he also gave me a 15 page write-up on the back-story so that I gain entire understanding of wealth and power that we are talking. I was made aware of the relationship that my character had with my siblings and parents. So technically, the film was made six years ago in Rajamouli’s head. It is only now that it is coming on screen.