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‘Films taught me to rise as a hero’ said Rana Daggubati when diagnosed with heart complications, Kidney failure.

A character named Bandev is been played by Rana Daggubati in Prabhu Solomon’s Haathi Mere Saathi, which releases in theatres on March 26. He opened up on his battle with death, film, and much more in an interview with
Actor Rana Daggubati believes working in a movie like Haathi Mere Saathi is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

He says it was not only a position however a strategy of “spiritual studying” and “therapeutic.” The actor idolizes Bandev (his character in Haathi Mere Saathi) and says everyone should look up to personalities like him. Transforming into Bandev was not an easy role for Rana Daggubati. In an interview with, Rana opened up on how he remodeled from being Bhallaldeva of Bahubali to Haathi Mere Saathi’s Bandev.

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“I was three times my size. I was playing king of Mahishmati.” Said Rana Daggubati when Prabhu sir showed up with Hathi Mera Sathi. He also told “The look was different. I did a look test back then but Prabu sir was clear that it was not the way I needed to look. He was very definitive of how Bandev was. He wanted my look as per the jungle and started working on it. When I reached Thailand a couple of exercises were planned for me.

Initially, I spent understanding who Bandev was, the way he walks, the way he spoke, his relationship with the wild, and everything that was required for the character. Our first schedule for the film was of 25 to 30 days, during which I worked only with nature and the wilds to get more into character. During that period, I didn’t have a co-star. So, those days set the tone of the character for me. So, 25-30 days of the shoot and one week of the workshop made me Bandev,”

But Prabhu Solomon, the director, chose Rana to do this film here’s why. “He told me that he had the image of Charlton Heston from the 1956 film The Ten Commandments. He said he came to me because I looked a bit like him,” Rana said.

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Rana also told that Prabhu is a ‘dream director.’ “As we started shooting there were lots of instructions, he is a director who explores with you to do the next right thing. We were shooting in three different languages, so we took time to understand and recognize the details. I remember, we did sequences in Tamil at the beginning. Telugu and Hindi by the writers later adapted any alterations in the scene. Prabhu Solomon discovered the characters on the go while he was shooting. He did a lot of homework. So, it is a dream to work with him because when you are done with the film and shoot, you come out becoming a better person and a better self.”

“There are some characters you dream to do and some characters are beyond your thought process, Bandev is a character that I would have never thought of. This fell in the second space. Also, Bandev is the noblest character I could have played on screen. He is fighting for nature, for the animals. He loves to fight for the wild against society, which, in my perspective, is the need of the hour. Bandev is the kind of hero you want. I saw him in that perspective. So, I had to play him,” Rana said.
But was there any kind of learning in the process of making Haathi Mere Saathi? “Everything that I did, I learned something out of it, right from my first film to now. While doing Haathi Mere Saathi, I changed as a person, as a human being. The way we see our relationships, the way we treat humans, my perspective on everything changed. Also, it’s a rare instance where you see a film that is so connected to reality, to nature, to the earth. I can’t express as to how much I’m satisfied with the whole experience,” Rana expressed.

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This was when a 36-year-old fell sick. He also had to take a break from the shooting period of Hathi Mere Sathi. Rana opened up about the time when he was diagnosed with heart complications and Kidney failure.
Definitely, he came back from these bad times, Rana said, “Films teach us many things my films also taught me as to how to overcome the problems and rise as a hero. I am happy and thankful that Prabu sir waited that time and gave me time to heal. 

Also, the jungle became a big part of my healing.” When questioned what gave him the power to get back on the sets right after dealing with his bad times, Rana said, “That’s the fun about reel world. Anything that happens in the real world, the reel doesn’t bother about it. When you are on the sets, you are good to go. So, I think that’s what films do to me, and I love doing films.”

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Rana has experimented with a lot of things, he is a YouTuber, an Actor, a producer, and even a host. He was also asked about the multiple hats he wears, the actor said, “If something fun comes up, I always want to delve. I will always want to explore the unexplored.”

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Thumbnail Image Credit - The Indian Express