Actor Rana Daggubati believes working in a film like Haathi Mere Saathi is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He says it was not just a role but a process of “spiritual learning” and “healing.” The actor idolises Bandev (his character in Haathi Mere Saathi) and says people should look up to personalities like him. However, becoming Bandev was not a cakewalk for the actor.
“When Prabu sir came to me with Haathi Mere Saathi, I was out of Baahubali, three times my size. I was playing the king of Mahishmati. So, of course, the look was different. We did one 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. Then he started designing my look as per the jungle.
He kept a couple of exercises for me when I reached Thailand. The first 10 days, I spent understanding who Bandev was, in terms of the way he walks, the way he spoke, his relationship with the wild. The first schedule of the film was for 25 days, during which I worked only with nature and the wilds. During that period, I didn’t have a co-star. So, those days set the tone of the character for me. So, I would say a week of workshop and around 25-30 days of the shoot made me Bandev,” the actor told us.
But there’s a reason why Prabu Solomon, the director, chose Rana to do the film. “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 chuckles.
The actor also called him a ‘dream director.’ “There were a lot of instructions before we started shooting but on the sets, he is a director who explores with you to do the next right thing. As we were shooting in three languages, we took time to understand and recognise the details. I remember, in the beginning, we did sequences in Tamil.
If there were any alterations (in scenes), those were later adapted in Telugu and Hindi by the writers. He (Prabu Solomon) discovered the characters on the go. He did a lot of homework. So, honestly, it is a dream to work with him because when you are done with the film, you come out becoming a better person.”
Further, Rana spoke about how being in a jungle for almost a year changed him as a person, “Even if you spend a week in the jungle and come back, you have a different mindset. You are calmer and peaceful. Once we were in the jungle without our phones, our thought process was to connect and delve into the character. For us, being connected to the character was very important. Yes, I have a lot going on in the real world. But the wild and the adventure was bliss.”
Source: Indian Express