Baahubali antagonist Rana Daggubati plays the role of Lt. Commander Arjun Varma in his upcoming release, The Ghazi Attack. With films like Baby, Arrambam, and now The Ghazi attack, Rana seems to settle quite well in the skin of officers in command. In a candid conversation with Indianexpress.com ahead of the film’s release on February 17, 2017, he talks about his excitement for The Ghazi Attack being India’s first ‘war-at-sea’ film and also tells us how he wants to work with Taapsee Pannu again and again on ‘cooler’ films!
On his character, Lt. Commander Arjun Varma
I play the character of Lt. Commander Arjun Varma. Like many in the defence forces or the armed forces, he has a strong sense of discipline. His words are always measured and to the point. He is a leader who is leading a war at the sea. His decisions are a result of logic, not emotion and he has to win no external support.
Working with Taapsee Pannu
This is my third film with Taapsee, we have worked on Arrambam and Baby together before, and now we are back together in Ghazi. She is someone who likes cinema and good content. We are very happy that she could be a part of Ghazi, even though her screen time was short. I would like to do more films with Taapsee that are a little less serious and cooler.
On being the champion actor for war movies
Actually, there is yet another war film that I am working on after Baahubali this year. It is from when India was colonised by the Britishers. I feel that wherever there is a war — underwater, or on land; medieval India or the ancient times, I can fight that war. Post Baahubali and now Ghazi, these are great stories to tell. For example with Ghazi, it happened in 1971, we are the people who didn’t live in that time, so we don’t know what really happened then, so I thought it is a really nice and important story to recreate.
On ‘gasping for sunlight’ by the end of shoot
This was a set, but it felt more like an actual submarine and it was claustrophobic. There is no sunlight all day. In the beginning, it was all very exciting but post one or two months of the shoot there is a certain fatigue that sets in since you have to go to the set over and over again. There is not enough sunlight, I couldn’t breathe enough air, and it gets stressful, but ultimately we all have to do what needs to be done for the film. We enjoyed every little bit of it.
On working with Om Puri, the late veteran actor
Om Puri’s death was something that we never expected! We didn’t know he would leave us so soon. He was working with us until very recently — dubbing for the film. I consider myself blessed to have worked with him. We miss him very much. I hope he is watching all this from up there and smiling at us. It was a new film for all of us, so whether it was Om sir, or Kay kay or Atul sir we used to have discussions about wars and submarines. Everyone shared experiences, it was a very collaborative film in that sense and he was always one of us.
On working with Kay Kay Menon and Atul Kulkarni
Kay Kay and Atul sir were both strongly supportive as they understood Hindi cinema better. They helped me a lot in the betterment of my work. With their presence on set, everything transforms on screen.