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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Rana Daggubati: The way I look at life has become very different after Haathi Mere Saathi

Prabhu Solomon directorial Haathi Mere Saathi, starring Rana Daggubati, Pulkit Samrat, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Vishnu Vishal and Zoya Hussain, is inspired by the work of Padma Shri Jadav Payeng, who single-handedly planted an entire forest.

Written by Komal RJ Panchal | Mumbai | Published: February 13, 2020 11:19:12 am
Haathi Mere Saathi teaser launch Prabhu Solomon, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Rana Daggubati and Zoya Hussain attended the teaser launch of Haathi Mere Saathi.

Telugu actor Rana Daggubati, director Prabhu Solomon, actors Shriya Pilgaonkar and Zoya Hussain launched the Hindi teaser of Haathi Mere Saathi in Mumbai on Wednesday. The film is set to release on April 2.

Haathi Mere Saathi is inspired by the work of Padma Shri Jadav Payeng, who single-handedly planted an entire forest.

During the teaser launch, Rana Daggubati spoke about his experience of working with Prabhu Solomon on Haathi Mere Saathi.

“Prabhu sir is a very successful director. He has made classics like Kumki, Kayal and Mynaa. These are films where he has used his voice to tell stories of life in interior parts of the country. And if you see Haathi Mere Saathi, it is a much larger story he is trying to tell, and there is no better person to tell this story than him. As a human being, he has inspired me a lot. The way I look at life has become very different after this film, and I thank him for that.”

Director Prabhu Solomon revealed the inspiration behind making Haathi Mere Saathi.

Solomon said, “The film is inspired by a person called Jadav Payeng, who single-handedly planted one lakh trees on the banks of the Brahmaputra. While I was doing a film called Kumki, I was researching, and I came to know about this man. It was really shocking to know that one man can make such a huge difference, and I was excited to meet him. He got a Padma Shri in 2015, and he was very close to our great Abdul Kalam sir. In a span of thirty years, he has single-handedly created a man-made forest. Thanks to this, wildlife has returned to the area. More than thirty elephants and more than five Bengal tigers are residing in the forest. He has done a great job but has not been recognised properly. So, I took his character and started creating Baldev (Rana’s character). That’s one portion of the plot, the other side of the plot I took from Kaziranga, where they encroached the forest area.”

“I collected these two real-life things and made the film, and it would not have been possible without Rana. I had made things very tough for him. It wasn’t easy to shoot in three languages in a tiger reserve. It was filled with scorpions and leeches, so it was dangerous for all the actors. But all my actors started to adapt. They were not artistes. They were real characters,” the director added.

Prabhu Solomon also shared his experience of shooting in Thailand. “We took 30 elephants to Thailand. It was a tough job for us. Handling 30 elephants for a 40-day schedule was a huge task. They were domesticated elephants, so we had to transform them into wild elephants.”

Solomon shared that working on Haathi Mere Saathi was not just about filmmaking, it was a learning experience. The director added that he wants the audience to start thinking about how to save the environment.

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“More than movie-making, it was a learning experience. We learnt a lot through this film. We have learnt how important our forests are and why we should save our trees and animals. We should consider wild animals as family and not harm them. The elephants are some of the biggest contributors when it comes to growing a forest. Without them, our ecosystem would be gravely disturbed. We have 55 per cent of the global elephant population in India, and now that number is dropping, which means we have to save them now. We have not told this story in a documentary way. It is a commercial, entertaining film,” Prabhu Solomon concluded.

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