Rana shares the challenges and joy of headlining his maiden OTT series Rana Naidu, which pits him against Telugu star-uncle Venkatesh
Barring the name, Rana Daggubati has nothing in common with his character in Rana Naidu. The actor makes his digital debut with the Netflix series, which sees him as the fixer of celebrities’ problems. “His job is secretive. He [seems to] be detached, but deep down, he is a family guy,” he begins.
A still from the series
The Indian adaptation of American series Ray Donovan, Rana Naidu revolves around the protagonist’s complex relationship with his father, who also doubles up as his nemesis. Daggubati says two aspects drew him to the project — the dark side of the parent-child dynamics depicted in the show, and the opportunity to share screen space with actor-uncle Venkatesh, who plays his on-screen father. “Shooting with him and learning how he does what he does was a wonderful experience. We have always been close, but on a set, you have a completely different equation. Our characters were so nuanced, and we had directors who would answer as many questions as we asked them, making sure that we were being true to our parts. Except the fact that I was called Rana [which blurred the lines between my on-screen and off-screen persona], I didn’t have any other problem,” he laughs.
The actor, who enjoys pan-India popularity since the release of the Baahubali franchise, was waiting for something tempting to make his foray into the digital medium. When creator Karan Anshuman of The Inside Edge and Mirzapur fame, and The Family Man 2 director Suparn Varma united to make an action drama, it was an easy yes for Daggubati. In them, he found reliable guides as he navigated the complex titular character. “I had multiple conversations with Karan on how to play a father because I didn’t know the tone that was required. This was the first time I was playing a father on screen, that too to grown-up kids. But Rana Naidu is a dark guy; it was hard to let go of the character. There was a certain gloom [it brought] into my life, and I only realised it when I went back to dub for it.”