Superstar Rana Daggubati | Bhallaldeva To Thanos | Inspiring Story Of Bahubali | The Ranveer Show 93 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Superstar Rana Daggubati | Bhallaldeva To Thanos | Inspiring Story Of Bahubali | The Ranveer Show 93".
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I had dubbed for Thanos in Telugu. So, Marvel only shows you a part of the film and doesn't show you the whole film. So, I knew what Thanos did, but I didn't know what the rest of the Avengers did. And when I went and watched Infinity War, at the end of the film, all the Avengers die and Thanos wins. Someone made a mind space that's so off. To watch a film where you've dubbed for Thanos, now you start looking like that character because you're big and you also have a beard like that. And you're... you can talk like him. In that context. And then it brings you out of joy and it brings you back to life, right? Cinema is such a beautiful thing. It's like... it's collective art. It's a lot of art is from whether it's... you're a photographer, whether you're an art director, whether you're a painter, you're a dancer, you all are coming together to create one single story that's going to last here for eternity. Whether you're around or not, that's going to be there forever. Mr. Rana Daggubati, welcome to the Ranveer show. Thank you, Ranveer. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me. Very little is known about you. Even lesser is known about your partnership with Amar Chitrakatha, for example. That's something a common friend of ours, Dhruv Chitgobekar, told me. He's kind of briefed me on your whole entrepreneurial side of things. And what I find really cool is I don't see too many famous people really utilising their fame to maximise their business careers. And I do feel like one of the purposes of fame is business. And I also feel that because you've had a business-oriented family, you've somewhat got the education in business from them. You've got the education of cinema from them. But you're that second gen. You're the next gen who's trying to really blow things out of the water. And from the things I've spoken to Dhruv about, I know that you're planning for 10 years into the future, 15 years into the future. So firstly, I find that really cool. Secondly, could you brief me on this mentality?
Personal Insights And Interests
Why Entrepreneurship & his mission (02:04)
Like, why did you... Did you become famous in order to pursue this business career? What's your whole mission in life? What's my whole mission in life? My mission in life was to tell big stories. Big in the sense of spectacle. I grew up watching films like Star Wars and others. And I started learning visual effects. So that became my first job really. I was a visual effects supervisor for a very long time. I had a small VFX company in Hyderabad. So that was pretty much my first career into the movies. And after that, I continued producing a few films. Artistic, slightly. So I won a national award for it, but didn't get a theatrical release. Things like that. And the opportunity that was there, or the governing sense of storytelling, was either a director or an actor in today's scenario. And there's certain ways, because I knew the idea of how to put a film together, because I was a producer by then. So I went off to training in theatre, in training specifically to be an actor in the movies. See, once you like the movies, then overall, you don't really have a defined job in it. You do whatever you want. That kind of engages you at that point. And there was a type of cinema that I liked and I wanted to produce at that point, where there was a lot of talent that wasn't very interested in it. So then, to me, it was a clear indication that there was a kind of cinema that was available to do. And you needed actors and talent who will do that for sure. So I said, if I can find that opportunity, find that space... See, I knew that there were stories that would resonate in different... The same story can resonate in the country with similar actors. It's happened in the past. So whether it's from starting Telugu films, coming to Hindi, working in Dhamma or Dham films like that, working in both spaces, for some time, I worked in Tamil for a bit. And then you got to do Ghazi, you got to do Bahubali, things that became national properties. So there was a search for the kind of stories I wanted to tell. And being an actor was the only thing that got me there. And there's one thing about acting. Once you start consistently performing and owning characters and not yourself, so you wake up to be a king one day, you wake up to be a commander one day, you wake up to being a politician the other day. That's the most engaging part of life. There's only a set of actors and the director calling action. And that's a moment that is away from everything that's real. And everyone on that set is just working towards just that one shot or that one direction. So that becomes the extreme crux of who I am, where you find the artist in the art and you just keep pushing yourself with each film. And what apparently happened was, because I think I come from that understanding of visual effects, so you ended up building a company, you ended up raising money, you ended up selling that, I ended up selling the company. So there was a business involvement in all that time. I also made brief investments in other companies at that point, whether it was gaming or other verticals, which I was a bit interested in, but never structurally ran a business for at least 10 years. I was only acting in films, whether it was trying to make a career in Hyderabad, Bombay, if there was a career possible to be made across the country in some format. There, what I understood was constantly using tech and advancements in terms of how we're trying to tell the story. There was very little being done in the disruption on the back end of the business. It was still as old as it was being conducted 100 years ago. So we said, okay, let's start, like how we're using technology to aid storytelling. We started using tech to aid the process of making cinema better, whether it's the business of fine sellers and binders making marketplaces, using blockchain to enable content, or whether it's opening different channels of really being able to produce content, which is just not mainstream, but is also culturally relevant, that is music, which is subculture as a zone, right? So that kind of came on where the 360 started opening up. So if it was an investment in Amarchitra Gatha, it was, here you go, we have a company that embarks and holds all of India's mythology in one place, and can really become a house, which is probably much larger than what a Disney or anything kind of offer to anyone in India. So that really was the direction of each of these investments, whether it was in Amarchitra Gatha, whether it was in a partnership that I built with Kwan in South India, where we created the first agency model in all of South India for the first time. So I think we were able to find disrupting means to aid these newer stories to be told. So I think, to me, being an entrepreneur, or this kind of both go hand in hand, because you got to take a few steps to make a new story work. So what I get from you is in your core, you're a storyteller, and you want to be a part of that process of storytelling. Because in the modern day, storytelling has cinema and the film industry in general attached to it. You're also trying to plug holes in the film industry, and at the same time, okay, if there's business opportunity, great. But at its core, you're trying to tell stories to leave a lasting impact. I know, the way I look at stories, and especially films and acting, is that you give a piece of art some amount of your time, and then you become a part of that infinity.
Solving a problem in the market (07:45)
And I feel like you see things that way as well. See, that is for sure. And to me, it was never looking for a business opportunity. It was looking for a need, right? If there is no need, to me, there's no requirement to do a business either. If that's not something that I'm solving for the current market that I'm in, or I choose to be in, unless you're able to create something which is not there, or see, in the movies or in the, whether it's television, whether it's film or OTT, right? As long as they've been around, I've been around too, in terms of making content. So I can exactly understand what the pain points are from all of these programs are, what is needed for talent, what is needed for studio, what's needed for tech. Like, I think that's, I'm able to connect the dots, and each of these business ventures have, if not served, one or more of those problems and pain points. So I think the intent to do business, I think, is first very important. Especially if you want to be in a creative landscape. Because both go very hand in hand. It can't be structured or processed the way other industries are. Although there's some set that you can consistently follow, there's still a consistent requirement for creatives and business to go hand in hand. Okay, completely breaking away from business. How come you have this peaceful, humble vibe in such a huge degree, dude? Like, generally, I mean, I'm not generalizing, but people from outside the film industry would look at the Hindi film industry and point fingers, say things like, "Oh, it's the world's most glamorized rat race." "Oh, there's too much arrogance." And I'm in the YouTube world, so I end up meeting people who are on the fringes of that industry. And just the general mainstream actors, mainstream directors, are kind of looked at with this, "Hey, why are you so arrogant?" Or, "Why are you so angsty?" And I don't blame those guys. I'm not saying that they're arrogant or angsty, but I do feel like, generally, actors in this country do have a lot of pressure on them just because of the nature of fame in India. And then I see you.
His zen vibe (09:52)
You're so kind of zenned out in life. Now, is that a South industry thing which I'm not exposed to? And is everyone like that in the South? Or is it just you? See, well, at least I can speak for a bunch of people in the Southern film industry, because I... At least especially in Telugu, because a lot of us are friends and we work very closely with one another. And I've worked with multiple of them, too. So, as much as you want to compete, it's really wanting to make the biggest film or the most unique film or something that stands out which others don't find, right? That's really where the competing factor is at, is, Ken, from a city like Hyderabad or a city like Vizag, can you make a film that will stand out globally? Right? See, that's really the agenda or the competition amongst a lot of... Especially in Telugu, at least, I can say that much. See, there's one independent cinema bunch, there's one large cinema. I mean, all of them kind of have their space that they're taking. And in fact, they've also... In the theatrical world, they've been the first industries to open back and start releases and touch down to numbers once again in pandemic, with 50% occupancy. So, one is, I think that's... And there's very less of the outside association with it, whether it's... Here, there is a high street vanity that's around, right? Whether it's with paparazzi, with press, with advertising, with music. I mean, there's a lot more happening in Bombay as a city. So, I don't put it as much as on the people in an industry. I mean, you meet people in retail, you meet people in fashion, you meet them in Bombay or Hyderabad, there's slightly that energy. Because I think Bombay as a city has that energy of everyone just driving ahead. And like, every time I'm here in Bombay for more than a week, I just try to run back home. I'm like, "Okay, listen, let me just sit down and think of everything that I spoke to these guys here and make sure I go back and make sense again." But I think that's more energy of each city that drives it. No, you're right, man. You know, the other thing I feel is, especially about South Indians in general, and you can't generalise South India because I know it's very varied and I have a lot of South Indian friends, but as someone from the northern part of the country, what I see in common, and you know, there are parallels in cricket as well. You see South Indian cricketers, everyone's technically gifted, everyone's very craft-specific. That means everyone cares a lot about the fine details of the job they choose to do. And I feel like that translates into this, "Hold on, let me give more of my mental energy to the job I'm doing rather than caring about all these superficial things." At least that's what I sense. I don't know if it's a South Indian thing, but I mean, well, if it's me, I'd probably say that, yeah. I mean, I think that's where energy should be focused on what you're doing then. See, what other people do or say is their problem, not yours. If you had to introduce the Telugu movie industry to a new audience and you had to pick like three films, could you recommend three films that people should enter the Telugu film experience through?
Telugu movie recommendations (13:00)
And why those three specific films? If you're today's audience, I'm saying let's pick the earliest in the round. There is a film which is... "Bahu Bali" that I would show them, obviously. To show, here you go, this is a space where everything is about scale. We want a film or a story to be told larger than life. It's... And it comes from a very Indian understanding of what India is, right from the heart of what it is. If you see, like our stories, whether they're Ramayana or the Mahabharata, they come with scale. They come with war, they come with everything that is big to be told in terms of a lesson to be learned. So, I mean, that's where our core storytelling comes from. I think that's the reason I'd show that. There's a film called "Pataala Bhairavi", which is a very old black and white film of Mr. N.T. Ramara. Because folklore was something that was opened up. "Pataala Bhairavi" and "Maya Bazaar", these two films, really. There's one film, "Maya Bazaar" actually opens up a folk tale which is written in the Mahabharata, which is only prevalent to a few areas in Andhra. I mean, that story is not even heard in other places. And a feature film has actually been made, and big stars did that film. If I would take the other bet, there would have been... In a recent time, there will be a recent film called... "Alaa Vaikuntha Puramala", which Alo Arjun did, and Trivikram Garu's film. Where it consists of classic family drama, holds basic values of father, son, understands Indian sentiments very deeply. So that will be a step, whether it's that or "Atharindi Daredi", any of the family drama films will be the next ones that I show. And then I will show films like "Care of Kanchar Palam" and others that are extremely small in budget, made under two, three crores of budget, but are films that will touch your heart and take you places that you want. So I think I introduced them with these various genres of films and that all of this is possible here. And whatever cinema that you resonate to, you will get to see it in volume. Right. I will check these out. And I mean, the obvious next clichéd question is, if you are to do the same for the Hindi film industry, for South audiences who have never ever seen a Hindi film, what would be your three films out of all the ones you've seen?
Hindi movie recommendations (15:40)
Either "Dangal" or "Three Idiots", that would be the first. Because it encompasses how you can make such a large mainstream film with such simple drama and that's a human emotion. Usually these films are pitted as small genre films or that's how in a regional industry, one would take a story like this. But here, in the Hindi and Bollywood, I figured out a way to tell it in a very mainstream sense and those stories become extremely large. Those will be my top... I'm also a big fan of the "Munna Bhai" series. Those will be the first probable films I'll show because it touches every audience from 8 to 80. Anybody who watches that film will just kind of walk straight in. And the second piece of cinema that I'll probably show is "Maab Ke Aikon" or "DDLJ" or anything in that world, which opens up the family drama of what North Indians are at. The culture of North India is what's the music of North India. I think all of that would kind of open that sphere up in family drama. Then, well, I would definitely show films... The extreme unique ones, whether it's films that Amra Kaushyap does, whether it's films that Taapsee is now part of, all of those Hindi films that have really created mainstream waves, right? I think those... Now you see a film like "Pink" being remade in multiple languages. I think that's all the films that Aishwarya has been doing. All of those. They create such a human drama across. And I think to just understand the culture of North India, understand the sensibility of how everyone is in each of their homes, it kind of takes you into the homes of North Indian people. So I think that will be a cinema recommendation. Again, this is just for perspective. This may not even make it to the main podcast. But have you heard of the fish in the water metaphor? So it's basically like when you take a fish out of water, the fish realizes, "Oh, shit, I was in water all this time." And it doesn't understand the nature of water while it's normally swimming. So the same thing goes with human beings and culture. When you're in a culture, you probably don't understand it as much because it's normalized for you. So what is North Indian culture? Like, you know, when you're seeing it from the outside, what are some aspects of it according to you? See, again, I'm a South Indian in a sense where I grew up in Chennai, I was born in Hyderabad. Sorry, I was born in Chennai, I grew up in Hyderabad. So I grew up with Tamil, I grew up with Telugu, I grew up with Dakani, which is Hindi, and Hyderabad, which is spoken very differently. And then Bombay, which is, again, almost like a mixed part in the sense, which has so many different people that I meet here. When you go to Delhi, which is extremely different in terms of what that sensibility is. So I think it's also, I can't differ very much because I'm not the best in terms of what I've taken from each of these spaces. But I think Bombay has been that place where it's the first exposure to everything that you get, whether Telugu gets to hear Punjabi music, or vice versa, or there's a Tamil music director sitting in, along with a Punjabi singer. I think all of that happens in Bombay.
Culture aspects he saw in different places (19:00)
There'll be different ways people conduct business. But in terms of a sensibility to art or storytelling, I think as Indians, we pretty much operate the same. If there is a mainstream and there is a subculture, and everybody differentiates between it, whether you're in Hyderabad, Bombay, or in Chennai, there is what is mainstream and there is what is subculture. And there's that thin line now that is kind of getting filled up with OTT and digital waves going high, right? So that's where it is right now. Speaking about storytelling, art, and culture, I do feel like this is where the Indian epics come into play. Ramayana, Mahabharata, it's the same kind of story, or at least the backbone of the story is the same all across India, whether you're talking about the East, West, North, South. I got to talk to you about Amar Chitra Katha. You said that your favourite comic book is the Hanuman comic book of Amar Chitra Katha. A goal of mine and life personally from an artistic standpoint is, have you watched Dragon Ball Z ever? I want to make a Mahabharata Dragon Ball Z, like a Dragon Ball Z style Mahabharata, because I believe that the art that they've shown in Dragon Ball Z, it applies very well to the Mahabharata. A great example of a Dragon Ball Z style Indian epic is the old Japanese version of Ramayana that they had made. Have you seen this? Where very beautiful, it's hand drawn art. And I do feel like children are drawn naturally to overly saturated colours. You know, these kind of larger than life special effects, which sometimes only come into play through animation. So are you working towards something like that? Are you working towards animation as well? Because I'm sure you'll have something more bahubali style in the pipeline for yourself on a more personal level. I believe that that's what your goal is, for which you've partnered up with Amar Chitra Katha. But are you also thinking of animation? Or you know what the question to you is just kind of, let this Amar Chitra Katha theory of mine explode in this podcast. Why have you partnered up with them in the first place? If you needed to consistently make content which is about Indian culture, then you got to go find the place that has been making and consistently writing Indian culture.
His partnership with Amar Chitra Katha (21:05)
So one is there's no bigger play than Amar Chitra Katha to be part of. So I think first that is a no brainer to be, as to why I invested and why I was there. The second thing is, yes, obviously, we partnered for the first thing is to really scale up films like in mythology, where Hira Naka Shubh now is the next film that we're working on, as one of those properties. And the idea was to also create a bank of art which is now unique. Whereas, see, there's been always a classic traditional sense of what animation was. There's bits and pieces of Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle that did that in the past. And today also you see a lot of animation which is targeted towards children. And there is very little, whether it's in the sense of a graphic novel or in the sense of anything that's post teen, or which is adult in terms to consume. It's either you go back to a nostalgic value of basically, and it continues to stay at that teen level, but nothing after that. Now the idea is to explore various formats of this, as much as we have things for teens that's already out there, seven and above. It's to try to take a direction for how you get a much younger audience into it, and a much older audience into it. So as a company right now, it's divided with mythology, folk tale, brave hearts, and wit and wisdom in that format. And the idea is to scale each of them up. If it's history, take the directions of actually going live action and recreating monuments and stuff that used to be, whether it's the Mauryans, whether it's the Rajputs, go in that direction of creating them back. And getting them either to scale on different OTTs or go back and create one of our own in terms of pipeline. So that's the direction of where we see that a lot of content can be spursed out in ACK. And yes, there's a global intent in terms of trying to take all of this, and to see that there is enough of an overseas audience, which is Indian that's consuming it. And what we're also doing is creating multiple versions that can go into Thai and all Southeast Asian languages. We want to travel along with the mythology, where the mythology stood, whether it's Indonesia, Bali. - Wow. - Go back and take those stories to where they actually belong. And we're also in the process of curating a bunch of stories. We actually have a bunch of Ramayans from the Mauryas that have come in some from early Cayman Islands that have come in. Things of Hinduism that have gone in different places. The idea is to pick back and take a more historic approach than a devotional and a religious approach to it. I love that idea of you taking mythology exactly where it went and then creating for them as well. So I was thinking of where to go. There's a place where it went. Center of Bali, you will see a large chariot of Karna and Gadot Gaja right in the center of this place. If you go to the Thai airport, first the airport is called Suvarnabhumi. And second, you see the journey of the ocean between the Devas and the Asuras. That was the beginning of the Bhagat Purana. Now, there's so much visual reference there. I think it is directing us to get there and say, "Here you go. This is the place where you have to tell these stories." You know, that's what kind of hurts me about the history that's taught in Indian schools. We learn way too much about the medieval times, the recent times about the independence movement when there is this glorious history that you should be learning about pre-medieval times. For example, this whole thing about Indian dynasties, when they say India was a 'sone ki chideya', that they took Indian culture to Southeast Asia, spread as far as the Philippines. It's not spoken about enough. Hopefully, that's what the art of storytelling might do, because they say that borders are gradually disappearing as the human species is evolving. So, storytelling is what's really going to create these soft borders, if you may. So, in a way, you're doing the same thing that the Chola dynasty did, but in a much more 2021 context. I got to bring you back to that Ramayan question, the Japanese Ramayan. Have you watched it? Because I was born in '93. I believe that movie released in '91 or '92. They saw pieces of what you know. Check out the movie, because anyone who's born in the early '90s, that's our reference point when it comes to Ramayan. It's not the TV shows. It's those cartoons that were drawn out. And it's these gorgeous cartoons. If I think of Ram, if I think of Hanuman, that's what pops in my head. That's my visual reference point. And it's possibly one of the most beautiful animated movies I've seen. I said I was born in the '80s, so I got a little different Ramayan that came to me than it did to the '90s. Right. But check it out. Because my big hope is that there should be a filmmaker who will recreate epics in that light. The other thing I've got to ask you is about your whole business dealings with AI and blockchain and all these very, very futuristic terms, which possibly... You know, a lot of people generally, I mean, again, this is me generalizing, but I see a lot of people in the media industry all over India not really pay that much attention to tech. It's very, very few people. It's probably all the seasoned media entrepreneurs who suddenly look at tech and say, "Oh, wait. Tech fits into my business and can really disrupt shit." So I have two questions for you.
His tech business & revolution in media in next 20 years (26:58)
The first is, who introduced you to this whole aspect of tech? Is it all your business friends from Kwan, like Dhruv? Is it just people you're meeting? Is it some stuff you're studying? And the second question, obviously, is how do you see the next 20 years unfolding for the media business? Because I know that you're planning towards that. That was my first business before I got into it. I mean, when we were doing visual effects, tech becomes the backbone of everything that you're doing. And I started off as early as 2005. So now at that time, tech was very, very basic. You had to understand each thing at a very, very primitive level. And anybody who learnt at that point, learned from a basic and went up because tech kept going up with them. So I think I was part of that curve. And what I got to see, from a different standpoint, whether it was Bahubali or other visual effects-based films that I did, is the advancement in what it did to picture and sound consistently. And when you consider, and I kept travelling abroad, you kept seeing how the best guys in the world kept doing it. And there you realize, whether it's America, I mean, especially Hollywood, where everything is culminated in one, whether it's tech, whether it's cinema, whether it's media, all of them are in one single gamut in terms of... And that's how the big corporations are really built over there. Now here, there is an IT industry, which is very separate, a tech industry, which is very separate, a film and television which is separate from one another. Now the idea is to pick each of them in terms of best practices and start using it in the format. So blockchain came in a sense where it made it easier for us to start selling our films to overseas buyers and other places at a much more seamless format than there is. Basically, you use tech to remove the middlemen, like in blockchain. Okay, got it. That's something that we started doing there. So I think that's the first big advancement that we did. This second piece was consistent to whether it's AI or whether it was AR or VR that we've been investing in there. See, the way of viewing content has changed. The way your relationship to a star, your relationship to a movie, your relationship to a merchandise that you have from a movie, all of that is changing as generations keep passing. And now if you're born as somebody who loves films and been watching films all your life, that's one direction of growth. If you're born a gamer, and you are consistently in a gaming world where things have to be engaged to you, so you come, then that becomes a generational shift of how you think and how you relate with content. So now as a storyteller, whether it's flat, whether it's 360, whether it's round, whether you're in it, whether you're outside it, I should be able to tell a story. And any tech, if it's a visual medium which needs to connect with people, requires content and storytelling to be at its first key. I mean, today, why is the surge of OTT so great? Because there's so much content on it. Or they become platforms for content to be there. So ultimately, all these developments and advancements have been in that direction. Got it. And also what it helps us create is create a 360 amongst all the big, large film properties that we're making anyways. Dude, are you trying to become India's biggest media entrepreneur?
His goal of becoming India’s biggest entrepreneur (30:29)
Like, is that like a personal goal? Or are you just kind of focusing on making your industry better? I don't know. Every day you wake up, you find a problem, you got to go fix it, and you keep fixing it. Wherever that takes you, it takes you. I have a very unique point. I work for two companies, like Amachatra Gatha and Suresh Productions, that are over 50 years old. And so if you are so much in the past, you need to have a clear vision of what's up there in the future. So what is it for companies like us is now is to create a forever game, right? It's how do you consistently be here, whether we're around or not. The stories need to lead the direction and the vision to whatever comes in the future. So I think that's the job I'm given, I guess. Bro, why don't other famous people think like you? Like, people add your level of fame, why aren't they thinking in these directions? I'm not that famous like you think I am. I mean, you have a pedestal of fame to work out of. Just because you got me on the show, it's not that I'm famous. I'm all right. No, but you know what I mean, man. Like, why don't other mainstream stars think this wide? Well, I guess, I don't know. I mean, see, it's where you come from, you know? I mean, I don't know if all of them like the cinema that I do also. See, see, everyone has a... See, cinema is a very personal thing. It's what story you like to tell, you continue telling them. And if it's the business aspect of it, it's probably because that's been where I come from. That's been first step before I ran an office, before I got on... Before I ran a film set, I ran a proper office. So, I think that's... So, your head kind of thinks it's on an Excel sheet much faster than anything else. The next section of this podcast is about like happiness and human values in general, dude. Before I get into the questions, I just want to recommend a movie to you, which I think you might enjoy.
His perspective on Disney’s Soul movie (32:30)
You've probably already seen it. It's called Soul. It's Pixar's Soul on Hotstar. -Awesome. -Check it out. Yeah, awesome. Super. You spoke about new generations and how they interact with content. They call my entire generation the mental health issues generation. That's going to be the big challenge for everyone living through the 2020s. So, everyone born after, say, 1990, dealing with a lot more mental health issues than generations born prior to that. So, Soul is one of those movies that just answers so many questions. Very beautiful. Very beautiful. What did you like about the movie? See, one is... See, even if you're telling something philosophical, right? It tells you in such a simple, enduring and entertaining manner. All of those, that entire family feels like a family of yours. The music teacher feels like a music teacher you know. I'm saying there's... The goal feels like a goal that you could have had. I mean, everything... Any part of that film, you can paste it to your part of your life and it will seem like it's yours. So, I think that's the beauty about what Pixar has done over the years with many different films of theirs. Yeah, 100%. I think all of these animation films, because they're not really in... They don't take a definitive directive to life. They're open to how you want to tell it. I think that's what animation offers in terms of storytelling. I would say Up was my favourite animated film up to some point. Then it became Inside Out and then it became Soul. Soul is now my all-time favourite animated film. And then I realised they're directed by the same guy. I forgot his name. Brian something, I believe. I can't remember his name. He's a Danish guy. But, man, again, I gotta take you to that three-movie question.
His 3 favorite animated movies (34:13)
If you had to pick three animated movies which have had an impact on you, what would you suggest to the audiences? I think the first would probably be Toy Story. Which had the largest impact on me. When I watched it first, I guess that's the first film. The second... would be animation in terms of cartoons. Whether it's Tom and Jerry or Mickey Mouse, everyone in that world, universe, right? From Goofy to whether they were from any of the places, Box Bunny. I think those were characters that, as a child, you grow up, will start holding... You need a group of friends, right? You need a group of real friends and a group of personal friends that you want your friends to be like. I think that's what those characters kind of offer. So I put film and those characters all together in one. And growing up, I recently saw something... Love, Death and Robots. Have you seen it? No, no. It's on Netflix. You must watch it. Ten different stories. Each one is a different story. And there's one called Three Worlds or Three, something like that. That's the first film. It just blows you in terms of what storytelling they've taken it into. Yeah. I'll check it out. I feel animation does a lot for you if you're in any creative field. It just opens up your head to someone else's head. You're like, "Oh, wow. This person saw these colours and these textures and these movements." I got to ask you. The vibe I always get from you, as I said earlier, was that you're very zen-d out.
Is his past self happy with his present self? (35:50)
Would a 26-year-old version of you be happy with where you are right now? Yeah, yeah. Very. See, one is... One is I'm lucky enough first... See, I've been born in a very fortunate place. That's one. Apart from that, whatever cinema that I chose, whatever business that I chose to do... Or anything in that manner... Was done purely on... On the... Not on result, but on... Every day is work progress and what you learn out. For example, every film that I did, I got to learn... Something far more than what I knew before. If it's a film that I just shot in the jungles, I learnt about elephants in jungles... And the wild like I never did before. I played a film where I'm now an axolot. I learnt about the 80s and the 90s that I only heard of in bits and pieces.
Personal Growth And Coping Mechanisms
Does learning gives him joy? (36:40)
Is that where you derive your joy from? Learning? Learning, recreating... Getting people to explore. I mean, see, cinema gives you an opportunity to recreate time, place... And take a bunch of people there. So I think that's what really my joy comes from. In being able to create. See, and that's really the most significant thing that we can do over any other living... Creature is the ability to create. Whether it's... You're able to create a podcast, I'm able to create a show, doesn't matter what it is. And as you're... And the time that's spent on creating... Is always the most joyful because... It comes with no real burden or impact. Right. And it comes out of your heart. You enter a state of flow to create often. Cinema is such a beautiful thing. It's like, it's collective art. It's a lot of art is from whether it's... You're a photographer, whether you're... An art director, whether you're a painter, you're a dancer. You all are coming together to create one single story that's going to last here for eternity. Whether you're around or not, that's going to be there for her. So I think that's where this comes from. Okay, Rana. So you've answered most of the questions that I'd planned out. Which were more specific to business and happiness and mental health and films. But we got to do Twitter questions with you. So, you know, a lot of questions have come in... Actually about the opposite of happiness. Which is just tough times. Dealing with fame.
How he dealt with fame (38:06)
Especially when you are a public figure. So much of your life is like out there. So, have you had tough times? For example... Someone called Jaya Teja asks... In the past, Rana has faced some health issues and maybe some issues in his relationships. So keeping the movies aside, how is it possible for him to be so creative? And what is the thing that keeps him pushing his own limits in terms of a professional fronting? How do you rise from the past? And what beliefs make you rise? I've come from a firm belief that if there's something that's putting you down, it's... Only when you overcome that is what makes you who you are. And so whatever challenge that's been, whether it's health or film or anything in that sense... Always taking it in a way like how do you beat this? Right? And that's the kind of guy I am. And I've always believed... There was really never a sense of competition. Because I just never assumed I was competing with anybody. Or anything. Because there was a story that I was telling which was always unique. And it didn't matter if it costed 100 crores or if it costed 1 crore. To me, a story is a story in that sense. And whether it's an animated 30 second shot that I make or a 30 hour series... It goes with the same intent. So I think if you remove the sense of finances and why you're doing what you're doing... If you just get to an everyday sense of it... And look at each of the materials that you've got to work in... As a separate thing. And to me that's one part of it. And with that comes fame. But being famous is really a job. It's separate of all of these things. It's certain things you have to do. It needs to be done. There are certain cautious things you have to do or xyz. And I've also never bothered so much in terms of doing the right thing, wrong thing. So whatever happened kept happening and I kept moving forward.
His lookout on tough times (40:13)
Did you have any dark phases though on a personal level? Did you go into any form of self-pity at any point? I mean, it's normal. I'm not talking about if you stretched that self-pity emotion. But did you ever feel a sense of darkness around you? Yeah, definitely at times. There will be times when you're... When you're super successful in film but then your health has taken a toss... You don't know if you can put yourself back to doing another film again. Now that's a dark place to be in. But how does that change? Is if you move out of it and find what your purpose is actually. And if there's a story that will... The story is what drove me out of it and say, "Here you go. You need to get this story done." So I think each of us will take a piece from what we love. Like I remember... I said this in an interview earlier. There was a time when I got diagnosed. I remember when the doctors came out and said... I had some serious amount of BPI. I had a bunch of organs that failed. The entire... whatever. Now, it's information that never came to me as a... It's too much information to process. But then the only thing that got me out in probably two days from that is... In the same city that I went to this hospital in America, in Rochester... There was the Infinity War play. And I had dubbed for Thanos in Telugu. So Marwanumi shows you a part of the film and doesn't show you the whole film. So I knew what Thanos did but I didn't know what the rest of the Avengers did. And when I went and watched Infinity War... At the end of the film, all the Avengers die and Thanos wins. Now, to me, someone in a mind space that's so off... To watch a film where you've dubbed for Thanos... Now you start looking like that character because you're big and you also have a beard like that. And you're... you can talk like him. In that context. And then it brings you out of joy and back to life. So to me, cinema, stories, comics... That kind of brought me back to what I needed to do. Wow. So likewise, each one will find what they love the most. Whether it's music for somebody, whether it's reading for somebody... It doesn't matter what it is. You just got to find what you love and then find the best in there. For example, what I do now is not very different from what I did when I was a kid. I like the same things when I kid. I like the same things when I grow up. It's just a different function of how I behave with them. I appreciate you sharing this heaviness, dude. It's not an easy thing to say on a public platform. I appreciate that. Jalak Rawal asks... Do you have a sense of belief in God and does it play any role in your career?
Role of god in his career (42:49)
See, there's a belief system. And a belief in self which is very, very firm. And... If it's a sense of God, to me, it's a sense of what you're able to do with yourself. That's really the energy that is. And I'm not religious in a format where I leave faith in something else. Or someone else. I... But... I'm a great... Reader or learner of everything that's old and comes from ancient knowledge. Do you read spiritual books? Have been on and off. But really, in a direction of stories. Whether it's... I mean, whether it's a book also, it comes to me like a story. It doesn't come to me like anyone's saying something. -So... -Right. So, that's always how I've been taking things. And from that story will come morals, values, thoughts, philosophy, everything. Okay. Rishabh Vanwani asks, "How does Rana juggle shoots, business, work, and stay consistent and avoid burnouts because it might get overwhelming?
How he avoids burnouts (43:53)
And this is something that any creative professional faces." See, one is because I guess I'm just thrown with stuff that's so new all the time. It's very hard to get burnt out because you're not doing the same thing at all. I mean, if you take 15 years of my career, there's not one thing that I've done that I've done the second time. It's either been scaling that to a different degree or doing something that's 100% different from what I last did. So, I think that keeps you going consistently. Because everything is new. Every time we're trying to figure out how to get it done. And finally, you're doing things that only bring you joy. Yeah, I guess in a sense, it brings the others joy once you put that out. So, I guess, in both ways, it just works. Yeah. I also want to echo this verse from the Geeta that kind of popped up in my head through your definition of joy. Which is, "Karmanyava dekharaste maha haleshu kar aachana." Which means that you just give your work your all without caring about your results or competition or wins or losses. And then that's it. They'll get you the way you are getting. Okay, TheNenagram asks, "Do you listen to podcasts?"
Podcasts he enjoys (45:07)
Because you do seem like a dude who listens to podcasts. I don't know why. If yes, what type of podcast do you listen to and what do you enjoy? Anything that is random, irreverent, ridiculous, nonsense, is and extremely unique in terms of point of view I like to listen to. And doesn't matter what topic, what genre, it can be about an automobile, it can be about somebody going to space. Doesn't matter, but just if I get a point of view that is very new and unique, I'd like to listen to it. Maybe check out certain episodes of the Ranveer show. Like certain episodes. Okay. Okay, this is a very nice question.
Film Experiences And Perspectives
Lessons from Mahabharat he learned (45:54)
Raghu Deshmukh asks, "Rana is a huge fan of Mahabharat. How important is the Mahabharat for Rana in real life? How does he implement lessons from the Mahabharat in real life?" See, that's the beauty about these epic tales here. Like every part of it you can piece to what you are wanting to do. If you assume you are fighting a war and you've got to get certain, and your tasks become your enemies and you need to get them done, I mean, that's a literal way of taking everything that you've read in the Mahabharat and putting it to use. And if you see, after a point, all these characters become energies. And I... See, if I'm saying if the energy of Arjuna is channeled in you, right, when you're doing a certain task, then you become the Arjuna there and you get it done. Or vice versa, you want to be another character and get it done. So, if you can take a story strong enough as an energy and be able to implement it in life, I think that's pretty much why these were written in the first place. Yeah, that's a beautiful answer, man. And obviously, the follow-up question for me is, is there a particular character of the Mahabharat that stays with you?
His favorite character from Mahabharat (47:10)
Like for me, Tarjun, that's why I've got a bow and arrow tattooed for the same reason. But for the exact reason that you said. For me, it's always been different at different times, right? Because I think you are thrown in different positions. See, I'm saying whether you become a Duryodhana at a point, you become... See, which is why all those characters are not right, not wrong. They stay in the grey and that's really what our mankind is made of, right? I'm saying there's nothing that is extremely right with us or wrong with us. There is a midway and a grey that we're all living in and we got to figure the right and keep moving forward. Right. Slightly controversial question, but feel free to answer it in whatever way you wish.
Dark & Unknown side of the film industry (47:55)
Nikunj11921559 asks, "All we see is the bright side of the film industry. Can Rana share some light on anything that's dark that the Amjanta wouldn't know?" Nothing is... See, there's nothing really dark. I mean, dark is what's really made of. It's a place where someone's coming to tell stories. So it's not really complicated in that sense. And see, what I can tell now, which I couldn't tell before, is the sense of amount of opportunity that's available. Right now, I think if it's the fourth industrial revolution we're in, it's content and stories that have taken front seat with everything. Whether you want to launch a brand, whether you want to make a film, it's the idea or the core piece of storytelling that matters across the board. So I think today, the sense of being a storyteller or being in the creative industry has many, many more perks and gives you a longevity in terms of career. See, there's no other career that you can do for as long as you live. I'm saying I can continue being an actor for as long as I live if I can consistently be good at it. Same applies to a musician, XYZ, whatever you are. So that's the beauty of the arts. It's got no age, it's got no limit to power in terms of anything. And it makes you big. Got it. Interesting question.
Hiding the secret of why Kattappa killed Bahubali (49:28)
Amit Mishra asks, "How did Rana handle the pressure of not telling anybody why Katapa killed Bahuwali?" There was no one logical answer to it. And whatever happened, happened through Balal Dev, the character I played. And to me, I was just... Every time someone asked that, I was very happy that someone asked it because I know that's someone that's going to watch the film when part two comes out. Are you alright sharing your...
Bulking process for his character in Bahubali (49:55)
So again, the character you played in Bahuwali, you had to bulk up for it. So could you just run the audiences through the bulking process? This is what Praneet N asks. And also the follow-up question is, would you ever do it again? Would you bulk up that much for a character? Yeah, if I have to play Balal Dev again, for sure. There's no two ways about it. But see... Does it take a toll on your body? But that's the fun about this job. You don't want to be the same guy every single morning. I mean, you're now on a different set, you've got to be a different human being. So you look different. But yeah, obviously Balal Dev has been the toughest human character that I had to ever build. And it was what? It was about six to eight meals every single day for about four years of my life. And training twice a day, whether it's without... There was very little or no breaks at all. And you repeat that for five years in terms of consistency and that's what you get.
Void aspect in his life (50:52)
Girish Agiskekar asks, is there any sort of a void in your life right now? And if there is, what are you doing to fill it or are you thinking of filling it? I think the only void that's there in my life is the theatres in Bombay are not open that much in North India. And I'm just waiting for most of the Covid vaccine to be distributed amongst everyone and get movies back again. And that's how I will fill that void. With putting my film in the theatres. So that's all it is. Beautiful. We are looking forward to everything you create, man. On a personal level, I'm looking forward to everything you create in partnership with Amar Chitra Katha. You've kind of made a fanboy's dream alive. And I would say so for all the Amar Chitra Katha fanboys and fangirls out there. So God bless you, brother. Thank you for bringing mythology back, even if you're just starting out with that process. And thank you for being a storyteller. I'm sure there's a lot more stories coming out of that mind. And as a businessman, just admiring what you're doing. Again, using your fame to build things and just taking it as far as it goes. Good luck with everything, man. God bless you. Before you leave, I have to ask you to share just three quick pieces of life advice for the youth.
Life Advice For Youth
Life advice for youth (52:06)
One, you will always have naysayers saying you can't do this or you can't do that because it... But the only reason they're saying that is because they haven't done it before. That's all. So, which... And every time someone says that, which means it's an opportunity and you'll be the first one being able to do that. I think that's what one needs to take. The second is life will always throw things at you, whether it's good, whether it's bad, it'll keep throwing things at you. But unless you're not quick enough to just pick the good and drop the bad with speed, you will just be going backwards and not forward. So I think whatever life throws at you, be quick at understanding this is right and this is where you want to be and moving forward. And I think there is a long-term relevance to everything, whether you're making a film or whether you're making a T-shirt, whatever field you're in. Remember, what you make is, 10 years from now, should impact, influence or be the directive to some change of the world that you want to see. So I think these are the three things that I'd probably leave. Thank you, Rana. I'm going to let you go. Thank you, brother. God bless you. Keep growing, keep sharing all those stories and all those ideas. Thank you. Bye-bye.