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Rana Daggubati On Playing Jogendra And The MGR Connection In ‘Naan Aanaiyitaal’

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Actor Rana Daggubati, who has begun promoting his next film Naan Aanaiyitaal (Nene Raju Nene Mantri in Telugu), was in Chennai to talk about the film and its protagonists, Jogendra and Radha. The film also stars Kajal Aggarwal as Radha, as well as Catherine Tresa, Ashutosh Rana and Navdeep. 

Seated in one of the lesser known conference rooms at Prasad Labs on a scorching Thursday afternoon, Rana appeared unfazed by the sultry weather, as he at length about his relationship with the film and its main character, Jogendra. 

Despite the seeming allusion to MGR’s Enge Veetu Pillai (1963), which is also coincidentally the first film produced by Rana’s grandfather D Ramanaidu, Rana said Jogendra wasn’t modeled after anyone. 

“We wrote this character for months, until he started appearing more and more real. Jogendra was an idea that started during the end of Baahubali. We wanted a righteous man to take a journey into wrong….All this told through a simple story of a husband and wife. When you watch, it’s a two and a half hours long film, but we had about eight to ten months to write about this guy,” he said.

Describing Jogendra as a simple and good man who loves his wife, Rana said that Jogendra’s desire for power, combined with circumstances, would go on to affect the couple.

He also said, “The love for his wife is so much that he puts his wife’s name before his. He calls himself ‘Radha Jogendra’. So in the madness of him wanting more power, he turns bad. Sometimes a good man can turn bad, because of society around him taunting him. The idea for him is to become a Chief Minister. There’s politics, there is action, and money. But the focus is on the love story between a husband and wife.”

A fictional take on a political scenario, Rana said the film was commercial but had been directed like an art film.

He also said that title was named thus because of director Teja and his love for MGR. He said, “Born and brought up in Chennai, many things Teja has done, his writing, and works, somewhere or the other there are traces of MGR in it. It also gave me a very personal touch because of my grandfather’s connection to it.”

Another source of inspiration for Rana was Sathyaraj’s Amaidhi Padai (1994). “There’s a bad guy but you like that guy more than the good one. There’s one part in Naan Aanaiyitaal that resonates with that theme,” he said.

Apart from this film, Daggubati recently finished a small schedule of his project Madai Thiranthu. He will resume shoot again next month.

Despite three releases this year, Rana said he wasn’t just churning out films like a factory. He said it took him time to pick a good story. He also said that 2017 had been kind to him, as two of his releases, Ghazi Attack and Baahubali 2, have done fairly well.

This film, too, he believes, would do well because of the director, and the months spent on writing Jogendra. 

For his next project, he said, “My next film has the backdrop of British rule in Tamil Nadu and how we Indians were with the British Raj. Tamil films have always been a safety net for me because Tamil Nadu audience want something new and I can keep doing something new here.” 

Naan Aanaiyitaal is produced by Suresh Daggubati, CH Bharath Chowdhary and V Kiran Reddy under Suresh Productions and Blue Planet Entertainments. It is scheduled to release on August 11. 

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