Power be to cinema

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 15 Feb 2017 12:55:38

By Haricharan Pudipeddi

Cinema has the power to recreate any real-life scenario, says actor Rana Daggubati as he gears up for the release of Telugu-Hindi bilingual The Ghazi Attack, India’s first submarine warfare film based on the mysterious sinking of PNS Ghazi, a Pakistani submarine, during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

For Rana, The Ghazi Attack was an important tale to tell.
Explaining why he decided to do the film in between the two parts of Rajamouli’s Baahubali, Rana told IANS: “Post Baahubali, everybody would have expected me to do a commercial film. But I chose Ghazi because it has an interesting story to tell. Although made as a bilingual and also dubbed in Tamil, this is a national film.”
Rana is fast becoming the go-to person for larger-than-life stories. With Ghazi and his upcoming Tamil war-based film Madai Thiranthu, he says he enjoys being a part of such projects because they are “rare” in Indian cinema.

“As a movie lover, these are the kind of films I have watched and enjoyed growing up. The story of The Ghazi Attack is historic and one that’s not known to all. It’s a story that deserves to be told, but such stories are rarely made,” he said.
“If not for cinema, these stories will remain history. The whole sinking of PNS Ghazi could be recreated only because we decided to make it as a film. Cinema has power to bring such stories to life. It can recreate any scenario,” he added.

From playing King Bhallaladeva in Baahubali to a navy officer in The Ghazi Attack, Rana admits the transition was very challenging. “Bhallaladeva as a character is very tough to come out of, because it’s so overpowering and larger-than-life. The challenge in Ghazi was to get my look right. When you watch both the films, you realise I don’t look like the same person. I could only achieve it due to rigorous cardio training and then I had to do a lot of underwater training because the film features underwater sequences,” he said.
Talking about playing a navy officer and shooting inside a submarine, he said the experience was “claustrophobic” at times.

“It was not an easy film to shoot. Initially, the idea felt so exciting. But until we started shooting, we didn’t realise how challenging it was. You are inside a submarine for the longest time and you don’t know the difference between day and night,” he said.
“After a month of shooting, I knew a lot of actors started to feel very claustrophobic. There were occasions when we didn’t see sunlight for days together. This is when we decided to take a break and shoot other portions which happen on land,” he added.

According to Rana, The Ghazi Attack, which is India’s first underwater war-at-sea film, will push other filmmakers to explore this genre.
“When Baahubali happened, there was never a war film made in decades. Then we had two films that came, in one film Rudramadevi I did a cameo, and other was Gautamiputra Satakarni. It’s important that somebody breaks that ice and that too correctly,” Rana told.
“With this film we knew it’s the first underwater war film we were making. We had to make it aesthetically correct as we did not had a reference point,” he said.

Not many are aware about the underwater tale of courage and patriotism of the men aboard Indian Submarine S-21 who destroyed the Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi when it ventured into Indian waters to destroy the INS Vikrant.“We consulted so many Navy people before we started shooting. It’s the film that glorifies the Navy, giving them the due credit. It’s a big incident that has happened in 1971 before the war,” the Telugu star said.

Directed by Sankalp Reddy, the film also stars Taapsee Pannu, Atul Kulkarni, Kay Kay Menon and Om Puri. It releases on February 17. n