Barely one Hindi and Telugu film old, Rana Daggubati is already one of the most talked-about new-age actors, hellbent on breaking the myth about South Indian heroes from Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth to the latest Vikram, being no-nos in Bollywood. Rana for one, speaks fluent Hindi. And the single-ready-to-mingle image doesn't hurt either.
Then there's the pedigree. Rana is the scion of the illustrious D. Ramanaidu production house. Once they were the Kings. Rana Daggubati, much in the news for his Casanova image (ill-earned, he says) is all set to revive the glory of his grandfather's illustrious banner D Ramanaidu in Mumbai.
Listed in the Guinness Book Of Records as the most prolific Indian producer with 110 films in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and other languages, the banner, though fully active and flourishing in Hyderabad, has become inactive in Hindi cinema after the failure of their last film Kuch Tum Kahon Kuch Hum Kahein in 2002.
Now Rana, who proudly takes his surname from his distinguished grandfather (the 'D' in D. Ramanaidu stands for 'Daggubati'), is all set to revive his family's banner in Mumbai with a spectacular Hindi film on the lines of D Ramanaidu's Hindi blockbusters like Premnagar and Tohfa.
In fact one of the business savvy Rana's aims while doing a Hindi film so early in his career was to quickly revive his home banner in Mumbai. The Hindi project would star Rana, with some of his Dum Maro Dum co-stars including Bipasha Basu pitching in.
Says the Telugu star, "I'm very lucky to have got along well with all my co-stars in my first Hindi film. It was a different world for me. Not that I am not familiar with Hindi films and stars. Our home production has been active in Hindi for decades. But I was never looked on as South-Indian star by my co-stars in Dum Maro Dum."
Confirming his plans to produce and act in a Hindi film for his home banner, Rana says, "That was definitely part of my plan from the start. See, unlike the other South Indian stars who have come to Hindi cinema after doing a dozens of films in their home language, I did one Telugu film Leader and quickly signed a Hindi film. Now that Dum Maro Dum is nearly complete, I'm doing two Telugu films and then the Hindi film."
Mention Surya who would be making his Bollywood debut at around the same time, Rana says, "Surya has been superstar in Tamil for years. I saw his films when I was in school. I think I'm close to Bollywood because being a Hyderabadi I speak fluent Hindi."
Unlike other Southern stars trying to consolidate their position in Bollywood Rana doesn't feel the need to relocate to Mumbai. "I'm just a flight away from Mumbai. After Mumbai producers see me in Dum Maro Dum, they'll know how serious I am about my career in Mumbai."
About his much talked-about love scene with Bipasha in Dum Maro Dum, Rana says, "I was most comfortable doing it. Bipasha and I got along from Day 1. By the time we came to the love scene we were friends and very comfortable with one another as co-stars."
Mention the link-up with Shreya Saran and Rana nearly chokes with disbelief, "Shreya and me? That's a new one. We've known each other for years. She has worked in our home productions. So yeah, she's a friend. Beyond that I haven't met her for months. Right now there's no one in my life. When there is I'll announce it so loud every media person in Mumbai will hear me loud and clear."
So is he the lady-killer he's made out to be? "I wish some of the link-ups were true. Sadly I am only into my work. There's no girl in my life at the moment."
Ah, not the kiss-and -tell types.