Rana Daggubati on his new web series Social, and why venturing into the digital space is so exciting

Firstpost   •

By Mridula Ramadugu

After the stupendous success of Baahubali and the impressive box office performance of Nene Raju Nene Mantri, Rana Dagubatti is back with a new project — Social, a Hindi-Telugu bi-lingual digital series, that also stars Naveen Kasturia, Priya Banerjee, Abdul Razzaq and Moin Khan.

While the social media thriller directed by Shashi Sudigala was launched by Viu on Thursday, 7 September 2017, the cast and crew of Social gave us a glimpse of what to look forward to in the 13-episode series. Social revolves around a missing girl and the four people (including her brother, played by TVF actor Naveen Kasturia) who set out to solve the mystery.

Rana Dagubatti plays a tycoon heading a company named 'Social' in the series, and had a quick chat with Firstpost at the launch:

Rana Daggubati at the launch of Viu's Social

What intrigued you the most about Social?

The medium itself. The idea of being able to tell a story beyond cinema, beyond television in this new world is what first excited me. Here you are not bound by two-and-a-half hours of getting it done. If you have a character that has to grow, it will keep growing. We are at this early premise to know where the web will take us, where the internet will take us (sic). It is important that stories can be told and for an audience. What's my job? I am a story teller. Anywhere a story is being told, I want to get there and tell it.

You hear of cyber crime and hacking everyday and to place it in a world and give it human emotions and tell it, is something that I was intrigued by.

Tell us something about your role in Social.

I am the fourth dimension in the series. I talk to the audience and the characters in there. That's something that you can't do in films. In that space it was really unique. I am almost like the presenter. Also, you don't see me working with any of the actors. I haven't shot with them for now. I might in the latter part of the series.

My character in Social is a visionary, an idealist who sees the good in people even though he is up against fellow corporate giants. He thrives on honesty and transparency, both in and out of his organisation. What got me to sign the show is the absorbing script and Shashi, who is a brilliant director to work with. It's exciting to work on digital fiction for the first time, especially when digital is offering experimental content to the masses.

After working with directors like SS Rajamouli, how is it working with Shashi?

I have known Shashi and the team before, I know their intention of making this is right. They are making something new, something unique. Also Shashi is someone I have known for years, as a writer, as someone who worked with friends. I know his style of cinema is very unique. I know his writing has so much fun, it is newer than what I have done. So, all of these things came together.

What are your favourite web series/TV shows from the west?

There are some really cool ones. I love Game of Thrones and Narcos — such good writing. For me, it is about how we would be able to make Indian series like that. They have an edge in terms of the internet, over us. Once India starts moving there, we as actors and filmmakers should be in that position to be ready to tell stories of that size. It is already happening. We are already doing the Baahubali series, so now that is going to be of some epic portions!

What project are we going to see you in next?

Next, I am doing a film which is set in 1945, British India. It is a love story set in that time. It also deals with the time rather, where the Telugu people move to Burma (Myanmar), the Tamils move to Southeast Asia, during the British Raj. It is fun to recreate that time.

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Apart from the Baahubali star, Social also has a bunch of other talented actors. Here's what they had to say:

"I am very keen to explore various genres and languages with digital platforms since it is a safe and enabling space for creativity. I was initially anxious about working in Telugu, but Shashi made me comfortable. It is also exciting to work with such a diverse and talented cast. Together, the journey was not about getting the work done. Rather it is a process of how to make the story more powerful and relevant for the viewers," said Naveen Kasturia, who plays the protagonist of Social.

The actor also told us that Pitchers 2 was coming out soon, around March next year.

Priya Banerjee, the female lead of the series, too gave us a glimpse of her character. At the launch, the actress said "It is exciting to make my debut on the platform with Viu and a fascinating script like Social that brings together experimental content, portraying the many aspects of social media. I play an aspiring actress who knows what she wants in life and has what one needs to make it into the limelight.”

"I am very excited to present this series to our viewers. By making a bilingual social media thriller, we are offering entertainment like never before. It has been a pleasure working with talented actors like Rana, Naveen, Priya, Moin and Abdul among others who ensure there is never a dull moment on the set," said director Shashi Sudigala.

Tags: #Naveen Kasturia #Pitchers 2 #Rana Daggubati #Shashi Sudigala #Social #Social web series #TVF Pitchers #Viu #web series

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