DEEPRAJ RANA- NEITHER THE SAHEB, NOR THE GANGSTER, BUT THE MOST IMPACTFUL
Posted by Vivek on July 9, 2012 | No Comments
Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster was a surprise hit, the audience left the theater with an poignant image of the actor who had played the henchman of Sahib. Deepraj Rana, had been around for a while and was always an amazing actor, but it took the impact of Sahib to take that to a different level altogether. Since then life has changed for this actor and producer. And we will be seeing a lot more of him in 2012, on the big screen. Over to Deepraj:
From Allahbad to Mumbai to become an actor?
Yes I did my Masters in theater from Chandigarh, showed up in Delhi, did a play with some NSD graduates and then showed up in Mumbai. I ended up joining Nadira Babbar’s group EKJUT, started doing bit roles. Then television came my way with small roles, then slightly bigger one’s. In films to the same pattern followed until Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster happened and it changed the entire equation for me as an actor.
A very powerful and impactful role in Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster?
The honest truth is that like many struggling actors in Mumbai, I did not get very meaty roles. Getting good roles is also about having great PR and I never had that, so that cost me earlier, as an actor. I knew one thing that I can act, that confidence I did have. So the actor was always there, but the audience did not get to experience him, and in Saheb, they did. From having to spend months waiting for the right roles, post Saheb I ended up doing 8 films in one year, all of which are scheduled for release shortly. It all changed because Tigmanshu asked me “I have a role for you, where you have to give me 30 days, are you ready?” When I enacted the role I had no idea it would leave such an impact on both the audience and with other filmmakers.
You have a very impressive portfolio of work in Television?
I started off in the pre cable days, when there was just Doordarshan, with people like Shyam Benegal making Discovery of India. So here I am, I don’t know anyone, I show up in Mumbai wanting to become an actor. I had no fixed notion about the kind of roles, mediums that I will be a part of, all I wanted was, to act. So I started from the scratch literally. From being a part of the crowd, to one dialogue, to two dialogues to eventually doing lead roles. In a serial called COMMANDO, where I played the lead. It is because of television that I could survive for so long in this industry, else it would have been very difficult. Television gives you exposure, people recognize you and I have a lot of respect for television.
Which medium is the most satisfying as an actor?
If you perform well, then whether it is Television, an Advertisement, a Film, anything, can and does give you the satisfaction, as an actor. So to me it is the performance, as opposed to the medium, that gives me the greatest satisfaction.
What got you into Production?
There were times when I would have no work for six months or a year, what does one do then? That is the way the industry works. Maybe 10 actors have their dates booked till 2018, but the remainder 9990 are not in that position. I had to survive and pay my bills. My wife and I would brainstorm on ideas and concepts and stories. Those were also the days of the one hour Telefilms, like Rishtey. This was the 96-98 time frame. So we said lets pitch a concept, it was liked and we ended up making a serial. During this time Star Plus liked our serial and also Anurag Basu, back then was the assistant to Raman Kumar, when I was acting in his serial. So Anurag asked me to meet Star, since they were making bestsellers involving all the big names of this industry like Tigmanshu Dhulia, Vikram Bhatt, etc. I met Shailaja of Star Plus, narrated two stories and she approved and asked me to commence production on them. One of the stories had Irfan Khan and the other had Mamik (Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikander) and Liliput. Then we conceptualized a horror film. Its is directed by a friend of mine, who had directed Salman and Sridevi in Chandramukhi, but not done much since. This film is called Machli Jal Ki Raani Hain, which should be releasing pretty soon. We are in the editing process.
On your upcoming films?
One is by Neeraj Pandey, who made A Wednesday, then there is Tigmanshu’s Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns, a comic role in Cigarette Ki Tarah, Pranaam Waleykum by Sanjay Mishra, Kathputhli and all of these should release by the end of this year.