Thursday, May 23, 2024

Actor Ranaksh Rana Discusses Debut Film ‘The Mentor’ and Its Kabaddi Connection

Actor Ranaksh Rana is all excited to be part of his debut multilingual film ‘The Mentor’. Directed by Vinil Vasu, the film was launched on the auspicious occasion of Dussehra and is an action drama set against the backdrop of Kabaddi.

The editor of The Mentor is well-known Steve Bernard who has edited films like Chennai Express, and Singham Series, and the composer of the film is Gopi Sundar who is making his Bollywood debut with this film.

Throwing more light on his role Rana says, ”My character’s name is Happy Singh. He is essentially playing the role of Bheem from Mahabharata in this contemporary mytho-sports drama. He is a man with a golden heart and great strength – always stands up for his friends and is always willing to do his bit for society. To get a chance to recreate the same magic in contemporary times is a huge opportunity for an actor. Happy Singh is a versatile character, who is a Sardar from Punjab in Kerala. So the name and the layers of my character prompted me to take up this one.”

He also adds, ”It is a pan-India film and that’s the beauty of this film. It has elements of Mahabharata and sports in it. Since I am playing the role of a Sardar, there will be a lot of Punjabi dialogues irrespective of which language you are watching the film in. I will mostly dub in all languages.“

The film has the backdrop of Kabaddi – how interested are you in the game? Ranaksh says,”I have been an active person since childhood and have played a lot of Kabaddi growing up. But I am not a professional Kabaddi player. What you will see on screen is the result of extensive training to understand and appreciate the sport. I got to play the role of a kabaddi player through this film, which is a great achievement and most importantly I learned a lot.”

Post Covid the Hindi film box office was not that great but films like Pathaan, Gadar2 and Jawan have changed the equation. How hopeful are you about the commercial success of a film releasing in big screen? Rana says,”I think cinema is an essential part of our life and good entertainment is and will always be in demand. Content is what is driving the good phase and the audience has a richer taster than earlier. They also have more clarity, in terms of preferences, thanks to increased exposure to different types of content. The good phase will continue if the focus remains on entertainment and quality content.”

On the prep work he did for this role Rana shares,” Much before the shoot started, I started living the life of a Sardar. It was to connect with the character at a deeper level – wearing a turban and kara (metal bracelet), going to Gurudwara to get into the psyche of Happy Singh. I created a detailed character background to understand him better. I have already been listening to Punjabi songs and therefore I knew little bit of Punjabi but I watched more Punjabi films to learn the language. I also went through Kabaddi training, which was a must to understand the nuances of the game.”

In India especially after Pro Kabaddi League the sport is finally in limelight. A film like The Mentor will be adding to that, one feels.

“I feel that India has a rich sports culture and it is one thing that unites our country across boundaries. With more and more global sports competitions becoming popular like the recent Asian Games, diverse sports are getting their due credit in India. Pro Kabaddi League has brought out one of the oldest sports of India to the limelight which is a great thing. For those who don’t know, Kabaddi was derived from Mahabharat and is believed to be dedicated to Abhimanyu. Groups like Kabaddi Adda are doing some great work in finding the talent and nurturing them across India.”

Lastly, Ranaksh shares his expectations from the film, he says, ”The Mentor, is a dedication to all the mentors. It should touch people’s hearts. It should bring about a wave of appreciation for all the mentors who create futures of so many and yet remain in the background.”

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