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Happy Birthday Rana Daggubati: The era of ‘tall and muscular’ manhood

A star kid who slowly worked his way up -- on his birthday, here’s a look at the many avatars of Baahubali’s Rana Daggubati.

When Akshay Kumar’s Baby released in 2015, everybody went gaga over Akshay’s performance and Neeraj Pandey’s taut direction. However, there were two other actors who made their mark -- Taapsee Pannu, who played a female commando called Shabana Khan in the film, and Rana Daggubati, in the role of a commando Jai Singh Rathore. It is interesting to note that both Taapsee and Rana were not from Bollywood -- Taapsee worked in Tamil and Telugu films while Rana, though made his Bollywood debut with Dum Maaro Dum (2011), was primarily a Telugu actor. While Taapsee’s performance came up for much praise, Rana too was noticed.

Standing at 191 cms (6’3”), here was an actor who had very few lines but was hard to miss. Not only was Rana tall, he was very muscular as well. Rana’s first Hindi film Dum Maro Dum was a dud, but he was among promising starkids in the Telugu filmdom, whose two films, Leader and Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum, had done fairly well. And while he did a cameo in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (he also dated Bipasha Basu briefly, according to speculation), but Baby got him noticed in the rest of India.

The really tall men in Bollywood, barring Amitabh Bachchan, haven’t done too well as leading men -- think Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Arjun Rampal and Arunoday Singh -- Irrfan Khan and Sidharth Malhotra being exceptions. So watching Rana was definitely a novelty.

Then came the avalanche called Baahubali. This time, not only was ‘very tall’ Rana in focus, he had metamorphosed himself into a really muscular person. The rippling muscles on a huge frame were truly intimidating.

The success of Baahubali franchise would soon catapult him into the top film echelon in the country. What is even more noteworthy is that he was managed to stay in public consciousness much after Baahubali’s glow ebbed, coming up with The Ghazi Attack, a modest hit, and the blockbuster Nene Raju Nene Manthri (Telugu) and is busy working two more films, one on a INA soldier, titled 1945, and another on Travancore royal, known for his gallantry and magnanimity.

What many wouldn’t know is that Rana is a fitness freak. On his birthday, here’s a look at his journey as a ‘man with muscles’.

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