South Indian actor Rana Daggubati on Tuesday said that working in the upcoming film ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him. The 36-year-old actor added that playing his character in the movie was a process of “spiritual learning” and “healing”.

In an interview with the Indian Express, Rana said it was not easy for him to get into his role as Bandev in ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ as he was just out of ‘Baahubali’s’ Bhalladeva character. But Prabu Solomon, director of the film, made him do a couple of exercises to transform his look.

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“The first schedule of the film was for 25 days, during which I worked only with nature and the wilds. During that period, I didn’t have a co-star. So, those days set the tone of the character for me. So, I would say a week of the workshop and around 25-30 days of the shoot made me Bandev,” he told the Indian Express.

Rana added that Prabu was his “dream director”. “It is a dream to work with him because when you are done with the film, you come out becoming a better person,” he said.

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Notably, Rana fell ill during the filming of ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ and had to take a break. He was later diagnosed with heart complications and kidney failure.

Speaking about his comeback, Rana said, “My films taught me to overcome the problems and rise as a hero.”

Shot in three languages- Tamil, Telugu and Hindi- ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ is backed by Eros International. It stars Rana, Vishnu Vishal, Pulkit Samrat, Shriya Pilgaonkar and Zoya Hussain in lead roles. The film is set to release on the big screen on March 26.