What Bollywood does not know as yet, Telugu cinema – popularly known as Tollywood, has confirmed for us. It’s to do with Sajid Nadiadwala’s troubled film Housefull 4 whose fourth schedule is now being shot at the Chitrakoot Grounds in Andheri west. The film was in disarray about 10 days ago with #MeToo claiming two scalps from among its cast and crew.
Actor Nana Patekar and director Sajid Khan had to step down from Housefull 4 after they got called out in separate cases of sexual abuse and molestation by women from the industry. While yesteryear actress and beauty queen Tanushree Datta named Nana and kick-started the #MeToo movement in Bollywood, Sajid was accused by an assistant director, an actress and a journalist.
Producer Sajid Nadiadwala took swift action and replaced his director with the popular Farhad Samji of Sajid-Farhad fame. And Housefull 4, whose Mumbai set had been idle for two days following the removal of Nana and Sajid, rolled back into action once Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh and Bobby Deol began shooting.
Meanwhile, Bollywood and the media speculated wildly on who would replace Nana. Names that made the cut were Jackie Shroff, Suniel Shetty, Anil Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan. There was also talk that Nana’s scenes might be retained in the film. But there’s a slim chance of that happening. It seems that Sajid Nadiadwala is keen to get a replacement on board and wrap up the last 40 per cent of Housefull 4.
Now... PeepingMoon.com exclusively has the name of the actor who is going to replace Nana. Strangely, the news came to us from Hyderabad, the home city of Tollywood. The actor is South Indian superstar Rana Daggubati! Yes, the actor who starred as the fictional action character Bhallaladeva in the big grossing films Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. Don’t ask us how Sajid Nadiadwala managed this casting coup. But it’s happening.
Rana made his Bollywood debut in 2011 opposite Bipasha Basu in Ramesh Sippy’s crime thriller Dum Maro Dum. His role, as the Goan DJ Joki Fernandes earned Rana the Zee Cine Award for Best Male Debut. He was also nominated in the same category for the Filmfare Award. The South superstar who works in Telugu and Tamil cinema was further seen in Bollywood films Department (2012), Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani (2012, in a cameo role), Baby (2013), The Ghazi Attack (2017) and Welcome to New York (2018, again in a cameo role).
Rana’s inclusion in Housefull 4 as #MeToo man Nana Patekar’s replacement is being kept a secret in the film’s camp. Efforts to get a confirmation from sources there proved futile. Producer Sajid Nadiadwala has gone off the press ever since his comedy franchise was hit by the women power movement in Bollywood. But proud Tollywood sources in Hyderabad confirm Rana Daggubati is in Housefull 4. He is likely to begin shooting by the end of this month, they said.