Spotlight: Rajkummar Rao

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Rajkummar Rao is a chameleon. He can be an introvert as Govind in Kai Po Che, a force to reckon with in Shahid, an annoying example of patriarchy as Vijay in Queen, a loving family man in Citylights, an honest election officer in Newton, a shy Pritam doubled with a flamboyant Pritam in Bareilly Ki Barfi and a lovable feminist tailor in Stree. There ain’t no role this perfectionist can’t pull off.

Rao was merely a school-boy in eighth grade when his heart kindled with an audacious love for cinema. Coming from a middle-class family, he didn’t have it easy but the call of his dreams was louder than his shortcomings. With strong support from his family and a larger than life passion, Rao made the best of what he had, and today is one the most celebrated artists Bollywood flaunts.

Rajkummar says he cannot quite trace the root of his love for cinema. But it probably lies somewhere within the four walls of his Gurgaon residence where his fondest memories of childhood revolve around the movie marathons that would take place on weekends, where the entire family watched two-three films in one sitting.

All of us loved films, so every Saturday, we would get a VCR and watch two films at night. Slowly, I started falling in love with the filmi world.

It was the mid-2000s when Rajkumar Rao headed to college and acting school in Delhi by travelling on a bus from Haryana at 7.30am every morning. His pass time? Observing passengers and experimenting with various avatars. For instance, he once played deaf and dumb on the bus to notice how the crowd reacted to his presence. He watched and learned.

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“For two years, my teachers paid my school fees,” he says. “But no one ever discouraged me from pursuing my dream.”

“For two years, my teachers paid my school fees,” he says. “But no one ever discouraged me from pursuing my dream.” >>>>>>> .merge_file_koLYx1

Rao didn’t have it easy, he struggled from one drama school to the next but everyone saw that spark in him, the spark to do more, to achieve greater heights and transform into the best version of himself. He knew his strengths though and always stayed true to himself.

I knew my success depended more on my work than my appearance.

Once he was done with learning drama in Delhi he immediately shifted to Mumbai to pursue his lifelong dream. But he struggled for almost two years until he got locked for Love Sex Aur Dhokha in 2010.

<<<<<<< .merge_file_HhM9RF “Everything started with LSD. Anurag (Kashyap) saw my work in LSD and liked it, so he called me for Gangs of Wasseypur. Then he and (casting director) Mukesh Chabbra mentioned my name to Hansal Mehta for Shahid.”

Speaking of how he arrived in Bollywood, he believes it’s all the hard work.

“People will invest in you only if they see some kind of return and that’s the dark truth.”

Rajkumar says Trapped and Omerta are the toughest films he has ever done. Being a stickler for accuracy and method acting, he barely ate or drank water for 15-20 days for Trapped.

“I would have blackouts – naturally, my body started reacting – but trust me, I think that was the only way for me to achieve what I wanted to portray on screen.”

Apart from being a method artist and perfectionist, this legend of an actor has many other talents we’re unaware of.

“Very few know that I am a trained dancer. Audience applause is part of my earliest memories”

Rajkumar is a performer and a go-getter and when it comes to choosing his roles, he likes to go with his gut.

“You have to listen to your gut and follow your heart because I am here for a marathon, not a sprint. I want to keep running.”

Though he isn’t an outsider anymore after 9 years in this industry, he likes to keep his head high but his feet on the ground.

“I’m still that curious kid from Gurgaon who looks at the surreal planet of Bollywood from a distance.”

“Everything started with LSD. Anurag (Kashyap) saw my work in LSD and liked it, so he called me for Gangs of Wasseypur. Then he and (casting director) Mukesh Chabbra mentioned my name to Hansal Mehta for Shahid.”

Speaking of how he arrived in Bollywood, he believes it’s all the hard work.

“People will invest in you only if they see some kind of return and that’s the dark truth.”

Rajkumar says Trapped and Omerta are the toughest films he has ever done. Being a stickler for accuracy and method acting, he barely ate or drank water for 15-20 days for Trapped.

“I would have blackouts – naturally, my body started reacting – but trust me, I think that was the only way for me to achieve what I wanted to portray on screen.”

Apart from being a method artist and perfectionist, this legend of an actor has many other talents we’re unaware of.

“Very few know that I am a trained dancer. Audience applause is part of my earliest memories”

Rajkumar is a performer and a go-getter and when it comes to choosing his roles, he likes to go with his gut.

“You have to listen to your gut and follow your heart because I am here for a marathon, not a sprint. I want to keep running.”

Though he isn’t an outsider anymore after 9 years in this industry, he likes to keep his head high but his feet on the ground.

“I’m still that curious kid from Gurgaon who looks at the surreal planet of Bollywood from a distance.” >>>>>>> .merge_file_koLYx1

What a star!

We will see more of this brilliant artist in Mental Hai Kya, a black comedy that is rumoured to release soon, Imli a film with Anurag Basu, and Made in China by Dinesh Vijan.