Rajkummar Rao, who is currently shooting Bareily Ki Barfi in Lucknow , talks to Hindustan Times about his roles, films, the pressure of winning prestigious awards and more in a candid chat.
He is widely acclaimed for his acting prowess and even has a National Film Award to his credit (for Hansal Mehta’s Shahid in 2013). Love Sex aur Dokha, Ragini MMS, Shaitan, Gangs of Wasseypur 2, Kai Po Che, Shahid, Queen, Citylights and Aligarh are some of the noteworthy films Rajkummar Rao has worked in.
But Rajkummar is not content with acting alone, he wants to direct and produce films: “I love theatre and do watch plays but I always wanted to be a film actor. Right now I am enjoying acting but I would like to direct one day, produce films and tell my stories.”
“Luckily, I have not been typecast which is a big hassle with lot of actors. All have been very acting oriented roles and that’s something I can’t compromise with. We give two-three months of our life to a script so it should be worth it,” he says.
Rao adds he can’t function under the pressure of awards. “As an actor you really need to have no baggage and that’s the only way you can perform. I can’t perform to impress someone as that way I won’t be honest to my audience. I do it for myself and the character and if people like it then it’s an added bonus. First and foremost thing is the script which should connect with me. After that comes the team behind it and my part in it.”
“It’s very unpredictable to know the future of a film — who knew Tanu Weds Manu would make Rs 150 crore or Queen would do Rs 75-80 crores? But it happened! As filmmaker and actor, our only role is to make a film. Rest is beyond our control. We have examples of big films making no money, so it’s better to focus on acting,” he adds.
The actor is excited about his next two releases. “Omerta is one of our (with Hansal Mehta) most explosive film till date and the trailer will be out very soon. It’s an Italian term and also the name of Mario Puzo’s novel which means code of silence when you are not ready to cooperate with the authorities. But, my next release will be Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped (working title) which was recently screened at MAMI festival. The response was overwhelming and people are saying it’s my best work.” Third in the series will be Newton.
Rajkummar has been in Lucknow earlier too. “I was here for a festival around the release of Citylights. I was here just for a very short period but did whatever we could in that time — relishing kebabs etc. In fact, I came here once when I was in class 7 probably. It was for a martial art championship and stayed here in some stadium.”
Apart from diversifying into direction and production of films, Rajkummar also wants to explore new genres of movies. The actor says he is looking forward to do action films as he is a national level gold medalist in martial arts. “I still practice sometimes but don’t participate in any championship. Not many people know about this. I am a gold medalist at national level. So, there is much more in me that the directors need to explore. I don’t mind doing action films if something interesting comes my way,” he says.
Watch this and get a taste of his action skills
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