Actors often take time to come into their own, and Rajkummar Rao is one such example. He started his Bollywood career with smaller roles, but got much acclaim for his stellar performance in Shahid (2013) and for roles in films such as Kai Po Che! (2013) and Queen (2014). The actor celebrated his birthday on August 31. As he turns 32, Raj Kummar talks about his struggle in Bollywood, his relationship with actor-girlfriend Patralekhaa, and more.
Does ageing scare you?
No, it doesn’t. I have worked in so many films, and I have so much experience that I’m more confident and energetic now. Age is just a number.
How did your parents react when you told them that you wanted to become an actor?
My family has always supported me. Whatever I have achieved today is because of them. I don’t think many people have the kind of confidence, like my parents do, in me.
You have spoken about your struggles before entering the industry. But what’s the struggle like after you became part of it?
There’s a constant struggle to choose the right film, and to do movies that you believe in. Then, there should also be people who have the faith to pull off these films. It’s a struggle to find that.
Watch: A scene from Raj Kummar Rao’s film Shahid
Has it ever happened that the roles promised to you were taken away because of politics in the industry?
Yes, it has happened a few times. At that moment, it does hurt because you feel you deserve the role more. But you move on and keep working hard.
Actresses are said to have a ‘shelf life’ in Bollywood. Do actors face a similar issue?
I don’t think that term is used for anyone. Actors are doing amazing work now. There are very strong characters being written for women. The same holds true for actors, and the biggest example of that is Amitabh Bachchan. He can do so much even at his age.
You don’t have any godfathers in the industry, but do you have friends you can count on?
Yes, I can say that Mahesh Bhatt and Hansal Mehta (both film-makers) are two people who will always stand by me.
Watch: Trailer of Raj Kummar Rao’s film Aligarh
You are vocal about your relationship with Patralekhaa. Do you feel your personal life, at times, takes over your professional one?
I do not give my personal life that much importance. I want people to know me because of my work. I don’t go around telling people everything that happens in my personal life.