Happy birthday Rajkummar Rao: 5 must-watch films of the actor that prove he is one of the finest of his generation

On the occasion of Rajkummar Rao’s 36th birthday, here are five of his best films which are definitely worth a watch.
Rajkummar Rao turns 36 on Monday.
Rajkummar Rao turns 36 on Monday.
Updated on Aug 31, 2020 07:40 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByRuchi Kaushal

Rajkummar Rao has emerged as one of the finest actors in the young generation of actors, who not only has a National Film Award in his kitty but has also proved his worth at the ticket windows. The actor has built a notable career, starting small but going to play titular characters in critically acclaimed movies like Shahid and Newton. As the actors turns 36 on Monday, here are five of his must-watch films that brought out the best in him.

Rajkummar Rao in Shahid.
Rajkummar Rao in Shahid.


Rajkummar proved very early in his career that he was a director’s actor. Shahid was based on the life of lawyer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi, who was assassinated in 2010. The actor had spent a lot of time with Shahid’s family and went on to collect his first National Film Award for his performance. Talking about why he was attracted to such a subject, he had told PTI, “There was such variation in his life starting from being a victim, to briefly going to a terrorist camp, to landing in Tihar Jail and then becoming this human rights lawyer. It was a fascinating life. What was it that was driving him to go to these extremes? I tried to achieve that.”

Rajkummar Rao in Trapped.
Rajkummar Rao in Trapped.


Rajkummar always wanted to work with Vikramaditya Motwane but had to wait longer when the filmmaker cast Rajat Barmecha in Udaan and Ranveer Singh in Lootera. His wait finally came to an end with Trapped, which required Rajkummar to undergo a massive transformation he could have never imagined. The actor had all the attention to himself as he played a man trapped in a building with no food, water and electricity. He had told PTI in an interview, “The film has taken me to places both physically and mentally as an actor, I wouldn’t have gone otherwise. I lost seven kgs in 18 days as I did not eat anything for 15 days.”

Rajkummar Rao in Newton.
Rajkummar Rao in Newton.


Rajkummar played an honest clerk in Newton, who was sent on election duty and was ready to go to any length to get the work done assigned to him, no matter what may come his way. The actor could connect with his character Newton Kumar’s philosophy and ideology and was happy that it was India’s official entry to the Oscars. Once again, Rajkummar had proved he could make even a small film turn into a commercial entertainer with his sheer talent.

Rajkummar Rao during his look test for Bareilly Ki Barfi.
Rajkummar Rao during his look test for Bareilly Ki Barfi.

Bareilly Ki Barfi

Rajkummar showed two sides of his character Pritam Vidrohi in Bareilly Ki Barfi – a naïve sari salesman and a rowdy man. The swiftness and ease with which he switched between the two avatars brought him loud whistles and cheers in movie theatres. The actor proved that he was not just cut out for intense parts but could also do light-hearted roles with as much perfection. He had even received a handwritten note from Amitabh Bachchan who had called his performance “beautiful”. The actor had said it was big high for him to see the audience reaction he received for his onscreen avatar in the film, which also had Ayushmann Khurrana as the other male lead.

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Rajkummar Rao in Stree.
Rajkummar Rao in Stree.


After winning hearts as a sari salesman in Bareilly Ki Barfi, Rajkummar Rao turned a ladies tailor in horror-comedy Stree. There couldn’t be another actor who could look so convincing and so entertaining as Rajkummar, who recited an essay on mor (peacock) or described the services provided at his tailor shop without catching a breath. The actor showed his funnier side in the film and did a good job without overdoing it. Stree remains one of his most successful films at the box office.

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