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"I would go around telling girls, "Call me Raj, Raj Aryan"," says actor Rajkumar Rao

Actor Rajkumar Rao talks about his love for mimicking superstars, his theatre days and the love of his life.

brunch Updated: Jul 12, 2015 14:30 IST
Atisha Jain
Atisha Jain
Hindustan Times
Rajkumar Rao,Shahid

Who do you prefer: Patralekha the co-star or Patralekha the girlfriend?

Patralekha the co-star playing my girlfriend on screen.

How similar are you to your


(2014) character? Are you a possessive boyfriend in real life?

I’m not like the guy from Queen. If I had a girlfriend like Kangana, I would never let her go.

You are slowly but surely veering from indie to mainstream cinema...

Yes, I guess I am moving towards mainstream films. As an audience, we love music, we love dancing. It’s very much in our culture.

Were you afraid of being typecast in these ‘offbeat’ roles?

I don’t want to restrict myself to any one genre. As an actor I just want to explore my options. That’s the reason I do [a mix of roles in films like]

Ragini MMS





(2014) and

Dolly Ki Doli


What is the meanest thing a director/casting director has told you?

That I wasn’t fair enough to be a hero; my eyebrows were not right for the role. But I knew that one day someone would say my eyebrows suit the character.

Your first Bollywood crush.


As a struggling actor, did you rehearse iconic movie scenes?

I don’t know about rehearsing, but my friends and I had tried the railway track sequence from


(1998). Aamir runs towards a train and jumps off the track at the right moment. Now I feel that it was a very stupid act, I could have died!

Which superstars do you remember mimicking as a child?

I would impersonate the hero of whichever film I watched for the next two weeks. When Mohabbatein (2000) released, I bought the kind of sweater and glasses that SRK had. And I would go around telling girls, “Call me Raj, Raj Aryan.”

Most young actors have an Amitabh Bachchan memory; what’s yours?

I remember watching Agneepath (1990) and howling after AB’s death scene in the movie. He was the Amitabh Bachchan, how could he die? I was praying to God, “Please let him live!”

How far are you willing to go to do justice to your role?

As far as my co-actors or my directors allow. I want to really push myself with every film I do.

Would you say you had to struggle a lot to be noticed?

My struggles started when I was doing theatre in Delhi during my university days. There were times when I would cycle 70km for a performance!

The people you go to for feedback.

Hansal [Mehta] sir and Patralekha.

Do you think you are a star yet?

I think I am shining in my own space. But people are yet to see me shine brighter.

Given a chance, who would you want to be in your next birth?

Marlon Brando.

If you could change your performance in any film, it would be in...


I feel that compared to the work I had put in, the film didn’t get as much response.

Style for you is...

What I feel most comfortable in.

You were most embarrassed when...

A friend picked something from a bakery and slipped it into his pocket. And the shopkeeper caught us before I could stop him. Fir to achhe se class lagi.

The best advice you’ve received.

Do not compromise on your work. And never be dishonest to your heart.

Your favourite dialogue of all time is...

“Bade bade shehron mein aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hai.”

Your most prized possession

My National Award for



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First Published: Jul 04, 2015 18:48 IST