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A perfect year for Rajkummar Rao

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With three films out this year, actor Rajkummar Rao seems to have everything in his favour, writes Nikita Wadhawan

The year 2017 started with Rajkummar Rao’s gripping performance in ‘Trapped’ followed by ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ and now Newton. It has certainly been an eventful year for Rao and has helped him as an outsider to get a strong footing in this clannish industry. But now the actor is looking forward to getting over the Friday pressure as he gears up for his web series ‘Bose’, which he considers to be his biggest challenge yet. Excerpts from the interview:

Was it difficult shooting in a remote place like Chhattisgarh?


No, not a lot. We had full support from the government and people are so amazing there. They opened their huts to us. It was a small place and every day after pack up there used to be so many people waiting to click a picture with me. It was cute.

How difficult it is to be an honest man?
That is the irony that it is tough to be honest in this day and time and that is what this film teaches you in a very humours way without being preachy. I think it is the easiest and stress free life you can live. Being honest to yourself is the most important thing.

How difficult or easy is it to portray honest characters like ‘Newton’?

I try and talk to my director a lot and see how he is visualising it. But I try to be as honest as possible to my character so I try to imbibe that honesty in myself.

2017, has been an interesting year, three films so far, and all have helped you get a stronger foothold in Bollywood?
It is just a coincidence that it is happening. I shot these films last year and they came out together this year. It feels amazing.

Also Read: Rajkummar Rao will take up smoking for his upcoming biopic on Subhash Chandra Bose

‘Trapped’ then ‘Bareilly…’ and now ‘Newton’, you have shown a lot of diversity in your choice of roles…

That is the fun part of being an actor. I want to do this with all my films and I don’t want to restrict myself to one thing. I want to explore as much as possible. I want to push myself with every film as that is the only way to find yourself as an actor.

You have no qualms in working with actors who are as talented as you but still you manage to shine through and still not overpower. How do you maintain that balance?
If you love what you do and if you are doing it for the right intension then you will not try to overpower someone. For me acting is not an ego game, I am very secure as an actor. I am not here to look down upon anyone, I want them to shine better than me.

Do you want to eventually move on from being a parallel actor to being the main lead in a film?

I just want to be a part of good movies. No matter if there are 10 actors or just one actor in it. As long as I am happy doing them, I will don’t mind what role it is. The script has to excite me as an actor.

You have lost most of the weight you gained for Bose, are you facing any withdrawal symptoms for hogging on junk food?

(Laughs) Yes I do, it is tough for me to lose weight. I had a chiselled face and now it is round. I have a couple days left to start shooting for ‘Fanny Khan’, but I had an amazing time eating all that junk food. Though I don’t want to do it again anytime soon.

What can we expect from ‘Bose’ that we don’t know about him already?

So much more. There are so many things that part of his life that is still unexplored. We know about him due to INA but not about his childhood or Emily his wife. That is what we will explore.

With recurring projects with Hansal Mehta, how easy is it as an actor to work with a director who you have a special bond with?

Hansal is my family now in this city. He is the first person I will call if I am ever in trouble. You find a sort of comfort zone with one person and then you have a certain understanding that you share with that person. With Hansal sir we don’t have to communicate with a lot of words. Though we make such intense dramas, behind the camera it’s like being on a picnic.

What are your plans, are you content as an actor or would you like to venture into other areas of filmmaking like your peers?

Right now, I am busy acting, but one day you might see me directing. I haven’t planned anything yet but maybe one day.

You will also be romancing Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in ‘Fanney Khan’, it will be your first time opposite such an established actress, so how are you preparing for it?

I haven’t met her properly for the film yet. I met her once casually on Melbourne and we talked about working together. Preparation mode on for the film and I am very excited about it.