In the last six months, Rajkummar Rao has lost weight, gained some and chopped off his hair to appear half-bald, all in the service of his craft. The actor, who turned 33 yesterday, however, says the physical transformation is just one aspect and there is nothing special about it.
In an interview, Rao says, “It has never been about me; acting is not an ego game. It is always about the character and the film. I can’t be thinking about how I look, who my co-stars are or whether they have a better role than me.”
It has been a great year for Rao, who wowed in films such as “Trapped”, “Behen Hogi Teri” and “Bareilly Ki Barfi”. His role in “Bareilly” impressed Amitabh Bachchan so much that he sent a handwritten congratulatory note and a bouquet of flowers to the actor. Rao says as someone who fell in love with acting, he will never do anything that requires calculation. “I could have done anything in life. It is something that I am doing for myself. So if I am in this profession, I have to be completely honest to it. My responsibilities are always towards my characters, not towards me or what others think about me.”
His next release is “Newton” where Rao plays an election officer trying to get voting done in a Naxal-affected area. Then the actor has again collaborated with Hansal Mehta for “Omerta”, which recounts the real-life story of the infamous British-born terrorist, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who kidnapped and murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002.
Mehta and Rao have also ventured out into the digital space with the 10-part web series “Bose”, where Rao will be seen playing Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Mehta first worked with Rao in “Shahid”, which was based on the life of slain human rights activist Shahid Azmi, and won Rao a national award. Mehta went on to repeat the actor in “CityLights” and “Aligarh”. “I feel very lucky to have found Hansal sir in my life. You need somebody who always pushes you as an actor. He always offers me something which I have not done before or which I have not imagined myself doing,” Rao says, elaborating on his special bond with Mehta.