Refreshingly natural: Rajkummar Rao and his roles

In a brief chat, National Award winner Rajkummar Rao shares how he prepares for characters that leave a mark on-screen forever

By Author  |  Published: 26th Aug 2017  11:00 pmUpdated: 27th Aug 2017  1:03 am
Rajkummar Rao

Ever since he entered the film industry, he has been proving his mettle. Whether it is Gangs of Wasseypur – 2, Kai Po Che!, Queen, Trapped, Aligarh or Bareilly ki Barfi, he got popular for ‘not being a quintessential actor’ whenever his movies hit the silver screen. With natural acting and subject-oriented movie choices, Rajkummar Rao always comes up with something surprising and the audience get to discover a new potential in him.

Talking to Tabloid Today, the National Award-winning star talks about his upcoming projects and recent awards that he received for Trapped and Newton in Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. Excerpts from the exclusive interview:

Trapped has won you Best Actor Special Jury award in Indian Film Festival of Melbourne? How does the award play a role?
Trapped is very special for me as I am the only actor in the movie. It was even more special experience due to director Vikram Motwane. You put in a lot of hard work into a movie and any kind of award as an appreciation means a lot. You feel really amazing for the response you receive from people for your work because it tells you people liked your performance.

Tell us something about your upcoming release Newton?
The movie has been featuring in many film festivals in the world, winning a couple of awards too — one is Berlin Film Festival and the other is Hong Kong Film Festival. The movie is about to release in India on September 22.

How challenging were both these roles for you?
Trapped was completely a challenging film for me both physically and mentally; it really pushed me to my limits. I had to quit eating for a few days to get into the character; it was a difficult task for me. Newton, on the contrary, is a completely different film and a great experience. It is a black comedy. It is a character that we do not see much on screen these days. He is idealistic and won’t change for anything. Both are entirely different and I had fun portraying these roles.

You maintain that Shahid is your special movie. Can you tell us why?
Well, Shahid will always be a special film to me. First, it made me meet Hansal sir and, second, it won me my first National and Filmfare award. The kind of recognition I got through Shahid from the industry and others was unexpected, and I think the credit goes to the real Shahid, on whom the movie is based.

How was your experience of portraying Netaji in the web series Bose Dead or Alive?
I have always admired Netaji, respected him and playing him on-screen is a very special experience. It was not an easy part to play. A lot of preparation was needed to get the psyche and achieve the passion he had. It was a process.

Was there anything challenging to get into Netaji’s character?
I think every character has its own challenges. I would say I have done a few things for the character. I gained 10 kgs, I shaved my head half and in a couple of scenes we are showing him smoking so I had to learn it, as I am a non-smoker. And, more than anything, I learnt a new language, Bengali. All these things help you in the performance and, for me, the internal process is also very important.

What was more inspiring throughout the series?
Portraying the life of the person who was truly driven and had unconditional love for the motherland and living that era gives you an amazing thrill. That experience is worthy enough to be a part of the series and inspiring much.

We hear one of your upcoming projects include Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s biopic…
No, I do not know where these rumours are coming from. I haven’t spoken to anyone and I do not have any idea about the stories that people are cooking up.

Are there any characters you wish to play?
I do not really think that way, honestly! I just want to explore all the genres, characters and live them on-screen. If I believe in a character as an actor, I love to play it.

How do you feel about the subject-oriented movies that are made now?
I am very happy with the change that the industry is going through and also how the people are appreciating content on-screen. Now, the audience want to see actors playing different characters on-screen. It is exciting time to be an actor in the industry right now.