Rajkummar Rao Interview: I feel proud as a cinema lover that our whole cinema is growing!
In a candid conversation with BollywoodMDB, distinguished actor Rajkummar Rao opens up about his film Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana and much more.
There are only a few actors in Bollywood who are the exception to any rule one can think of. One such wonderful performer is Rajkummar Rao. He can play virtually any character given to him and arrest our attention of each and every one of us at the same time. After the success of his most recent films, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Oscar-nominated Newton, the acclaimed actor is coming up to show his immense talent in the upcoming film, Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana. Also starring Kriti Kharbanda, the flick is a Ratna Sinha directorial, scheduled to release on 10th November. In a candid conversation with BollywoodMDB correspondent, Mohnish Singh, the Rao opens up about his next movie, Newton, Fanney Khan and much more.
Q. In Bareilly Ki Barfi, your leading actress was Kriti Sanon and now in Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana, you are paired opposite Kriti Kharbanda. What do you have to say about the name Kriti playing so an important role in your career right now?
A. I think I will have to ask my Pundit Ji that what the connection between this is. But I am very happy that both (Kriti Sanon and Kriti Kharbanda) are amazing. Bareilly Ki Barfi has been a huge success and Kriti has got a huge response for her performance in the movie. I am pretty sure about (Kriti) Kharbanda also that when the film releases she will get the immense response based on the work she has done in the film.
Q. Who is more livewire on the sets, Kriti Sanon or Kriti Kharbanda?
A. We cannot compare. There is no point in comparing them.
Q. The last time we met was before Newton and now again we’re meeting before the release of your forthcoming film Shaadi Me Zaroor Aana, but how are you feeling that your film Newton has been selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars?
A. I think being an official entry at Oscars from our country has definitely changed a lot of things. The only thing that has changed for me is that I had to go to Oscars which I cannot because of my injury. Apart from that, I am very happy. I am very happy with the fact that the film has been such a big success. I feel very proud. I feel proud as a cinema lover that our whole cinema is growing. I am glad that I was part of the film; I’ve played the role of Newton in Newton. It is important for films like Newton to do well and for audiences to accept films like Newton because then only there will be ten more Newton in theatres to watch.
Q. You have also made your debut in digital space with Bose Dead/Alive. Please tell us something about that.
A. I am very excited for it as it’s my most ambitious character that I’ve played till date and 20th is the launch date of the digital web series on ALT Balaji. I’ve seen a couple of episodes and am very happy with it. We’ve worked really very hard for it. It is not less than any feature film and probably we have spent much more amount of time on the show than a feature film. We have shot it in that way.
Q. Coming back to Newton, we watched the film and loved it and then it became India’s official entry to Oscars but soon came the news that the plot of the film was similar to Secret Ballot. However, the director of Secret Ballot himself said that films are not similar but there may be some structural similarities. So, is there any kind of fear for its future at Oscars?
A. Well, when the producers and directors of Secret Ballot came and saw our film, even they said that both films are not similar except structural similarities. So, now I don’t know why people are not agreeing to the same fact as well and we should just not react to news like these.
Q. How was your experience to work with Kriti Kharbanda in Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana?
A. It was a very good experience while working with her. She is a very amazing, vibrant full of life and hardworking actress. When you’ll see the film that time you all will come to know how much dedication and hard work Kriti has put into her character in the movie.
Q. What will you say about your director Ratna Sinha?
A. Kriti, Ratna Ma’am and I were like a team on the set. Ratna Ma’am is very clear in her mind and her vision of how she wants the characters in the film to be acting it out, how she wants the story of the film to shape up and, at the end, how she wants the entire film to turn out to be.
Q. What was the one thing in this character Sattu that compelled you to say yes to this film?
A. It was really a very relatable character for me and, at the same time, was also something new for me to do, which I felt that I had not done yet. You might’ve seen in the trailer of film that in the first half there is a very sweet, romantic and shy Sattu, which was very refreshing for me as an actor, and in the second half Sattu becomes a very serious, no-nonsense, frank and well-spoken IAS Officer who wants to take revenge on his ex-fiancé Aarti (Kriti).
I feel that my character Sattu has two amazing sides to him, one is sweet and the other is serious one which is like having two different sets of personalities in the same person which was very different and fresh for me as an actor which is why I said yes to this film.
Q. When you act in films, you become that character. So, is there any process that you follow?
A. Yes, the process was there where I have worked very hard during 3 years of my theatre training and then again 2 and half years of my film school training as well. It actually depends on script as it decides the kind and type of process that you will apply for getting into the skin of your characters but with this kind of a film like Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana, for the second half of the film, it was very important for me to know how IAS officers behave, how they talk with other people, their way of dressing, their way of talking with their family members and all. So, for that, I met and interacted with many of my IAS friends to get to understand even the minute details of their personality and life. So, yes that has helped me a lot to get into the skin of my character in a much better way.
Q. Have you started shooting for Fanney Khan?
A. Yes, we’re almost done with it. I have a couple of days left with Aishwarya. But unfortunately, then my leg injury happened and after that the surgery. I am very thankful to producers, directors and entire cast of film Fanney Khan for being so supportive to me.
Q. How was your experience of working with Aishwarya in Fanney Khan?
A. Actually, I’ve not yet started shooting with Aishwarya for Fanney Khan but am sure it will be a very good experience for me.