Give him a character and he will own it completely. Rajkummar Rao is up for a challenge, and that does not always come with a lead role in a film. Despite his popularity, the audience has seen him essay supporting roles, and the 35-year-old actor isn’t complaining. Instead, he is focussed on making the most of the “opportunities at hand” and accepts films with a compelling narrative.
“I really don’t see anything else, and when you do that, it isn’t necessary that you will get the lead role. Yes I’m a greedy actor, too, and would love to do the most impactful part in a story. But, I know that it might not happen every time. So, when you don’t get that, you don’t stop working. The idea is to make the character I’m portraying as impactful as possible,” says Rao.
The actor is confident in his skin now, and says that the path from Millennium City to the Maximum City with acting aspirations was laden with tears and rejections. “I know how I’ve reached where I’m today. So every time I feel otherwise, I go back to my journey, to my roots, and my heart is immediately filled with gratitude,” he explains.
A glance at his career graph — be it in Love Sex Aur Dhokha (2010), Kai Po Che! (2013), Shahid (2013), Trapped (2016) or Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017) — delineates how Rao’s choice of films has been unique. To avoid saturation, the actor has always opted for variety. “As long as I’m a part of different stories, I don’t feel saturated, nor insecure. I know I can’t control my future. My present is what I have. Life surprises you. If tomorrow, I wake up and find things going against me, I have to accept it. It will be a nightmare, but I won’t spoil my ‘now’ because ‘what if that happens’. And if it does, I’m prepared,” asserts the Stree (2018) actor.
However, Rao does regret being part of a few projects. “Looking back, I do regret doing one or two films, I won’t name them… I signed them for some emotional reason. But I don’t regret losing out on good films,” adds Rao, who received a positive response for his role as a Gujarati businessman in his recent film, Made In China.
And, this isn’t the first time that the versatile actor has dabbled in comedy — a genre he enjoys working on. Rao, who would love to explore comedy again, says, “It’s difficult to make people laugh, and it’s humbling to have viewers, who love my performances in films such as Bareilly Ki Barfi, Stree (2018), and Newton (2017), which was a dark comedy, and now the latest slice of life film, Made In China. I will always try to push the envelope, challenge myself as an actor and entertain my audience through my work.”