BY DURGA CHAKRAVARTY
He has mastered the art of striking a balance between critically acclaimed films such as “Shahid” and “Aligarh” on one hand, and quality mainstream entertainers as “Stree” and “Bareilly Ki Barfi” on the other. Rajkummar Rao, one of the best actors in Bollywood, calls himself a “normal guy leading a very normal life” and he doesnt waste time dealing with stardom.
Rajkummar made his Bollywood debut with a prop role in the 2010 film “Love Sex Aur Dhokha”, Dibakar Banerjee’s quirky experiment that courted critical acclaim. Over the next few years, his rise has been steady, thanks to impeccable performances in films such as “Shaitan”, “Aligarh”, “Kai Po Che!”, “Shahid” and “Stree” among others.
In his nine year run in Bollywood, how does Rajkummar deal with the stardom? “I don’t really deal with it,” Rajkummar told IANS.
Does he give stardom importance? Pat came the reply: “I don’t give it (importance). I am very happy because I get a lot of love whenever I go anywhere now. That love is irreplaceable. A lot of gratitude for that. Apart from that when I am on sets or at home, I don’t think of anything else. I just be myself. I am a very normal guy and leading a very normal life. I am just doing my job and nothing else.”
Before venturing into the glitzy world of Bollywood, Rajkummar, a product of Delhi University, was doing theatre. In 2008, the “Omerta” star graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, and shifted to Mumbai for a film career.
Of course, it wasn’t always a smooth ride. He has had his quota of struggle, too.
“My struggle started in Delhi. I hail from Gurgaon and I used to travel in really crowded buses or sometimes cycle from Gurgaon to Mandi House to do theatre . My struggle started from there. When I landed in Bombay for two years, there was a lot of struggle. I would meet a lot of people and face a lot of rejection. It wasn’t really an easy route.” he said.
Today, Rajkummar has carved a niche for himself in just nine years, and is labelled a Rs 100-crore actor-star.
“These are tags created by people. I just want to do good work nothing else. I am not chasing anything else,” said the actor, who has managed to maintain a balance between commercial space and indie cinema.
Is Rajkummar consciously maintaining two pockets in his career? “No. The only conscious choice is to be a part of exciting stories. When ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’, which in a way was a gamechanger, released and people saw me in a different avatar for the first time it just happened. I did not really decide to do that film because I wanted to break some image and do a big commercial film,” he said.
With a bag full of different work kinds of films coming his way, Rajkummar has never felt saturated.
“I am very happy. There are so many people out there who want to do what I am doing. So, when I am getting a chance to live my dream everyday there is no saturation point. I love it,” he said.
But with a packed work schedule, does he feel that his personal life has taken a backseat?
Rajkummar, who is dating actress Patralekhaa, said: “Yeah. I wish I could give more time to my personal life but I have got some really understanding people and they know we all came to the city to do this. You have to have an understanding with your friends and loved ones.” (IANS)