Saturday 23 September 2017 News Updated at 03:09 AM IST
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Versatility is his forte - Deccan Herald
Versatility is his forte
Deepa Natarajan Lobo,
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He gets rave reviews for all the characters he plays - big or small. Be it as Govind Patel in Kai Po Che!, as Shahid Azmi in Shahid, or as Omar Sheikh in the upcoming Omerta, Rajkummar Rao just gets better and better at his craft with every project of his. "It’s just content and the character that I am playing that draws me to a script,” says the National Award-winning actor.

One of the few actors to play a supporting role in a heroine-centric film (Queen), Rajkummar doesn’t mind playing small roles as long as they add to the film. "If I had the opportunity to act in a classic like Satya, I would have loved to play Bhiku Mhatre’s role,” he exclaims. "As far as Queen is concerned, I knew it was going to be a brilliant film the day I read the script. Though my role was small, you can’t see the film without Vijay, and there are a lot of boys like him out there in reality,” he adds.

Real on reel

With director Hansal Mehta, Rajkummar has given some power-packed performances in films like City Lights, Shahid (for which he won a National Award) and Aligarh. Yet, he says their upcoming project Omerta is their most "explosive film” till date.

Based on the life of Omar Sheikh, known for his involvement in the abduction and killing of Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002, Omerta was a tough nut to crack, even for a stellar actor like Rajkummar. "I had to do a lot of research on terrorism and the history of it. It was not an easy experience at all,” he sighs. "It was a dark role in a completely dark world. The character had no other shades to him except black!”

Rajkummar is highly excited to attend the screening of the film at the Toronto Film Festival, which is on right now. "I missed attending it when Shahid was screened, but this time, I am all set to go,” he says.

Some of his other upcoming films include Newton, Ittefaq and Bose: Dead/Alive, a biopic on Subhash Chandra Bose for which he has teamed up with Hansal Mehta once again. As an actor who has been seen in many biopics, is it a lot harder to do a biopic? He agrees, "There is an added sense of responsibility when you are portraying a true story and a real character on screen.”

Director’s actor

What’s the secret behind the success of his collaboration with Hansal? "Well, we just try and make a good film every time,” he laughs. But jokes apart, Rajkummar says his only competition in the industry is with himself. "My competition is with my last performance, and with every performance I want to get better.” Calling himself a "hungry actor”, he says he would love to work with all the big directors in the industry. "Cinema is a director’s medium at the end of the day and there are so many talented film-makers out there.”

Surprisingly, for an actor who gives it his all to only one film at a time, he has a large number of releases lined up for the year. "Many of these films were shot last year. So, it seems like I do many films at once but in reality, I do only one film at a time. I just can’t work under pressure.” Once he wraps up a film, he likes to take some time off and travel to unexplored places. "I flush the character out completely before moving on to the next project.”

The entire nepotism debate has questioned the easy entry of star kids into the industry as against powerhouses of talent like Rajkummar who had to work his way up solely on the basis of talent. What’s his take on the issue? "I don’t mind seeing talented actors on screen, no matter where they come from. But the whole thing has been spoken about too much. Let’s just focus on making good films and getting money into the industry,” he laughs.

Ask him about his dream roles and he quips, "I just go with the flow. My only dream was to be an actor, and I am living it every day.” Was there ever an alternate career option if things didn’t work out? "No, there was never a plan B!”