Millennium Post

Acting not an ego game for me: Rajkummar Rao

Bareilly ki Barfi actor, who left an impression through his remarkable performances , does not pay much heed towards his look or who his co-stars are.

New Delhi: In the last six months, Rajkummar Rao has lost weight, gained some and chopped off his hair to appear half-bald, all in the service of his craft. The actor, who turned 33 today, however, says the physical transformation is just one aspect and there is nothing special about it.

In an interview, Rao says, "It has never been about me; acting is not an ego game. It is always about the character and the film. I can't be thinking about how I look, who my co-stars are or whether they have a better role than me."
It has been a great year for Rao, who acted in films such as Trapped, Behen Hogi Teri and Bareilly Ki Barfi. His role in Bareilly impressed Amitabh Bachchan so much that he sent a handwritten congratulatory note and a bouquet of flowers to the actor. Rao says as someone who fell in love with acting, he will never do anything that requires calculation.
"I could have done anything in life. It is something that I am doing for myself. So if I am in this profession, I have to be completely honest to it. My responsibilities are always towards my characters, not towards me or what others think about me."
His next release is Newton where Rao plays an election officer trying to get voting done in a Naxal-affected area.Then the actor has again collaborated with Hansal Mehta for Omerta, which recounts the real-life story of the infamous British-born terrorist, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who kidnapped and murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002.
Mehta and Rao have also ventured out into the digital space with the 10-part web series 'Bose', where Rao will be seen playing Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Mehta first worked with Rao in Shahid, which was based on the life of slain human rights activist Shahid Azmi, and won Rao a national award. Mehta went on to repeat the actor in CityLights and Aligarh.
"I feel very lucky to have found Hansal sir in my life. You need somebody who always pushes you as an actor. He always offers me something which I have not done before or which I have not imagined myself doing," Rao says, elaborating on his his special bond with Mehta. The actor says for Omerta, he went into a really dark space but it was exciting to play such a negative role with the same filmmaker who directed him in Shahid.
"It's an unconventional film for both of us. It's in stark contrast to what Shahid was Because I have done Shahid, it was great as an actor to do an absolutely different character with the same director." 'Bose' is a dream role for Rao and he went all out for it because, he says, not many get the chance to play the founder of the Azad Hind Fauj. The actor says his hairstylist was aghast when he told him to shave off the top of his head.
"For 'Bose', I had to physically try and resemble him as much as possible. I can't exactly look like him but if I can make it believable, then my job is done. We had an option to use prosthetics but that would have restrained me as an actor.
"I try to keep things as natural as possible. This is why I have gone half-bald. It really helped me." Rao's filmography has more films that come from the content-driven space than from mainstream commercial area but that does not worry the actor much. Luckily for me, I have not been typecast as of yet. I'm not carrying a certain image. This is why when Behen Hogi Teri and Bareilly came my way, I took them up. I thought it would break the convention of the romantic hero. There is a certain body and style attached to them. I wanted to break that and make this romantic hero real, one of our own."

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