A never-before opportunity

‘Rajkummar Rao’ in conversation with ‘Divya Solgama’ (Source – Bollywood Times)

Rajkummar, you have been part of several great films. So, what makes ‘Trapped’ different than all other films you have done till date?
Rajkummar Rao – The circumstances in which the character is trapped are very difficult. I enjoyed this experience because very rarely do we get to play such a character which challenges the actor in you till this extent. I went out of the way because I wanted to experience everything that the character goes through. We shot for around 22 days and it was mentally tiring. I have never pushed myself this much for any other film and I took quite a lot of time to get out of the character. This was a very demanding film for me as an actor, be it physically or mentally. Eating meat was something that my character demanded and I had to eat non-veg for the first time in my life. Everything was for the film and I can’t imagine myself not going through all this and still playing the character of Shaurya. The only way to portray this character with honest was to go experience the things that happen in the film in real life. I feel very fortunate to be in this industry at this point of time because there is this new generation of film-makers who have an interesting way to tell a story.

rao-fijitimesRajkummar, many viewers feel that your presence in a film itself is a sign of viewing a good performance based film. Do you feel the same?
Rajkummar Rao – If people think that I am a good actor and my films are worth watching than it’s a great achievement for me. It’s a great place to be and I feel humbled about it. I also watch all the films of those actors whom I admire and now people think same about me. It’s a great feeling. I don’t get pressurizes when someone is hoping something from me. The pressure is inside me and competes with myself. I cannot act with the fact that people are expecting to see something different from me. I try to be calm and go ahead with my natural instincts as I love challenging myself. In a way I am doing it for myself. So, I don’t feel any pressure while selecting and performing in my films.

Rajkummar, you love doing different type of films which are unusual and caters only to a niche audience. So in such scenario, does commercial success matter to you?
Rajkummar Rao – I don’t think about commerce when I shoot for a film, but when the film is about to release; of course I want it to do well commercially. Nobody would make a film thinking ‘I don’t want any sort of return’, everybody wants money. It matters a lot for the producers and success of small films gives the makers courage to take up such subjects. If ‘Trapped’ makes money, I am sure there would be many more films set in a similar space. I grew up watching all commercial films but I think our commercial cinema is going through a definite change. All our superstars are doing different kind of films. Aamir Khan did a film like ‘Dangal’ which is the highest grossing film of all time. Salman Khan has taken up subjects like ‘Sultan’ and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ whereas Shah Rukh Khan also did a film like ‘Fan’ or ‘Raees’. So the whole definition of commercial cinema is changing now.

Rajkummar, this year seems to be one of your busiest year. So, kindly share with us something about your forthcoming films?
Rajkummar Rao – ‘Trapped’ was a very demanding role but ‘Behen Hogi Teri’ is a very fun film. Apart from working on the accent, there was nothing much that I had to do for that film. It is set in a very light space and it is fun to venture into different genres. As an actor, I love to challenge myself and there was a different sort of challenge in a film like ‘Behen Hogi Teri’. I have not done a film set in that space till date and trust me it is not easy to get into that zone as well. Along with this film there are few more films this year and ‘Newton’ is one such interesting film along with ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’. It was just a merely coincidence that all the films are coming together this year now.