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  Age on Sunday   29 Oct 2017  A star worth his roots

A star worth his roots

THE ASIAN AGE. | LIPIKA VARMA
Published : Oct 29, 2017, 6:03 am IST
Updated : Oct 29, 2017, 6:03 am IST

The Haryanvi lad, having earned accolades for his acting, is now courting the Oscars, as Newton became India’s official entry to the awards this year.

Rajkummar Rao
 Rajkummar Rao

Rajkummar Rao has no qualms about admitting to his small-town origins, how being in showbiz was but a dream, and how, despite Newton being sent to the Oscars, he’s down to earth.

Rajkummar Rao has come a long way since City Lights and Love, Sex Aur Dhoka. The Haryanvi lad, having earned accolades for his acting, is now courting the Oscars, as Newton became India’s official entry to the awards this year.

But it’s not been very smooth sailing for the actor. As he settles for the chat, we learn that he has injured his leg, and is hopped on to painkillers to chat about his next release, Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana. “Patralekha was with me in the hospital round the clock,” he says before going into surgery. Excerpts:

You hail from Gurgaon and come from a non-filmy background…
I grew up in a joint family and all the members loved watching films. Slowly, I fell in love with movies. I have grown up watching superstars. I started dreaming of being amongst them, and here I am. My parents always knew I was keen on being a part of the industry. They never expect anything from me. I’m here because of their support.

So, do you consider yourself a star now? Do you think you’ve entered the league of the Khans?
I don’t sit back and think about whether or not I’ve become a star. I always try to channel my energies sincerely towards my work. I’m constantly thinking about my performances, so I can make them work the most, and fit the character to the best of my abilities. I’m happy that I’m being able to at least begin to fulfil my dreams of acting in films. Working in movies has just begun for me, is what I feel. I don’t consider myself a star.

How do you try and make your characters look convincing?
I try to make them believable. The audience always identifies my characters as though they’re one amongst them. I try to give my best. As that particular character, I always like to get into its skin. I’m happy that I’m able to convince audiences; it’s probably because I keep a human connect.

You’ve worked with Hansal Mehta repeatedly. How come?
I still remember how we were on the same page all the time while working on Shahid. Sometimes you meet people and immediately connect with them. Such is the case with Hansal and me. While working on Shahid, we felt keen on telling more such stories.

You shot with Anil Kapoor and will be working with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for Fanney Khan. Tell us more about it.
Working with Anil was amazing; he’s full of energy. Anil also sent me a message when Netwon entered the Oscars race. As far as Aishwarya goes, it will definitely be wonderful to work with her. We have done a few reading sessions, and since I met her, I know her now. She’s very passionate about her work. I’m looking forward to working with her and sharing space on-screen. Everything that’s been mentioned on Twitter about me being excited to work with Ash isn’t a PR strategy (laughs).

Does your girlfriend Patralekha feel insecure about you working with different actresses?
Why would she? She belongs to the same profession and is fully aware of the fact that this is our work. Even so, if I work with actresses, she too works with actors in different films. We both understand our profession well.

Does the adage ‘opposites attract’ hold true for the two of you too?
Patralekha is very stylish. She always loves to be dressed well. On the other hand, I’m but a village lad. I’m not keen on being dressed up.

You’re starring in Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana. What about your own wedding?
As of now, I’m only getting married in movies! (Laughs) I have no plans of tying the knot right now. I have to be focused on my profession.

A lot of stars pursue a side business. Will you do too?
No, I will be working in films, because for me, acting is my passion. I’m sure I don’t need to substitute my acting profession with any other form of business. I will unconditionally work as an actor till I turn 90.

Tags: rajkummar rao, newton, shaadi mein zaroor aana