National-award-winning actor Rajkummar Rao found it emotionally draining to play the role of a migrant worker in Hansal Mehta’s ‘CityLights’.
The 30-year-old actor says the film has opened his eyes towards the plight of poor migrants who live on the margins in big cities likes Mumbai and Delhi.
‘CityLights’, directed by Mehta and produced by Mahesh Bhatt’s Vishesh Films is a story about a poor family from Rajasthan which migrates to Mumbai for a better life. The film releases this Friday.
“The movie and its characters had a huge impact on me. People like them exist all around us but we don’t notice them. Now, I have started noticing such people on roads. I can’t help much but I meet and tell them that everything will be fine,” said Rajkummar, adding that the film drained him emotionally.
It is the second time that Rajkummar and Mehta have teamed up after their award-winning movie ‘Shahid’. ‘CityLights’ is the official adaptation of British-Filipino film ‘Metro Manila’.
Rajkummar, who garnered widespread praise for his role in ‘Shahid, considers ‘CityLights’ as his toughest role so far.
“It was one of the most challenging roles for me. My character’s pain and his battle was difficult to bring on screen,” he told reporters here.
His co-star and girlfriend Patralekha, who is making her debut with the film, said the movie has made her more grateful in life.
“I am more grateful and thankful now. I used to crave for the smallest of things, like a a new bag or a dress, but the movie changed that,” she said.
Rajkummar and Patralekha, who play a married couple from Rajasthan, said they stayed in the state for three weeks with local families to get into the skin of their characters and adapt the dialect.
“We lived with the families in Rajasthan which helped us in portraying our characters well. This was our workshop,” the actress said.
Rajukummar, who hails from Gurgaon and came to the Millennium City to realise his dream of becoming an actor, said he could relate to his character’s initial journey but calls his own struggle a lot easier than his character.
“The only similarity between me and my character are the dreams we both had when we came to the city but his journey was far more difficult and challenging,” Rajkummar said.
On being asked what kind of roles, Patralekha would like to do next, she said, “Currently, I have no offers. I would like to be a part of good films, and aspire to work with great actors.”
She said that after Rajkummar, her favourite actor in the industry is Ranbir and she would love to work with him.