At a time when nepotism in Bollywood is in focus and actors are actively voicing their opinion on the plight of outsiders in filmdom, National Award winning actor Rajkummar Rao says he was well-prepared to face the struggle when he entered the movie industry.
“After finishing my study in Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), I was mentally prepared for the struggle in the film industry. I knew that I was just one of those actors who came to Mumbai to achieve their dreams. I knew that nobody would welcome me with open arms and auditions were the only way to get a chance. So, I struggled and I have no complains about that process,” Rajkummar told IANS here.
Born and brought up in Gurugram in Haryana, Rajkummar went to FTII in Pune. He went through a phase where he went door-to-door, giving auditions for roles to get a chance to work in films, but didn’t get selected. “There was a phase where nothing was going right and the thought crossed my mind that what is going to happen. Since I had no Plan B, I was sure from the beginning that I love acting and this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, so I had to be ready to struggle,” said Rajkummar.
Starting his career with Dibakar Banerjee’s Love Sex Aur Dhokha, followed by films like Shaitan, Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2, Kai Po Che!, Shahid, Queen, CityLights and Aligarh — Rajkummar has now carved his niche in the film industry as an actor of substance. Looking at his filmography, it is interesting to observe how he has always delivered most of his successful performances with filmmakers known for their content-driven films. Whether it is Hansal Mehta, Bejoy Nambiar or his latest film “Trapped” with Vikramaditya Motwane.
So was it a conscious choice or did his first film define his fate to become a poster boy of independent films? “None of them really,” said Rajkummar. “I was fortunate to work with some of the talented filmmakers of our industry. In addition, one film leads to another. As a newcomer, I explored those opportunities.”
He added: “Though I have played small parts in great films, worked with Aamir Khan in ‘Talaash’, I took them as a good fortune to be a part of good stories. At the end of the day, if the story is good, length of the story does not matter. And who would miss out the chance to work with Aamir Khan at the beginning of one’s acting career?” His latest release Trapped is about how a young man gets stuck in a high-rise building for days and his struggle for survival.