When Rinku Rajguru settles down for an interview right in front of two life-size posters of the Makarand Mane-directed Marathi movie Kaagar, changes in the 17-year-old are evident. She has lost weight and undergone a makeover. As the female lead, Archi, in the hugely successful Marathi film Sairat (2016), the actor shot to instant stardom when she was just 14. Kaagar, releasing on April 26, is Rajguru’s much-awaited second film in Marathi. It is a love story set against a political backdrop. Rajguru plays Rani, who goes on to become a politician. Excerpts:
Do you feel the weight of expectations for your new release, Kaagar?
I have not worked much in the three years since Sairat. People questioned the long gap. Even though I reprised that role for the Kannada remake, Manasu Mallige (2017), I was not doing anything new. I also worry whether the audience will accept me. But I’m happy that the teaser, song and, now, the trailer of Kaagar have received a warm response. Many people have complimented me on my new look, too.
You have said on several occasions that Sairat was a happy accident. How did you prepare yourself for Kaagar?
Sairat was an accident but the response to it was stupendous. I became very popular after that. So, I decided not to act in just any movie. I wish to do work which also talks about society and politics. I got many offers, but everyone was trying to make another Sairat. I wanted to do something different. Kaagar is entertaining but also touches upon social issues.What appealed to me in Kaagar is that it is a woman-centric story, unlike anything I’ve seen in Marathi. It’s a story set in a village. My character tries to lead women and works for them.
How much do you collaborate with your films’ directors?
Directors instruct us on what to do. But actors have the task of realising their vision. I had to work hard for this role and understand each phase of life that my character goes through. I had to study several women leaders such as Pankaja tai (BJP MLA Pankaja Munde) and Praniti tai (INC MLA Praniti Shinde). I didn’t copy them but tried to understand how they conduct themselves in public life.
How did you deal with the overnight stardom at the age of 14?
I was very young and there used to be a huge crowd wherever I went. I did not like people taking my photos or pulling me. Gradually, I got used to it. As I started mingling with the crowd, I realised that they love me and my character, and I started enjoyed chatting with people. Now, I want to stay in the public domain. There is always a fear that the audience might be disappointed with me. Also, I want to tell people not to give me any special treatment. I am young and would like people to see me as that.
Did you lose weight for Kaagar?
After Sairat, I had gained a lot of weight. I realised that if I want to have a good career, then I should work on myself. After losing weight, I shot for Kaagar in January 2018.
Are you sure about wishing to pursue a career in acting?
I also want to study, along with acting. After my Class XII results are out soon, I will decide what I want to study further. However, now that I have entered this industry, I am enjoying acting in movies. But I’m not interested in doing films in which a hero fights the baddies and a girl sheds tears. I’m keen to act in woman-centric movies. If a film is inspiring, I don’t mind playing even a small part in it.
Have you been trying to work on acting and understanding cinema?
I have started looking at cinema seriously. Earlier, my life was all about studies and spending time with friends. The first movie I watched to study acting was Sadma (1983). I love Sridevi’s spontaneity. I have realised that I can appreciate others’ work, but I can’t copy anyone. I have to retain my spontaneity.
Do you regret not being able to lead the life of a regular youngster?
I did miss that a lot. I have achieved so much at a very young age. All this fame came to me easily. So, now I want to focus on my work. But I do keep meeting my friends.
This article appeared in print with the headline ‘I won’t play the girl who sheds tears’