Exclusive! Rajkummar Rao: I connect with Shah Rukh Khan’s journey | Hindi Movie News


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    Raj Kummar Rao, who is currently shooting in Dehradun for Junglee Pictures’ ‘Badhaai Do’, has an impressive line-up of films with Priyanka Chopra, Janhvi Kapoor, Bhumi Pednekar and Kriti Sanon. In an exclusive interview with ETimes, the actor opens up on why he’s a fan of SRK, working with Priyanka Chopra, and his long standing relationship with filmmaker Hansal Mehta

    You were shooting with Kriti Sanon for Dinesh Vijan’s film in Chandigarh but when she landed in Mumbai she tested COVID positive…

    Yes, we all had to take a COVID test immediately after. Luckily, I tested negative. I felt bad for Kriti but she is fine now and has also started shooting in Jaisalmer. I urge people who have started going out to be very careful and wear masks till a vaccine is made available.

    Were you disappointed by the lukewarm response that ‘Chhalaang’ garnered?
    I got very good feedback for ‘Chhalaang’ and was happy with the response. We made it with lots of love. At the end of the day, it was Hansal sir at the helm, and with Luv Ranjan coming in as a producer, it was a great collaboration.

    Do you think films will be made on a constrained budget due to the pandemic-induced financial crisis?

    I am not the right person to answer this question; you should ask a producer. As far as I am concerned, the story matters to me, not the budget. I believe that films that deserve a big budget usually get it.

    You were one of the first film actors to venture into the digital space with Ekta Kapoor’s ‘Bose: Dead/Alive’ back in 2017. Does the manner of your prep work change when it is not a film?

    As an actor it doesn’t matter if you’re a part of a series or a feature film, the process remains the same. In the long format you get to live the part for a much longer time and you have the opportunity to get into the details of your character’s life on screen. Of course, you also have to commit more time to it. But for me it doesn’t matter if it’s for a digital platform or theatres, I love doing what I do and feel blessed that God has been kind to me.

    Are you going to act in more web shows? You must have been offered some…

    If the right script and role excites me as an actor, why not? A lot of good content is being made-‘Scam 1992’, ‘Paatal Lok’, ‘Sacred Games’, ‘Mirzapur’….

    What’s the process like when you act in a film that has been adapted from a book?

    So far, I have done two films which are based on books-‘The White Tiger’ based on Arvind Adiga’s book by the same name (TWT) and ‘Kai Po Che’, which was an adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s Three Mistakes Of My Life, and in both cases, I had already read the book when a film on them was not even on the cards. I genuinely loved reading TWT when it came out in 2008, and when 11 years hence Ramin Bahrani (director) told me he wanted me to play Ashok, I was super thrilled. TWT’s story is universal and people will relate to the characters. I knew the story pretty well, so my reference was always the script once I was signed for the film. It’s very detailed and all the characters are very well etched out. I have my own process of building a character which I apply in most of my films.

    And how was it working with Priyanka Chopra?

    Priyanka is phenomenal. She is a very chilled out person, a global star who never made us feel that she was the biggest star on our set. I have always been a big admirer of her work. It’s fun to work with great actors as it enhances your performance and Priyanka did just that to me. She even helped me out in my scenes. I look forward to working with her more and hopefully, it will happen soon.

    You have attempted a lot of genres in your career. Which one is the most challenging?

    I can’t pick one. I enjoy all genres and just love acting. In fact, I try my best to explore different characters. You will see me in very different roles in my entire upcoming line up-‘Roohi Afza’ with Janhvi Kapoor, ‘The White Tiger’ with Priyanka Chopra which is going to be my next release, Dinesh Vijan’s film with Kriti Sanon which is yet untitled, and Junglee Pictures’ ‘Badhaai Do’ with Bhumi Pednekar.

    Some of your most memorable characters have been from Hansal Mehta’s films. How different is it working with him than anyone else?

    My relationship with Hansal sir is more personal now than professional. He is family to me–a father and a friend. We share a lovely understanding and don’t need too many words to communicate with each other when we are on the sets. We believe in a certain kind of storytelling and as an actor he gives me freedom to explore characters, which I cherish. He is one of the finest directors we have in the country.

    Is there a flipside to working with the same director multiple times?

    It’s always a challenge working with Hansal sir because he has seen me playing so many characters and it becomes my duty to do it differently every time so that it doesn’t remind him of my previous performances.

    You have often confessed that you are a Shah Rukh Khan fan. What about him inspires you?

    I am an actor because of Shah Rukh sir. Seeing him on screen made me want to join the industry because I could connect with his journey. He taught me that if you have a dream and if you’re ready to work hard, the dream will come true. We all know how charming he is and how he makes everyone feel special. There is so much to learn from him be it on-screen or off it.

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