Interview By: DRISHTI PANDEY

Rajkumar Rao  is phenomenal  when we talk  about his body  of work. He  no more surprises us when  it comes to the  enormous talent  the actor  has displayed in  his career. We  had a quick  chat with him  for his recent  release Fanney  Khan and more.  Excerpts :

Tell us something about ‘Fanney Khan’ you liked  the most?

I really got excited about the script when I read it,  it’s a great story and director Atul and writer Hussain  have done a wonderful job by adapting the Belgium  film which talks about aspiration, body shaming and  dreams; so I could totally connect to all aspects of  the story. Also, to work with Anil sir and Ash was  amazing.

Omerta’ was some serious work, was it a conscious  decision to do this light- hearted film immediately  after it?

 Not really, I don’t really plan my career that way,  I just go with my gut feelings, if there’s a script that  excites me and I really want to be part of it, then I  just say a yes to it. I don’t compartmentalize films  that I am doing a film because it’s a Hindi film and  I should probably do two commercials  films; I just see a film  as a film.

Dream never dies’, is what the  film talks about, what was that  you dream of and never let it die? 

Exactly! Dream never dies. I  saw a dream as a kid that I want  to be a film actor and it took  me couple of years to fulfill that  dream but my dream never died  and here I am living it.

How was it working with actors  who are as invested as you  are in the scene? 

It’s simply awesome. When  you have great co-actors with  you, it makes your job very easy  and both Anil sir and Ash are very committed towards  what they do. Very disciplined, very focused  and Anil sir, we all know about his infectious energy  which reflects on his work and I think it’s one of  his fi nest performances that we’ll see and working  with Ash was very fascinating. I’ve been seeing her  since ‘Taal’ and ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ and now  actually to share screen space with her was a great  moment for me.

Which fi lm has been the most satisfying and at  the same time challenging for you? 

Satisfying none! Challenging I would say ‘trapped’,  ‘Bose’, ‘Omerta, ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi ’.

Why not satisfied with any of your films? 

As an actor you can’t really feel satisfied with your  work; now when I look back and see my work in my  earlier films, I feel that I could have done so much  better. So yeah, that satisfaction, that hunger, never  dies, so you always feel that you could have done it  better.

How do you helm these different spaces, moving  from ‘Trapped’ to completely different space in ‘Bareilly  Ki Barfi ’? Does that raise questions from people  because they seem from two different worlds? 

Well yes, a lot of people tell me this. That suddenly  you’ve started doing films like ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi ’ and  ‘Behen Hogi Teri’. Are you trying to venture into commercial  cinema now? And I tell them it’s not the first  time I’ve been offered such scripts. I’ve been offered  commercial films since ‘Love Sex Aur Dhokha’ days.  But somehow, I didn’t feel excited enough to do  those films. They didn’t match my sensibilities. ‘Bareilly  Ki Barfi ’ was a film which is very content driven.  It talked about characters and about small towns.  And that’s very much my space. Suddenly, it’s not  like I’m beating up twenty people on-screen. As an  actor, I’m still trying to portray my character honestly.  I hope people will see it from that perspective as  well and not just as me trying to  jump into the commercial world.

What kind of films attract you  as an actor? 

My first priority is story; the  story should attract me as an actor,  there has to be something in  the story to say yes to it. As an  actor we give two-three months  to a film so it won’t matter if you  don’t feel excited about it. For  me the most important part for  any film is the content and what  it is trying to say and how it is  saying it.

What is the method that you  follow as an actor, how do you  prepare for a role?  Every character has its own demands like it depends  if I do a film like ‘Trapped’ or an ‘Omerta’, or a  ‘Bose’, it’s physically and mentally very challenging  for me because it demands for me to be in a particular  shape physically. And mentally also I have  to cut out from everything and be in particular mind  frame but when I do a light-hearted film like ‘Bareilly  Ki Barfi ’ or ‘Stree’ it’s not that challenging mentally  and physically but it has its own challenges , like you  have to have the timing right , have to keep that energy  alive.

What are your expectations from this film? 

Like every film, I want it to do well!

In terms of box-office collections? 

I never think of all that.

Your last words on ‘Fanney Khan’?

 I am very happy and excited for the film. It’s Atul’s  first film but you won’t feel this is a work of a first time  director, I think he has made a very matured film, a  very light hearted, entertaining and at the same time,  as I said talking about some important issues.

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