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.