Interview By: SAGAR DESAI
Rajkummar Rao who is ready with his another release STREE on his birthday 31st August2018, talks to us about what success means to him, STREE, and his shift from parallel cinema to mainstream cinemas and many more in a candid chat with us.
How are you taking the stardom that you are receiving now?
I don’t know, I am happy of course about the fact that people recognize me now, earlier that you to say that can I meet this guy who is from QUEEN or from KAI PO CHE, now they know me by my name. So it makes me happy but yeah that’s about it, it doesn’t do anything to me, it doesn’t add any pressure, it doesn’t change my performance.
STREE is releasing on your birthday 31st August 2018, so is this the best birthday gift for you?
Exactly, this is the best birthday gift. Since childhood I had a dream to become an actor of Indian Film Industry and it is fulfilled now and now I got a gift after eight years that my film STREE is releasing on my birthday 31 August 2018.
What makes you so grounded, after becoming such a big star?
I don’t think so that I have done anything to fly, I am just an actor and I wanted to be an actor just for myself because I generally love what I do and I am still doing it for myself and maybe my upbringing probably, I don’t feel any reason to be proud of anything, just how others are doing their job, I am doing my job.
What is success for you?
Success for me I think is to say yes when you want to and say no when you want to is success to me.
So how does it feel to now be the busiest leading man? How do to manage it?
Yeah I have been very busy lately. Managing it is practically possible, as long as it’s possible it’s not really affecting my health, I am all good with it.
Last year five movie of your got released, so is this year you are going to break your record?
Yeah last year it was five, but no this year I think STREE is the last film of mine to release this year, as EK LADKI KO DEKHA shifted next year, so next year probably again another three- four but now I am gonna slow down now.
Now a day’s people have this mindset that Rajkummar Rao is doing a film so it will be a good film, so do you have such kind of pressure when you select a film now?
As of now I am not under that pressure because I listen to my heart, I do what I feel excited about because you never know what will click with the audience but I want people to recognize my work, like my work, that should see the sincerity in my work that’s the only thing I can control and contribute to a film. I chose a film, I read the script and if I like it I become a part of it.
As an outsider in the industry were you advised initially to do something extra to be a part of the circle or even you had that complex of an outsider?
A couple of people told me when I was looking for work for two years, when I had nothing, couple of people told me you should go here, do parties, do some networking and this and that but I thought I would rather act. So yeah this is something that I could never do, I still can’t do and I am not good in networking. It doesn’t come naturally to me.
Your said once that your shift from parallel cinema to mainstream cinema has been organic, so is that because now writers are combining parallel cinema and mainstream cinema together?
Definitely, I think the lines are definitely more blurring now, like for me NEWTON is commercial film, it entertaining, it tells you something important. So I chose film thinking about the story not about thinking how many songs are there, I think commercial films is more about songs like if you put five extra songs in the film I would probably become commercial that’s how I see. The mainstream movie that I have done which has released now and will be releasing later, I am doing because I felt connected with the story.
This is your first film with Shraddha Kapoor, so how was the experience?
Fascinating, she is wonderful; Shraddha is such a fun girl, very chilled out, she is lovely to work with, very hardworking and specially in STREE is think it’s a very different route that she has taken with the kind of performance that she has given.
Do you see yourself producing or directing movies in future?
Directing I am not sure but yeah I might produce one day. When I think I have enough things to produce a film I might. I might tell some stories that I want to tell.
Which movie of your was a game changer for you?
I won’t say one film, I think LSD definitely because I started from there, SHAHID in which I lot of people recognized me, film fare award and National Award and BARIELY KI BARFI for sure through which people started taking me as an entertainer as well and probably thought he cannot just work in intense, serous drama but can make us laugh as well.
How much fun you had while shooting the film?
A lot, they all are very sweet. We had so much of fun making this film, we were like family, I met them today after a long time and the way we hugged each other, the warmth that we share it’s something that cannot be defined, it’s just that you have it, you have that connect with some people.
Would you be open to do a complete masala entertaining film, say like a Rohit Shetty film or similar?
Yeah why not, of course, if you guys would want to watch me doing that, then I will do.
This year many different genre films have worked, right from the beginning of the year, so do you make an effort to watch these films?
I do, if I really like there are some films that I definitely try to watch. We saw OCTOBER together in Bhopal, all of us saw RAAZI, I saw SANJU and I saw PADMAAVAT.
You are working with Kangana after a gap of five years, so how it has been, how has she changed?
When we did QUEEN we didn’t know each other so well, but now I know her pretty well. We are friends now, so I think that comfort factor is much better now and we understand each other really well but I think that passion from acting from her side is also still the same. She is still like somebody who will deliver her best and will do anything to make a scene work.
You are also working with her in IMLI, so when is that going to start?
Probably by this year’s end
Seeing the trailer we feel that it’s a horror comedy but the horror parts are also looking really scary just like a horror film?
The scary parts are very scary. Yes definitely I think that is what probably makes STREE a unique film.
All your character is really versatile, so what attracts you towards the character?
It’s a very impulsive decision but I honestly go with my gut feeling, I read something and I feel some scope in it, sometimes you like the story, sometimes you like somebody that you want to work with. With STREE is loved the story, I love my part in it, Vicky who is born and raised in this small town; he is a uniquely talented ladies tailor. So it sounded so much fun.
You have work with so many actors and directors, is there someone whom you still want to work with and have not got a chance to work with?
There are so many, I am very lucky that I got a chance to work with brilliant filmmakers but sills there are many and they know who they are, I don’t need to name them. I really want to work with all of them.
Script selection might have become very tough for you; do you miss out on any that really requires your attention?
No I don’t miss out because I think I am accessible, people can contact me through calls, emails and etc. I am not missing out on anything but yeah of course the options are much more now. So it’s a task to chose what you believe in, sometimes you have to say no also because of time constrain. So I think that process has begun now.
How has things changed for you from the days when you were shooting SHAHID and now?
SHAHID we made in 65 lakhs, so definitely things have changed. The whole film budget of SHAHID was 65 lakhs. Personally I am still the same, honestly as an actor, as a person I am still the same. Probably I look slightly better now.
Is there a competition between the actor Rajkummar and the star Rajkummar Rao?
It’s very simple, I get a film, I work on it, I do my homework, so I don’t know how the star Rajkummar feels. I am just an actor who is doing what I love the most. It’s up to you how you want to be, I want to talk to people, I want to be a people’s person because I love chatting with people, I want to have fun in my life. I do that also because I am prorating this people on screen. If I won’t interact with them how will I understand how to portray them.