VIEW FROM THE TOP

Rao talks about on his choice of films and star­dom

Deccan Chronicle - - Sunday Chronicle - UMA RAMASUBRAMANIAN

IT JUST MAKES YOUR LIFE EVEN MORE BEAU­TI­FUL WHEN YOU HAVE A COM­PAN­ION LIKE PATRALEKHA. SHE KEEPS ME GROUNDED AND IT FEELS GREAT TO BE LOVED. LOVE IS A BEAU­TI­FUL EMO­TION, IT MAKES YOU STRONGER

Ac­tor Rajkummar Rao is unas­sum­ing when he re­marks ‘No one can re­place the Khans’ in a re­cent in­ter­view. Yet his steady rise to the top has ush­ered in a new world or­der in Bol­ly­wood that has top­pled all other act­ing records, in­clud­ing those made by the in­domitable Khans. The self-ef­fi­ca­cious star might only be seven years old in his Bol­ly­wood ca­reer but has man­aged to make each year count with a flurry of back-to-back sleeper hits. In a re­cent in­ter­view with the ac­tor, we talk to him about his lat­est re­lease Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, the choice of his films, money mat­ters and his lady love, Patralekha.

EX­CERPTS FROM THE IN­TER­VIEW:

Q THE FILM EK LADKI KO DEKHA TOH AISA LAGA IS FO­CUSSED ON THE RE­LA­TION­SHIP BE­TWEEN A FA­THER AND DAUGH­TER, YET YOU LEAVE AN IM­PACT AT PAR WITH THE CEN­TRAL CHAR­AC­TERS. HOW DO YOU MAN­AGE TO STAND OUT IN EV­ERY FILM?

I was very clear about my char­ac­ter and I had a great team. When I started work­ing with them I knew I was get­ting into a safe ter­ri­tory. I was happy shoot­ing and happy with the way it has been re­ceived. The film is about Sonam but de­spite that, it’s up to the ac­tors how they man­age to stand out. I did my best and I am glad peo­ple are ap­pre­ci­at­ing it.

Q ONCE YOU START DE­LIV­ER­ING HITS, YOU FORM A FRIEND CIR­CLE OR GET AF­FIL­I­ATED WITH A ‘CAMP’ IN BOL­LY­WOOD, AFTER WHICH YOU ARE OF­TEN EX­PECTED TO DO FILMS FOR THE SAKE OF FRIEND­SHIP...HAVE YOU EVER DONE THAT?

I don’t think I will ever do that. I have never done films for the sake of friend­ships. For me, the driv­ing force to do a film has al­ways been a good script. Only 10 per cent of my films in my fil­mog­ra­phy ca­reer might be films that I am not too proud of, but the rest of them I am re­ally proud of.

Q WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM YOUR FAIL­URES?

You just learn from your mis­takes. Few films have failed but many times, my gut feel­ing has told me to not be a part of cer­tain films and those have been the great­est lessons... lis­ten­ing to your heart and go­ing by your gut feel­ing.

Q YOU COME FROM A SMALL TOWN; DOES YOUR BACK­GROUND HELP YOU SHAPE YOUR CHAR­AC­TERS DIF­FER­ENTLY EACH TIME?

Yes, I am from a small town and it does help me shape my char­ac­ters dif­fer­ently, but I don’t un­der­stand what the au­di­ences want and that’s the beauty of film­mak­ing. You can’t fore­see things, you can’t pre­dict things. No­body knows what’s go­ing to hap­pen on Fri­day. So I try and bring some­thing new to each of my char­ac­ters, which is not part of the script. I try and learn new lan­guages for my char­ac­ters. All these things come from meet­ing peo­ple and I also ob­serve peo­ple. I pick up things from there.

Q NOW THAT YOU ARE A STAR, HOW HAS LIFE CHANGED? WHAT COMES WITH STAR­DOM?

With star­dom, you get busier and you don’t get more time for your­self. I still do things that I used to do ear­lier. I want to lead a nor­mal life. I still go for a walk to Juhu, but yes now peo­ple know me so I have to give self­ies and that’s the only thing that has changed. And I should not com­plain about any­thing as I have earned this for my­self.

Q SO HOW GOOD ARE YOU AT NE­GO­TI­AT­ING WITH PRO­DUC­ERS?

I suck at dis­cussing money, so I have a team for that. I have never thought about money be­cause I am fo­cussed on work­ing. So I have a great team who takes care of that depart­ment. Also, money mat­ters only to some ex­tent; it should be a re­spect­ful amount. But apart from that, I have never done films for money.

Q THE NEW AGE CIN­EMA HAS RUB­BISHED THE PHE­NOM­ENA OF STAR­DOM. ART PRE­CEDES THE ARTIST TO­DAY... DON’T YOU THINK?

Sto­ries are the new stars and that’s how I see it. There is noth­ing big­ger than a story and we are all func­tion­ing to­wards telling the story in the best way pos­si­ble.

Q DO YOU CON­SIDER THE DIG­I­TAL SPACE AS A THREAT TO THE BIG SCREEN?

Dig­i­tal cin­ema is not a threat, it’s a par­al­lel in­dus­try, which is great. I am proud of the work that’s hap­pen­ing in the dig­i­tal space. But the big screen ex­pe­ri­ence will al­ways be there. Your ex­pe­ri­ence of watch­ing cin­ema with your loved ones will al­ways be there.

Q PATRALEKHA RE­CENTLY POSTED A MES­SAGE ON SO­CIAL ME­DIA AND IT’S TREND­ING...HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE A COM­PAN­ION LIKE HER?

It just makes your life even more beau­ti­ful when you have a com­pan­ion like Patralekha. She keeps me grounded and it feels great to be loved. Love is a beau­ti­ful emo­tion, it makes you stronger.

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