‘My wife has given me 15 days to enjoy all the limelight’
Actor Gajraj Rao feels he’s living a dream. Ever since director Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s Badhaai Ho hit the screens a couple of weeks ago, the actor has been inundated with praise. In the film, he portrays the middleclass government employee Jeetender Kaushik, who finds himself about to become a new dad — a bit of a shock, since he already has adult children. Neena Gupta plays his wife, pregnant at a late age.
The comedic family drama has become a huge box-office hit — raking in more than four times its modest budget — and Gajraj is now a face that just about everyone recognises whenever he’s out in public. People come up to him to say how much they like his work.
“The story of the film and what we finally made out of it was obviously good,” says the actor. “But I never expected this kind of a response. People are walking up to me, taking my name, and sharing the particular scenes of mine that they liked in the film. The one person who’s keeping me grounded [amid all this], is my wife (Sanjana Rao). She has given me 15 days to enjoy all the limelight and then asked me to move on soon after.”
Asked what the best compliment has been so far, Rao says that it came from a friend’s friend, who lives in Chicago, US: “He sent me a screenshot of a message, from his US-based (female) friend. She wrote that the way Jeetender supports (his wife) Priyamvada and looks at her, she’d want her husband to look at her the same way.”
The actor, who has been in Black Friday (2007), Aamir (2008), and Talvar (2015), also shares that he’s now getting a lot of film offers, “but maza nahi aa raha hai”, and so he’s “ready to wait for the right kind of films” to come his way.
Actor Gajraj Rao; and (inset) a still from Badhaai Ho, with Neena Gupta