Mumbai: Rajkummar Rao is one of the most talented stars working in the Hindi film industry today. The actor, who began his career with clutter-breaking films such as 'Love Sex Aur Dhoka' and 'Ragini MMS', has never been reluctant about experimenting with his roles in the films. After giving a number of critically and commercially successful films, the National Award-winning actor is all set to light up big screens this Diwali with 'Made In China', a comedy film directed by Mikhil Musale. The film is tells a fascinating story of budding Gujarati businessman named Raghu Mehta (Rajkummar Rao), and his difficult journey to success.
In an exclusive chat with Deccan Chronicle, Rajkummar talked about his wacky character in the film, his love for acting, pressure on him post the success of 'Stree' and why films based on small-town stories are doing so well of late.
You know, your director Mikhil Musale had said that you inspire him a lot. That's really the best compliment for an actor to get from his director...
Oh really? Well, he is too kind but I don't know why he said that. In fact, he inspired all of us on sets with his passion, his vision and the kind of story he has created for ‘Made In China’. So yes, he is an inspiration for all of us.
Post the success of 'Stree', you have a new found image among the masses. Is 'Made In China' an extension of that?
I hope so, because this film is definitely in the leagues of 'Stree'. That film was very entertaining comedy, but it also had undercurrent social message and ‘Made In China’ is just like that. It tells an aspirational story of struggling Guajarati businessman, but there is a lot of humour, a lot situational comedy in it. I am sure it will make people laugh and also make them think about their dreams.
You gained weight for this role and also donning unibrow. This looks like your wackiest character yet with all that quirky get up.
It is definitely one of my wackiest characters, if not the wacky character. I like giving something unique to my characters - be it a physical change or anything. In this case, we added unibrow. I went to Ahmadabad to learn the language and pick up that ascent. I saw lot of boys there who have very lean bodies but somehow they have this little tummy coming out. I thought that was very fascinating. Probably it's due to Gujarati food, I think!
From the trailer it seemed like this film tries to break taboo around sex in Indian society. Is it right?
This film is not about sex and sexual problems only; it is way more than that. Like I said, it shows this very exciting journey of a failed businessman who ultimately goes to China to explore opportunities and how he meets different people along the way.
What is the most gratifying aspect of doing a mass entertainer like this?
Well, I just love playing different characters; it is a very joyful experience for me. In this film, I got a chance to portray authentic Guajarati man. To play as many different characters - who probably look different, and sound different - gives me an immense high and that's how I like to surprise my audience as well.
Your contemporary Ayushmann Khurrana had once said that the stories from Indian heartland excite him the most. Is it true with you as well?
The kind of films we are currently making, especially in Hindi film industry, are mostly coming from small-town India. The major chuck of our country's population lives in that part and that’s why they could relate themselves to these films. It is also a major reason why these films are doing so well. In my case, there have been so many stories which are from small town and people are very familiar with the milieu that makers are creating. It is just a phase that Indian cinema is going through where character stories are more rooted, just like the kind of cinema that Hrishikesh Mukherjee used to make. I think that kind of cinema is coming back now.
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A big Diwali release is usually a mark for actor's super stardom. Doesn't it feel good?
Trust me it was never my decision. It was entirely our makers' call. I am sure they think this the best time for our film to come out. I am happy that we made a very good film and it is finally releasing. I don't think it has anything to do with my stardom (smiles).
How do you deal with constant pressure especially when you have such a big release ahead of you...
You have to learn to live with the pressure, because nothing is in your control. There's no guarantee of hits or flops and that way every Friday surprises you. None of us expected that 'Stree' would turn into such a blockbuster, but it did. One can only hope for good and put all your positive energy into making a film. With ‘Made In China’, what was written on paper has come out even better on screen and I am very happy about that.
'Made In China' also features Mouni Roy, Sumit Vyas, Paresh Rawal, Gajraj Rao and Boman Irani in pivotal roles. It is set to release on October 25, on the occasion of Diwali.