Rajkummar Rao has had a dream run at the box office. Be it Trapped, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Newton or his web series Bose: Dead Or Alive, he has increasingly proved his mettle. Even as Newton failed to make it to the Oscars list, Rajkummar chooses to look at the bright side, that his film continues to gain recognition. In a candid chat, we get him to talk about Newton, and his upcoming releases…
How is your ankle healing after the recent fracture?
It’s 95 per cent healed. I am walking. I hope to run soon.
Would you say 2017 was your most exceptional year so far?
It was exceptional because of the number of releases. The audiences accepted me in most of them. Most of my releases this year were box office successes.
Just hard work isn’t enough. Your films have to succeed as well. Then there was the web series on Subhas Chandra Bose which was streamed and widely viewed, maybe more than any of my big-screen films. So I am very grateful for all these filmmakers who thought of me for all these parts… So yeah, I think 2017 was an exceptional year for me. I hope 2018 remains as exciting.
Which would you consider the high points of 2017?
There were many highs during the year. But I’d say Bareilly Ki Barfi because my character was appreciated by the masses. No one thought I would be able to do a character like Vidrohi in a hardcore commercial film.
Now that people have seen me playing such a fun part with so much pleasure, they can offer me more light-hearted entertainers. Not that I don’t enjoy playing roles with political ramifications.
Yes, Newton. I got widespread appreciation in a solo lead after a long time. The kind of success Newton saw was immense. The kind of numbers that Newton did was totally unexpected. I, of course, knew we were doing a very special film. The fact that it was such a game-changer was a welcome bonus.
You must be disappointed that it didn’t make it into the Oscar shortlist…
We made a wonderful film. We are super proud of it. We got worldwide appreciation for it.
What are your comments on Padmavati being racked by protests? Do you foresee similar roadblocks for your film Omerta, where you play terror mastermind Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh?
I am waiting to see Padmavati like everyone else. As for the trouble for Omerta, we will cross the bridge when we come to it. Like Newton, Omerta has received widespread appreciation all across the world. We are hoping for a quick release in India and very excited about it.
What’ 2018 like for Rajkummar Rao?
I have an exciting line-up in 2018. There is Hansal Mehta’s Omerta to begin with, followed by Fanney Khan with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anil Kapoor and Ek Ladki Ko Dekha with Sonam Kapoor which is produced by Vinod Chopra. So I think there will be a lot of shooting and a lot of releases. What more could an actor ask for? 2017 was the best year of my life. I hope 2018 gets even better.