Rajkummar Rao likes nothing better than to surrender to each of the roles that he plays. Lately he was fully immersed in his part as a man trapped in a high-rise building in Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped. Rao took some drastic steps to get into character. He tells Subhash K Jha about his dangerous moves to get into character.
I believe you underwent gruelling preparations to play your character in Trapped?
The whole shoot was a very organic process. Apart from working on the character’s background and his relationship with other people, I decided to live every moment as it came.
It is the role of man who has to survive without food or water for days?
One really can't prepare how one will react if one is living without food and water for days. Fortunately we were shooting in sequence, I stopped eating and drinking after day 1 of him being trapped and post that I was just reacting in the moment and was trying to live each moment truthfully.
What did Trapped teach you about solitude and seclusion?
Let's be more compassionate and emotional towards other people. During the course of our shoot, I realised that for our body, having water is more important than having food. Of course both are important but to survive without water is very scary. It's very scary to be aloof be it on a mental level or physical.
Is it worthwhile to take health risks for a role?
As an actor I love challenging myself. Of course it's not right to push yourself outside your limits. It should only be done under proper guidance. If a character demands something from me as an actor I would love to go to an extreme to fulfil that demand. It's my job and responsibility as an actor.
You've just returned from Berlin. Tell me about the experience?
Berlin was quite overwhelming. The response that we got for our film Newton was very heartfelt. We had 4-5 shows and all the shows were completely packed and such diverse, international audience who thoroughly enjoyed the film. On top of that we won the CICAE Art Cinema Award at Berlinale 2017where it made its world premiere. I couldn't have asked for more.
What is it like working with Nargis Fakhri in 5 Weddings? Aren't the two of you like chalk and cheese?
Nargis is one of the most funny and full of life girl I've ever met in my life. She is just so real. We had cracker of a time shooting for 5 Weddings.
What are the films you’ve lined up for 2017?
After Trapped, there will be Behen Hogi Teri, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Omerta, Newton, Love Sonia and 5 Weddings. I'm just trying to do every film with the same honesty and passion. I know it's just a humble beginning. There is a long way to go. I'm here for a marathon not for a sprint race.
Is this a good time to be an actor in Indian cinema?
It's a very exciting time to be a working actor in our film industry. People are experimenting with the way our stories are told. Thanks to this generation of filmmakers. They are carving a niche for themselves and writing such content-driven films and characters.
Your opinion on the censor board?
I really hope that they start certifying the films instead of censoring them.