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Rajkummar Rao
Also known as: Rajkumar Yadav
Actor • Special Appearances
Born: August 31, 1984 in Gurgaon, Haryana, India
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About
Playing a 324-year-old man in the 2017 romantic drama Raabta or a lawyer and human rights activist in Shahid, Rajkummar Rao has proved to be one of the most bankable actors in his generation of actors. Despite playing supporting roles in movies Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 2, Talaash, and Aligarh, the National Film Award-winning actor has always made an impact on screen with his performance.

Early Life
Born in Gurgaon, Delhi on the 31st of August, 1984, Rajkummar belongs to an Ahir family, who go by the last name of Yadav. He studied at the Blue Bells Model School in Gurgaon, where he started taking part in school plays, sparking his interest in acting. He then graduated from Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College, Delhi University with a degree in arts. While studying in college, he was performing theatre with Kshitij Repertory, and Shri Ram Centre in Delhi. Upon graduating, Rajkummar enrolled himself at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune to pursue his career in acting and movies.

Personal Life
Rajkummar met Anwita Paul, a fellow FTTI graduate and Bollywood actress who is known by her stage name, Patralekha, while filming his debut movie Love Sex Aur Dhokha in 2010. The two started dating in 2012 and have been dating since.

Movie Career
A polished theater artist, Rajkummar stepped into the movie business with Dibakar Banerjee`s experimental anthology Love Sex Aur Dhokha in 2010. In the three-part anthology, Rajkummar appeared in the one titled `Paap Ki Dukaan` paired opposite Neha Chauhan. The movie opened to critical acclaim and was declared a commercial success. Next, he was seen inEkta Kapoor`s 2011 found footage horror Ragini MMS. The movie opened to mixed yet mainly positive reviews and was a box office hit. He then went on to appear in small yet significant roles in movies such as the 2011 crime-thriller Shaitan, Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 2, Chittagong and the psychological horror thriller Talaash: The Answer Lies Within before getting his big break.

In 2013, Rajkummar finally was seen playing one of the lead actors in Abhishek Kapoor`s 2013 buddy drama Kai Po Che!, which co-starred Amit Sadh and Sushant Singh Rajput. His portrayal of Govind in the movie won him immense praise and he also won a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. Following the commercial and critical success of his previous project, Rajkummar was seen playing the titular role in Hansal Mehta`s biographical film Shahid, which not only won Rajkummar a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor but also a National Film Award for Best Actor.

He then appeared in Vikas Bahl`s comedy drama Queen, which starredKangana Ranaut in the lead. The movie went on to become one of the most successful Bollywood movies of the year. Reuniting with Hansal Mehta, Rajkummar was paired opposite his girlfriend Patralekha in her debut movie Citylights. The hard-hitting movie, although received to a low box office opening, went on to become a commercial success and was also acclaimed critically.

Next, Rajkummar was cast alongside Manoj Bajpayee in the biographical film Aligarh, reuniting with Hansal Mehta for the third time. The movie premiered at the 20th Busan International Film Festival, where it received a standing ovation.

The year 2017 is considered one of the landmark years in Rajkumar`s career. The actor was first seen in Vikramaditya Motwane`s Trapped. His performance in the survival drama film was unanimously praised by all. In Raabta, he appears in a cameo role, where he played the role of a 324-year-old man. His next outing was a romantic drama Behen Hogi Teri alongside Shruti Haasan. Though the film tanked, he left an impact in this forgettable potboiler. After that, he was seen in Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari`s romantic comedy Bareilly Ki Barfi. The film was a sleeper hit and completed a glorious 50 days run in some screens all over India. Rajkumar also won the Best Supporting Actor Filmfare award for the same. His next, Newton was selected as the Indian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards. The film also won several other accolades, including National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi. His last outing of the year Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana doomed at the box office.

The first half of 2018 saw him appearing in Omerta, a biographical crime drama based on the life of terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. The film opened to high critical acclaim, but financially, it didn`t do well. His other notable projects include Fanney Khan, Stree, Love Sonia, 5 Weddings, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga and Judgemental Hai Kya and Made In China. His 2020 releases include Shimla Mirchi, directed by Ramesh Sippy and Chhalaang. In 2021, Rao made his comeback in the comedy-horror genre with Roohi.
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Did You Know? (21)

  • Rajkummar Rao was the one who came up with the title Stree when he was narrated the script of the film.
  • For his role as a tailor in the film Stree, Rajkummar Rao underwent a month-long training to learn stitching. He also had a tailor guiding him on the sets in Chanderi.
  • Rajkummar Rao is the second actor, after Manoj Bajpayee, to have won the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actor for his work in Newton (2017).
  • Rajkummar Rao had used his own blood to write out the message on the cardboard placard in one of the scenes in Trapped (2017).
  • In order to look his part in Trapped (2017), Rajkummar Rao survived on a diet of only carrots and coffee.
  • Rajkummar Rao was first seen in Sona Mohapatra's music video 'Aaja Ve' in 2005, playing the role of a schoolmaster.
  • As a child, Rajkummar mimicked actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan but never wanted to become an actor until his tenth standard, when he participated in a school play.
  • Rajkummar Rao wasn't Hansal Mehta's first choice to play the role of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. The director initially wanted to rope in British actor Riz Ahmed, who is best known for movies like Nightcrawler (2014), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and Jason Bourne (2016).
  • In 2014, Rajkumar Rao changed his spelling to Rajkummar after his mother advised him to.
  • Rajkummar Rao was the original choice to play the male lead in NH10, however, the producer of the movie, Anushka Sharma, wanted to cast Neil Bhoopalam. Hence, Rao was ousted from the project.
  • At the age of 32, Rajkummar Rao played the role of a 324-year-old man in Raabta (2017).
  • Rajkummar Rao agreed to play a small role in Talaash: The Answer Lies Within just to be able to work with Aamir Khan since he is a huge fan of the actor.
  • In preparation for his daunting role in Omerta, Rajkummar Rao spent time watching hate speeches by militant leaders and documentaries about them. He also spent time in London in a bid to get used to the accent and learn about the culture there.
  • Although he gained recognition for his work in Abhishek Kapoor's Kai Po Che!, Rajkummar Rao credits Ekta Kapoor for all the exposure he gained in the industry.
  • To prepare for his role in the movie Love, Sex Aur Dhokha, Rajkummar Rao starved himself for a week: his diet included cucumber and salad. The actor lost 3-4 kgs for the role.
  • Rajkummar Rao is the 6th Indian actor, after Atul Kulkarni, Manoj Bajpayee, Rajat Kapoor, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, to be nominated at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards held in Australia. He was nominated in the Best Actor category for his performance in Newton (2017).
  • Rajkummar Rao was offered a role in the movie Ittefaq (2017) but he declined it.
  • Rajkummar Rao studied method acting at the Film and Television Institute of India.
  • For his role as Subhash Chandra Bose in the web series Bose Dead or Alive, Rajkummar Rao gained 11 kgs.
  • Rajkummar Rao visited Wasseypur to prepare for his role as Shamshad Alam in the movie Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 2. However, the actor's screen time was considerably reduced in the final cut of the movie.
  • Hansal Mehta and Rajkummar Rao have collaborated in a number of acclaimed movies over the years, from Shahid (2013) to Aligarh (2015) and Omerta (2018). Interestingly, it was Rajkummar's performance in Ragini MMS (2011) that convinced Hansal to cast him in Shahid - a film which won them both National Film Awards and marked the beginning of their fruitful partnership.
  • Personal Quotes (24)

  • "Right from my first film, I have tried to do distinct roles and those that give me a good high. The films that I'm currently working on are also very different from each other and I am thoroughly enjoying working on them."
  • "Learning is a never-ending process."
  • "I want to be curious student forever."
  • "I don't think many people have the confidence, like my parents do, in me."
  • "I don’t feel anything special about learning different accents or languages for films. It’s my responsibility as an actor. I have always liked picking up accents. All my characters can’t sound the same as in most cases they belong to different regions. "
  • "Failure may dishearten me but success will never change me."
  • "If I change as a person, then I cannot be an actor. If I feel celebrity-like, I'll never be able to play real characters."
  • "I know Trapped hasn't made 100 crores but I know my producers have made their money. And looking back, I will always be very proud of it."
  • "Being a star is very accidental. It only takes one film but what about your next ten films? So, my job is just to be constant and be honest towards my craft, which I try. "
  • "I'm still that curious kid from Gurgaon, who looks at the surreal planet of Bollywood from a distance."
  • "I knew my success depended more on my work than on my appearance."
  • "Legacy is more important to me than money. Films are enduring and for posterity. Fame and money are by-products."
  • "Gaining weight, losing weight and growing a beard is not method acting. That's just being true to your character. Method acting is a training module. Any actor who undergoes that training is a method actor."
  • "Performance comes from the experiences and exposure in your life. I feel more confident in the industry now from the time I began."
  • "I don't really differentiate between a commercial or indie film. For me It's the story which matters and the filmmakers."
  • "It's very tough for someone, who doesn't have a filmi background, to get work in Bollywood. It's not a smooth ride unless you are really lucky. But I think one has to be prepared for that"
  • "If I have to potray real characters on the screen, I have to be real too-otherwise I would be lying to myself"
  • "For me, acting is like painting. I'm doing it for myself and enjoying it. I don't want people to come and say while I am doing it that wow what a stroke. I just want to finish my painting in peace and then take it to people for their opinion."
  • "I'm of the belief that talent survives, and the audience decides who they want to see on the screen. And some of these not-so-talented actors, no one wants to see them anymore."
  • "There was never a plan B and I never thought of doing anything else either. It was always acting."
  • "Initially, for me, being an actor meant, beating up 10 people and still looking good. Now it has turned into a meditative art."
  • "Acting is reacting to someone in a scene. Insecure and selfish co-actors, who only think about their camera angles, and their lines, put me off. I really can't work like that. I wouldn't be honest with my work then."
  • "The struggle is with myself, I don't want to get corrupt in this race now. I don't want to compete with anyone. I just want to do good work, something that people will remember fifty years from now."
  • "Yes, nepotism exists but there is a ray of hope. I am just an ordinary guy from Gurgaon, who dreamt of becoming an actor. If I can do it, anyone can do it."
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