Rajkummar Rao

  (Redirected from Rajkumar Rao)

Raj Kumar Yadav (born 31 August 1984), known professionally as Rajkummar Rao, is an Indian actor known for his work in Hindi films. He is the recipient of several awards, including a National Film Award, three Filmfare Awards, and an Asia Pacific Screen Award.

Rajkummar Rao
Rajkummar Rao at the premiere of Newton.
Rao at the 2017 Berlinale premiere of Newton
Born
Raj Kumar Yadav

(1984-08-31) 31 August 1984 (age 35)
Alma materFilm and Television Institute of India
OccupationActor
Years active2010–present
Partner(s)Patralekha Paul (2010–present)
AwardsFull list

Rao graduated from the University of Delhi and went on to study acting at the Film and Television Institute of India. He then moved to Mumbai and made his film debut with Dibakar Banerjee's found footage anthology film Love Sex Aur Dhokha (2010). After a few supporting roles in films like Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2 (2012) and Talaash: The Answer Lies Within, he had his breakthrough with the drama film Kai Po Che! in 2013. He rose to prominence with his portrayal of lawyer Shahid Azmi in Hansal Mehta's critically acclaimed biographical drama Shahid (2013), for which he was awarded the National Film Award for Best Actor and the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor.

Rao went on to feature in the successful romantic comedy Queen (2014), Aligarh (2016) and Trapped (2016). The last of these earned him another Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor. Among his 2017 releases, the romantic comedy Bareilly Ki Barfi and the black comedy Newton were both commercial successes and won him several accolades; the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for the former and the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Actor for the latter. In 2018, he starred in the horror comedy Stree, which is the highest grossing film of his career so far.

Early and personal lifeEdit

Rajkummar Rao was born as Raj Kumar Yadav on 31 August, 1984 in Prem Nagar, Gurugram, Haryana, India.[1][2] He had two older siblings and three cousins in an extended family. His father, Satyapal Yadav, was a government employee in the revenue department, and his mother, Kamlesh Yadav, a homemaker.[3] Both his parents have passed away.[4] He completed his 12th standard from Blue Bells Model School, where he used to participate in school plays.[5] He did his graduation from Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College, (University of Delhi) where he was simultaneously doing theatre with Kshitij Repertory and Shri Ram Centre in Delhi.[5][3]

Rao said that he decided to become an actor after seeing Manoj Bajpayee, stating he was "highly influenced" by the performance.[3] In 2008, Rao enrolled in a two year acting course in Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune and shifted to Mumbai for a film career.[6] Rao is a vegetarian.[7] He had changed his surname to Rao from Yadav in 2014 and also added an extra 'm' to his name. He stated the reason: "“Rao or Yadav, I can use either of the surnames as both are family names. As far as the double ‘m’ in the first name is concerned, it's for my mother. She believes in numerology."[8] Rao has been in a relationship with actress Patralekha Paul since 2010.[9]

CareerEdit

Debut and other works (2010-2012)Edit

After graduating from FTII in 2008, Rao spent the next year visiting studios and meeting casting directors.[6] He did a small appearance as a news reader in Ram Gopal Varma's 2010 political thriller Rann, for which he was not credited.[10] After reading in a newspaper advertisement that mentioned Dibakar Banerjee was looking for newcomers for his found footage anthology film Love Sex Aur Dhokha (2010), he auditioned for the film and was finalised.[11] The film consisted of three stories, with Rao appearing in the second story opposite Neha Chauhan. He played Adarsh, a supermarket supervisor who con's an employee into sleeping with him so he can record the act on hidden camera and sell it.[3] To resemble the role, he had to lose six kilograms (13 lb) of weight in a month.[12] The film and Rao's performance met with acclaim from critics.[13] It also turned out to be a profitable box-office venture.[14]

 
Rao at the music launch of Shaitan in 2011.

Subsequently after the success of his debut film, Rao was offered the lead role by producer Ekta Kapoor in the found footage horror film Ragini MMS (2011). He was initially reluctant for it, as it seemed similar to his previous work, but he took it up after casting director Atul Mongia's insistence.[5] Despite unfavorable critical response, the film was a box-office success.[15][16] His next release was Bejoy Nambiar's crime thriller Shaitan (2011), in which he played a slimy cop.[17] Raja Sen, who was critical of the film, praised Rao's performance calling him "reliably terrific."[18]

Director Anurag Kashyap had liked Rao's performance in Love Sex Aur Dhokha and decided to cast him in Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2 (2012), which was a followup to his crime film Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1.[3] He played the supporting role of Shamshad Alam for which he visited Wasseypur to perfect his character and accent.[3] The film was a critical and financial success.[19][20] His subsequent role was of independence activist Lokenath Bal in Bedabrata Pain's historical drama Chittagong (2012), which was based on the Chittagong armoury raid.[21] His final release of the year was Reema Kagti's suspense thriller Talaash: The Answer Lies Within, where he essayed a cop.[22] The film, starring Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherji and Kareena Kapoor in the lead roles, had worldwide earnings of over ₹1.74 billion (US$24 million) to emerge as the year's eighth highest-grossing Hindi film.[23] Rajeev Masand commented that in just one scene Rao shows "what a good actor can bring even to a small part."[24]

Abhishek Kapoor's buddy drama film Kai Po Che! (2013) was Rao's next venture. Co-starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Amit Sadh, the film was based on Chetan Bhagat's 2008 novel The 3 Mistakes of My Life.[25] The film was released in India on 22 February 2013 and met with acclaim from critics, with praise for the lead performances.[26] Shilpa Jamkhandikar of Deccan Herald felt that Rao "stand out" and played off the role "beautifully".[27] Rao was nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor.[28]

Shahid and breakthrough (2013-2016)Edit

 
Rao along with Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh and Abhishek Kapoor at Kai Po Che!'s success bash, 2013.

The year 2013 proved to be a turning point for Rao with the Hansal Mehta-directed biographical drama Shahid, where he played the title role of late lawyer Shahid Azmi. To preparing for the role, Rao met Azmi's family and spent time with them to understand the man and his personality. He also studied the Quran and attended courtrooms to understand how lawyers behave.[29][30] Rao said he was "emotionally drained" as the character was challenging and complex.[30] The film met with critical acclaim upon release, so did his performance.[31] Anupama Chopra called the film Rao's "triumph", "His Shahid has strength, anguish and a controlled anger, but also real charm."[32] The film was also a box-office success;[33] Rao received the National Film Award for Best Actor at the 61st National Film Awards ceremony and the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor at the 59th Filmfare Awards.[34][35] His another release was the comedy film Boyss Toh Boyss Hain.[36]

In 2013, Rao essayed the supporting role of a manipulative fiance in the comedy drama Queen. The film had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival and was released theatrically in India on 7 March, 2014.[37] It was a critical and commercial success, grossing ₹970 million (US$14 million) worldwide.[38][39] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV noted that Rao "brings remarkable restraint to bear upon his interpretation of the disgustingly conservative city slicker who cannot see beyond his nose."[40]

The same year he acted in a short film directed by Shlok Sharma along with Vijay Maurya.[41] He collaborated with Mehta for the latter's drama film CityLights (2014). Co-starring Patralekha Paul, the film tells the story of a poor farmer family from Rajasthan coming to Mumbai in search of livelihood.[42] For the role, Rao lived in the small town of Sadri in the Pali district of Rajasthan for a month, grew a moustache and became well-versed with the dialect.[5] The film and Rao's performance were praised by critics with Sweta Kaushal of Hindustan Times writing that he "slip effortlessly" into the role.[43] It proved to be a moderate financial success.[44]

In 2015, Rao appeared in a supporting role in Dolly Ki Doli, co-starring Sonam K Ahuja, Pulkit Samrat and Varun Sharma. It met with mixed reviews and was an average grosser at the box-office.[45] Its followup was the Mohit Suri-directed romantic drama Hamari Adhuri Kahani (2015), where he played an abusive husband to Vasudha Prasad (played by Vidya Balan).[46] He returned to work with Mehta for the biographical drama Aligarh. Based on the life of professor Ramchandra Siras, the film had Manoj Bajpayee playing the lead role, while Rao essayed a journalist who tries to dig the story. Aligarh met with critical acclaim upon release, with particular praise for Bajpayee and Rao's performance. Sukanya Verma called Rao "pitch-perfect in his role of "inquisitive journalist."[47] Rao was also nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor.[48]

Rao collaborated with Vikramaditya Motwane for his directorial venture, the survival drama Trapped (2016). It tells the story of a guy who gets trapped in his apartment room without food, water and electricity for days. Rao found the role of Shaurya to be one of his most challenging works to date.[49] He had to lose weight and remained on a carrot and coffee diet throughout the course of filming for accurate depiction.[50][51] Despite being a vegan, Rao also ate meat in some of the scenes for the first time in his life, as Motwane preferred it to be realistic.[52] Trapped premiere at the 2016 Mumbai Film Festival and was released theatrically on 17 March, 2017 to positive reviews.[53] In a positive review, Subhash K. Jha wrote that Rao "immerses himself in the judiciously assembled plot with such radiant authenticity that after a while we cease to watch the skill that underlines the outstanding performance."[54] Rao won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor.[55]

Commercial success (2017-present)Edit

 
Rao at the Mumbai Film Festival in 2017.

2017 proved to be a major year for Rao. His first release was the romantic comedy Behen Hogi Teri along with Shruti Haasan; it met with unfavorable critical response who praised his performance.[56] It was followed by another romantic comedy titled Bareilly Ki Barfi, directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and co-starring Kriti Sanon and Ayushmann Khurrana. The film and Rao's performance met with mostly positive reviews. Namrata Joshi wrote: "Rao is a hoot and brings the house down with his chameleon turn and comic timing — simpering simpleton one minute, full of swagger the next; a role that could have become a caricature in the hands of a lesser actor."[57] The film was also a commercial success and bagged Rao a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor.[58][59]

Amit V. Masurkar's black comedy flick Newton was Rao's next film. In it, he played the role of an upright government clerk sent on election duty to a Naxal-controlled town. He suggested the director if he could curl his hair and do continuous eye blinking to make the character distinct, to which he agreed.[60] The film had its world premier at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival and was released in India on 22 September, 2017.[61] Newton met with critical acclaim, so did Rao's performance.[62] Rajeev Masand mentioned, "It’s hard to separate the actor from the character, and not many of our artistes can claim to possess that gift."[63] The role earned him the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Actor and a nomination for Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor.[64][65] He also did a cameo appearance in Dinesh Vijan's Raabta (2017). He had to apply prosthetic's for five-six hours every day to look like a 324-year-old man in it.[66]

His final theatrical release of the year was Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana with Kriti Kharbanda, which met with mixed critical response.[67] He also made his digital debut with ALTBalaji's historical biographical web mini-series Bose: Dead/Alive. Based on the 2012 book India's Biggest Cover-up by Anuj Dhar, the show had portraying nationalist leader Subhash Chandra Bose. For the role, Rao gained 13 kilogram weight and went half bald.[68] Anvita Singh of India Today felt that its "not the actor's best performance, nevertheless, being the skillful actor that he is, Rajkummar does grab your attention."[69]

Rao reunited with Mehta for the biographical crime film Omerta, where he portrayed the role of terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. To prepare for the role, Rao watched several videos, documentaries and hate speeches of Sheikh repeatedly to "gather a lot of hatred and anger" inside himself.[70] He expressed that he was "disturbed" while shooting the film because of the character he was playing and called it "easily the toughest character" he has played till date.[70][71] The film had its world premier at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and was released in India on 4 May, 2018.[72] The film and Rao's performance met with critical acclaim, with Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV calling it a "pitch perfect performance."[73]

He next starred in the musical comedy Fanney Khan (2018) along with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anil Kapoor. A remake of the 2000 Belgian film Everybody's Famous!, the film was a critical and commercial failure.[74] Stree (2018), the Amar Kaushik-directed horror comedy was his next release. It was based on the Bangalore urban legend known as Nale Ba and also starred Shraddha Kapoor. The film and Rao's performance met with positive critical feedback. Rachit Gupta of The Times of India noted that Rao "handles the many shades of comedy, horror and romance with great ease."[75] It also earned him a nomination for Filmfare Award for Best Actor.[76] Stree was a major financial success.[77] The same year, Rao appeared briefly in Tabrez Noorani's Love Sonia, which was about sex trafficking.[78] His final release of the year was 5 Weddings.[79]

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (2019), a film about a closeted lesbian, was Rao's first film of 2019. Co-starring Sonam K Ahuja, Anil Kapoor and Juhi Chawla, the film was received warmly by the critics for its positive representation of homosexuality. It, however, failed to do well commercially.[80][81] He next appeared along side Kangana Ranaut in the black comedy Judgementall Hai Kya. His performance earned him another Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor nomination.[82] His final acting venture was Mikhil Musale's comedy flick Made in China where he played a Gujarati businessman who receives a proposal to market an aphrodisiac in India from China.[83] The film, based on the namesake novel by Parinda Joshi, met with mixed critical response. Anna M. M. Vetticad, who was critical of the film, praised Rao: "The best thing about it are Rao and [Boman] Irani who are a pleasure to watch even in this middling affair."[84] The film was an average grosser at the box-office.[85]

Rao's first release of 2020 was Ramesh Sippy's romantic drama Shimla Mirchi. It was Sippy's first directorial venture since the 1995 Zamaana Deewana and was delayed for several years.[86] The film was released on 3 January on Netflix.[87]

Upcoming filmsEdit

Rao will be next seen in Anurag Basu's anthology comedy film Ludo with an ensemble cast of Abhishek Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sanya Malhotra, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Pankaj Tripathi. The film will release on Netflix due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[88] He has also finished filming for Hardik Mehta's comedy horror Roohi Afzana and Hansal Mehta's dark comedy Chhalaang.[89][90] In March 2020, it was announced that Rao will be acting along side Bhumi Pednekar in Badhaai Do, which will be a sequel to the 2018 film Badhaai Ho.[91] He will also feature in the Hindi remake of the 2020 Telugu language thriller film HIT: The First Case, to be directed by Sailesh Kolanu who also directed the original.[92]

In the mediaEdit

Forbes India featured Rao in their 30 Under 30 list of 2014.[93] He was listed as India's Hottest Vegetarian Celebrity by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in 2017.[94] The same year, he was featured in Forbes India Celebrity 100 list and GQ magazine's list of 50 Most Influential Young Indians.[95][96] He has served as the brand ambassador for Actimaxx, Seventh Street and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India's eat right movement.[97][98][99]

Rao donated an undisclosed amount of money to the PM CARES Fund, the Maharashtra Chief Minister's Relief Fund and Zomato's Feeding India to help feed families in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic in India.[100]

FilmsEdit

Key
  Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes
2010 Rann News reader
Love Sex Aur Dhokha Adarsh
2011 Ragini MMS Uday
Shaitan Malwankar Pintya
2012 Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2 Shamshad Alam
Chittagong Lokenath Bal
Talaash Devrath Kulkarni/Dev
2013 Kai Po Che! Govind Patel Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
Boyss Toh Boyss Hain Rahul Shah
D-Day Moin (voice) Cameo appearance
Shahid Shahid Azmi National Film Award for Best Actor
Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor
A New Love Ishtory News Reporter cameo appearance
2014 Queen Vijay
CityLights Deepak Singh
Bombay Mirror Short film
2015 Dolly Ki Doli Sonu Sherawat
Hamari Adhuri Kahani Hari Prasad
Aligarh Deepu Sebastian Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
2016 Trapped Shaurya Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor
2017 Raabta Muwaqqit Cameo appearance
Behen Hogi Teri Shiv Kumar Nautiyal (Gattu)
Bareilly Ki Barfi Pritam Vidrohi Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
Newton Newton Kumar Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actor
Nominated—Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor
Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana IAS Satyendra Mishra
2018 Omerta Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
Fanney Khan Adhir
Stree Vicky Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor
Love Sonia Manish
5 Weddings Harbhajan Singh
2019 Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga Sahil Mirza
Judgementall Hai Kya Keshav Nominated—Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor
Made in China Raghuvir Mehta
2020 Shimla Mirchi Avinash
Ludo  TBA Post-production
Roohi Afzana  Ravi Post-production
Chhalaang  Montu Post-production

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Network Notes
2017 Bose: Dead/Alive Subhas Chandra Bose ALTBalaji Web series

Awards and nominationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

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