Actor Rajkummar Rao is now among the most acclaimed actors in Hindi cinema, having starred in both independent films and mainstream hits. But there was a time when, like so many others, he was trying to make a name for himself in Mumbai with few means.
Rajkummar appeared at India Today Conclave East 2022 earlier this week ahead of the release of his new film, Blow: The first case. During the conversation, Rajkummar spoke about lingering issues regarding the film industry such as the emergence of streaming services, nepotism and the success of South Indian language films. He also spoke about the experiences that shaped him, first as a student and then as a struggling actor in Mumbai.
He said: “It was hard being an outsider. I grew up in a common family in Gurgaon and at that time it was just a small town. I fell in love with cinema when I was a kid and I knew that was what I wanted to do. I used to cycle 70 km to and from Delhi when I was doing theatre. It was like going to meet his girlfriend. I worked very hard at FTII. I wanted to learn as much as possible. »
He added: “Eventually I moved to Mumbai but it was difficult. There were times when I lived on a Parle-G ka package a day with only 18 rupees in my bank account. Fortunately, I had friends from film school who helped me. But I never had a plan B. I always wanted to become an actor.
Rajkummar broke out with roles in Love Sex Aur Dhoka and Ragini MMS but rose to prominence with acclaimed performances in films such as Shahid, Kai Po Che! and Aligarh. He has also appeared in mainstream hits such as Stree and Bareilly Ki Barfi and also starred in the Oscar nominated film The White Tiger.