His co-star Amrita Puri calls him the FTII ka gulab jamun. When we mention this to Raj Kumar Yadav, the actor rues, “Oh no! She’s told that even to you guys! Please don’t print my name as that. I don’t want my friends to tease me.” Sitting in a Yari Road cafe, the actor seems relaxed at his regular adda as we ask him...
We can’t help but ask why FTII ka gulab jamun?
That’s because Amrita thinks I am very sweet. I am a graduate from FTII. So, putting two and two together makes me FTII ka gulab jamun.
You are paired opposite Freida Pinto in her debut Bollywood film directed by Navdeep Singh. How is it to work with her?
Amazing! I have just met her and we are doing our workshops together. She is very humble and grounded. I was so surprised by that since she’s made it in Hollywood. Freida could have become quite arrogant after the success of Slumdog Millionaire but she has her humility intact.
You have done a full monty for your role in Hansal Mehta’s next. Do you have any inhibitions as an actor?
I should be convinced mentally. The scene is towards the end and by that time I was totally into my character. I told my director that in reality that’s what would have happened to the guy. I wanted to feel the pain, the embarrassment and the anguish of my character. Hansal sir only indulged me as an actor.
The Rs 100 crore club is the in-thing. Do you ever see yourself as a part of it?
I want to be part of films that make Rs 5,000 crore! Frankly, I don’t believe in this Rs 100- crore mantra. If we take films like Kahaani and Udaan, they didn’t make Rs 100 crore but were great films. They would be appreciated in any part of the world. I feel Bollywood is restricting itself with this Rs 100 — Rs 200 crore mark. Look at Hollywood films like Avengers… they have earned Rs 3,000 — Rs 4,000 crore worldwide. We are an equally big industry and should now look at films that click universally. I want to be part of this evolving phase than work in films that rake in the moolah.
Do you believe that actors can be friends in Bollywood?
Yes, I have forged great friendships with all my directors and actors. Now, Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh and I are buddies. It was the same with Bejoy Nambiar, Dibakar Banerjee and Gattu Sir (Abhishek Kapoor). In fact, Vikas Bahl is like a brother to me. All of us have our own space.