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Desire to survive

That’s Rajkumar Yadav for you — Zen-like with an impressive dose of humility. The Gurgaon-born actor who shifted to Mumbai back in 2008 and has about two more films releasing this year. In a candid chat with CS at his girlfriend actress Anwita Paul’s residence in the suburbs, the 28-year-old spills beans about his professional and personal life:

Rajkumar Yadav
Who: Rajkumar Yadav
What: On his learning process, Bollywood and Mumbai
PIC/ Nimesh Dave

Learning process
I was doing theater in Delhi during my graduation year before moving to FTII in Pune to study acting. Being a trained actor helps a lot. Of course, there are gems like Konkona Sen Sharma who’ve never been to an acting school, but then they are gifted. In my case, I wasn’t born an actor, so I had to nurture my skill sets. In fact, I still attend acting workshops. I’m a trained dancer and a national gold medalist in taekwondo. But nobody can imagine me dancing or beating up guys in a film (laughs).

Cinematic influences
I always had this filmi keeda. As a kid, I cried inconsolably after watching Agneepath because Amitabh Bachchan dies at the end. I used to become Shah Rukh Khan for a month after watching his films! As of today, my inspiration is Daniel Day-Lewis. He’s the one who keeps me underground actually — not just grounded! He’s the one who makes me realise how bad I am in front of the camera. In Bollywood, I look up to Aamir Khan, Irrfan Khan and Manoj Bajpai for their awesome acting skills.

The downside of the industry
Sometimes, the producers promise you big names with whom you’ll be working and when you reach the sets, there are none. But by that time, you’ve already taken the money. Also, you’ve got to survive in an expensive city like Mumbai! People often ask me the role a godfather can play in one’s career. I tell them that in Bollywood, one needs four godfathers — one real godfather and three DVDs of the Godfather trilogy.

Shades of Mumbai
I love the beaches as when you are there, nobody interferes in your life and so you have your own space. Also, the people of Mumbai are amazingly helpful. And then the film industry is here too. I like the town side too as the architecture there retains the old charm. But on the other hand, it’s sad to see how dirty the sea water is. The climate is way too humid. And the traffic! Everybody is in such a hurry to reach their destinations that they race around breaking traffic rules. Another major trouble are the potholes. You just can’t avoid them!

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