Born on August 31, 1984, Rajkummar Rao's birth name is Raj Kumar Yadav. The actor finished his schooling from S.N. Sidheshwar Sr. Sec. School (Gurugram). As a school kid, Rajkummar used to love dancing. Later on, he started acting in school plays, dramas, etc. Rao admitted that he realised very early in life that he wanted to become an actor.
Rajkummar Rao was doing theatre along with his graduation from Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College (ARSD) – University of Delhi. After getting his graduation, Rao enrolled in FTII Pune. His parents were not only supportive but also confident of the fact that their son would make a mark as an actor. Rajkummar Rao counts that as one of his biggest blessings.
In picture: Rajkummar Rao's childhood photo.
Rajkummar Rao had spoken to mid-day in a candid interview about his FTII days. He said, "I had a great time in film school watching, talking and discussing films. We had some great teachers. I loved the process. You can say that I was in a live-in relationship with acting then, now I am married to it. Yes, I feel that being a trained actor is definitely a plus point. However, spontaneity is equally crucial. After all, acting is all about reacting on the moment. But preparation is equally important as it helps you concentrate on the finer nuances of the job."
In picture: Rajkummar Rao with his late mother. She passed away in 2017, when the actor was shooting for Newton.
As an actor, Rajkummar Rao is in absolute awe of Daniel Day Lewis. "Whenever I see him I feel like I am nothing. If I had to rate myself before him, I would be in the minus scale," said Rao in a candid confession with mid-day in 2013. The actor thoroughly believes in Daniel Day Lewis' idea of preparation. He is also a huge fan of Robert De Niro, especially in the film Taxi Driver.
In picture: Rajkummar Rao while receiving the National Film Award for Best Actor (Shahid) from the then President of India Pranab Mukherjee in 2013.
Rajkummar Rao made his Bollywood debut with Dibakar Banerjee's unconventional film Love Sex Aur Dhokha in 2010. He also had a brief role in Amitabh Bachchan starrer Rann and went on to do films like Shaitan, Ragini MMS, Chittagong, Talaash. However, it was Kai Po Che! that gave him huge recognition in the mainstream industry.
In pictured: Rajkummar Rao with his girlfriend-actress Patralekhaa.
After Kai Po Che!, Rajkummar Rao starred in Hansal Mehta's Shahid (2013), a biographical film on the life of lawyer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi, who was shot dead in 2010. The film went on to earn praises globally. Rao won two awards for the film - National Film Award for Best Actor and Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor.
In picture: Rajkummar Rao in a still from Raabta, where he played the character of a 324-year-old man in the film.
After Shahid, there was no looking back for Rajkummar Rao. He starred in critically acclaimed and commercially successful films such as Queen (2014), Citylights (2014), Aligarh (2016), Trapped (2016), Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017), Newton (2017) and Stree (2018).
In picture: A still from the movie Newton.
Rajkummar Rao has admitted time and again that he has been choosy about the films he wants to do. "I want to associate myself with films that are good... Something that people will remember me for. I don't look if the film comes from a small or a big banner, the script has to move me. I do not categorise a film as commercial or critically acclaimed one. I have been lucky that my films have done good business," said Rao.
In picture: A still from Rajkummar Rao starrer Omerta, which released in 2017.
Rajkummar Rao says money has never been a driving force behind his decision to do films. He picks his projects based on the content. Post tasting success in Bollywood, Rajkummar Rao believed that the only thing that has changed is that he gets to work with bigger filmmakers, be a part of bigger films.
In picture: Rajkummar Rao during one of the promotional events of his film Stree, which starrer Shraddha Kapoor as the lead character.
Rajkummar Rao said, "Apart from that, nothing has changed in my life. For 'Trapped', I didn't get paid at all. So, money is not important. It's the story, the content I am a part of. I didn't know that 'Stree' would turn out to be such a big box office success, but it did. It's a great feeling when a film does great at the box office. But for me, I was not chasing that, I am still not. There have been filmmakers who told me they wanted to work with me but because of budget constraint or whatever reasons... but now they feel they can make films with me."
In picture: Rajkummar Rao in a still from his film Trapped.
There's a strong buzz around Rajkummar Rao's next film JudgeMentall Hai Kya that stars Kangana Ranaut as the female lead. Kangana's character 'Bobby' stands for everything that isn't 'regular' or mainstream acceptable. On the other hand, there is everything 'too' normal about Rajkummar Rao's character 'Keshav'. "When I said yes to the film, I knew that I was [signing up] for something unusual. [The treatment that has been employed in the movie] has never been done before. That's where the challenge lay. Also, this is the first time I'm doing a thriller," said Rao.
In picture: Rajkummar Rao in a still from the web-show Bose: Dead/Alive.
Here's wishing all the very best to Rajkummar Rao for JudgeMentall Hai Kya!
Rajkummar Rao, who is all geared up for his upcoming film Judgementall Hai Kya, has come a long way. From playing a newsreader in 2010's Rann to his last release Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, Rajkummar Rao has not once failed to impress the audience with his performance. We take a look at his journey in the filmdom to date. (All photos/Rajkummar Rao's official Instagram account and mid-day archives)
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