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As he awaits ‘HIT’ release, Rajkummar Rao decodes is role, looks back at days of struggle

Bollywood actor Rajkummar Rao is known for giving incredible performances in movies such as ‘Kai Po Che!’ and ‘Shahid’. The actor, who is busy promoting his film ‘HIT: The First Case’, was in the capital with co-star Sanya Malhotra and director Sailesh Kolanu.

During a conversation, he revealed about his early days of struggle when he had to survive on Parle-G and how freedom fighter Bhagat Singh always fascinates him and he wants to play his role in future. He also talked about playing a cop with mental illness in the movie.

Rao, who was born in Gurugram, and studied acting at the Film and Television Institute of India, had to see a lot of ups and downs to reach this point of his career.

In a conversation, he recalled his initial years in Mumbai: “It was not an easy journey. My first two years in Mumbai were quite tough as it is a very expensive city. I came from Gurgaon (Gurugram), which was a small town at that time. I was not financially very strong. But my mother gave us everything, whatever we wanted in life, the freedom to choose what we want to do. We made our own decisions.

“It was very tough financially. as there was no work, there were times when there was almost no money and nothing to eat. I literally survived on a packet of Parle-G biscuits for a couple of days when there was nothing there.”

He added: “I see it as a very fond memory. I don’t really see it as, like, why did this happen to me? whatever we are today, it’s because of those days.

“And I thoroughly enjoyed it because I was prepared mentally, that it’s not going to be, it won’t be an easy ride for me because I did not know anybody in that city. I had to start from scratch and literally made my way.”

Later, he talked about his working experience with Sailesh and playing Vikram in ‘HIT:The First Case’.

He plays a cop who puts all his efforts into finding a missing girl and then discovers that his wife Neha (Sanya Malhotra) has gone missing as well. The kind of trauma he goes through while solving the case is something that is not easy to depict, but Rajkummar had done a proper research to do justice to his role.

“It was just an amazing experience to work with Sailesh and Sanya and the whole team, it’s one of the most fulfilling experiences I will say that I’ve had in my career till date. The whole silliness that we do on set is something which I will always cherish and to play Vikram, the way he wrote it, and I am very fortunate that I got a chance to play a character which is so beautiful,” he shared.

Adding more, he said about his character who is suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event and may lead to nightmares or severe anxiety.

Rao said: “I already know, you know, some people who are suffering with different sorts of mental illness, not precisely to be PTSD. But I saw a lot of reference videos, I saw a couple of interviews of patients online, just to understand what happens, why it happens and what it does to your body, physically and mentally?

“What are the symptoms, what happens after you get an anxiety attack and to read about it. So all these things needed to be done to play this role in a realistic way.”

He continued: “Because we have not seen too many actors playing characters who are suffering with PTSD or anxiety issues. But I feel lucky that I got a chance to do something like this.”

While looking quite satisfied with the kind of roles he is doing, Rajkummar said that he wants to play Bhagat Singh. “I am really fascinated by him and wish to play this role someday,” he concluded.

Directed by Sailesh Kolanu, starring Rajkummar Rao, Sanya Malhotra, Shanu Kumar, Rohan Singh, this film is a Hindi remake of Telugu cop drama of the same name.

–By Ila Sankrityayan

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