Rajkummar Rao may have emerged as a major draw at the box office but the actor does not believe he is anywhere near the super stardom that the three Khans have in Bollywood.
There is a great churning in Bollywood with content driven films outperforming and outclassing those headlined by the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan.
Rajkummar, who is the considered one of the faces of this new breed of cinema, however, he says it would not be right to compare his stardom with that of the Khans.
‘I don’t think we can compare superstars and actors like me. The kind of films Aamir sir, Shah Rukh sir and Salman sir have done are amazing. You can’t say they are not good just because one of their films did not work.
‘They are superstars for some reason and we all love them. I am myself a fan of Khans. We should not compare. We are very new and we have a long way to prove ourselves. I don’t think the kind of superstardom that these superstars have seen will ever come back again,’ Rajkummar told PTI.
The actor believes the mass hysteria and mania around their superstardom is something that all actors yearn for but it just cannot be replicated.
‘I want all our films to do well at the box office. But the craze that they have seen is something I don’t think is going to come back. It is very tough. People love these actors, the way people react, shout, hug, cry… The phenomenon is huge.’ The 34-year-old actor, whose filmography includes films like Newton, Trapped, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Stree, among others, rules himself out of the contention of being the next big Bollywood superstar.
‘I am very happy doing what I am doing and if it takes me there, good. But let me tell you I am happy in this space.’ The actor had five releases in 2018 but it was Amar Kaushik’s Stree that did wonders for Rajkummar at the box office. He also starred in critically-acclaimed films Omerta and Love Sonia.
‘Audience loved these stories more than anything else. Today people are more concerned about the content they are seeing. I always try to offer new things. Since my debut film Love Sex Aur Dhokha, I am trying to experiment and push boundaries as an actor. I am happy people are accepting that. It is a feeling of validation as these are the kind of films I was doing earlier and today they are doing great numbers.’ Despite his recent success, the actor still reads all his scripts. He says yes to a project only if he feels the story is good.
‘I do get a lot of scripts, I don’t want to give a number, I can’t brag. I get all kinds of scripts from weird to some really interesting ones as well. I have a number of films to choose from. ‘I read all my scripts and I don’t let other people decide. I believe an actor should invest their time in reading scripts carefully and understanding it. Also, there are filmmakers with whom I wanted to work and now I am getting the opportunity to do so.’ Up next for the actor is Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, in which he reunites with Anil Kapoor and co-stars Sonam Kapoor.
About the film, Rajkummar says, ‘More than the role, the story was unique, so I did the film. It talks about things that are relevant in our society. I liked the role as well. It is the story that I look at first and then comes my role.’ The film offers yet another take on LGBTQ issues, something which Rajkummar previously dealt with in Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh. He believes that while Aligarh was a biopic on Aligarh Muslim University professor Ramachandra Siras, Ek Ladki.. is a commercial project and an entertaining film.
‘This film (Ek Ladki..) is more about acceptance. This is a family film, relationship drama, it is about friendship, love. I believe there has to be equality, you can’t judge someone based on sexual preference. It is their life and who they want as their partners, it is a normal thing,’ he adds. He has an interesting blend of films up for release this year – Mental Hai Kya with Kangana Ranaut and Made in China. He has also signed a film with Anurag Basu and Hansal Mehta.