EACH time Rajkummar Rao is offered a role, he tries to make it different. That’s what he’s done with Hari, his character in Hamari Adhuri Kahani. “I play a possessive husband who is obsessed with his wife and questions her about everything. From my point of view, my character is going through a lot. There is so much happening in his life,” begins the 30-year-old. The National Award winner (for Shahid) says he pushed his boundaries for the role in director Mohit Suri’s film—for a scene, he ran barefoot in a jungle and in another instance, he broke down and destroyed the sets. The original script had him just smashing couple of things but Rao punched the walls of the house, broke the mirror, destroyed the kitchen while Suri quietly continued to roll. “I prepare myself before going for an emotional scene. I sit and rehearse the scene multiple times in my trailer. I react as the character would react. At that point of time, there is no Rajkummar, there is only the character. There is a scene where I slap Vidya Balan and I think if I were Hari in real life, that is how I would have reacted,” the Kai Po Che! actor opens up.
North side up
After playing varied characters in 12 movies, Rao knows what he wants. “I read my scripts in detail. I prefer reading to narrating. Then, if I relate to the role and think it deserves four months of my time then I sign up for the role,” says the confident actor. While Rao connects deeply with the characters he plays, getting out of their mindspace takes time. “I let my mind rest, only then can I get out of the role. Shooting emotional and physically draining roles is difficult and, at that time, I prefer not doing anything else,” says Rao, who prefers roles that challenge him. “I like things that scare me. When the line, ‘how will I do this’ comes to mind, I immediately sign it. I sometimes also question why my character is behaving a certain way or saying the lines that he is saying. With time, I have learnt to deal with this questioning and have also learnt that there are several ways of looking at one thing,” he says. Rao hopes to explore different genres, especially an action flick.
Hamari Adhuri Kahani is scheduled to release on June 12.
— Mrinalini Sundar