Hrithik Roshan’s entry and rise to stardom in the 2000s changed the definition of a mainstream Bollywood hero. One had to be a complete package, from muscles, to abs, to dance moves and some killer looks. It took almost a decade for actors to break that norm and give that big screen to the common man. Began the era of the Rajkummar Rao!
Not that the evolution of having the face of the common man up there began with him, but Rao is definitely a pioneer in making the audience vouch for that. Over a decade old in the business now, Rajkummar has managed to blur the line between the art house and the commercial with his unique charm that managed to bring the audience to the theatres. This means, he wasn’t just endorsing the parallel, but making it profitable.
Rajkummar Rao is a powerhouse when it comes to playing roles that are layers and marinated in their universe. He even makes his presence felt in the shortest of the part. I would suggest you watch Shlok Sharma’s Bombay Mirror someday. A 3-minute short film, but the impact. So today, let’s celebrate the man with the zest to let the one amongst us shine.
In my opinion, if there was one actor who outshined everyone in the ensemble drama, that starred some of the finest actors, was Rajkummar Rao. Playing a lover so much in love that he could move mountains for her, Rao became the most vulnerable person possible. Joining his depth to humour, he brought Anurag Basu’s Alok alive in Ludo.
Hansal Mehta and Rajkummar are a match made in heaven. Shahid was the beginning of their collaboration as Rao played lawyer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi in the biographical drama. Giving one of the most moving and devastating performances of his career, he bagged a Filmfare Award for the same.
Where does being honest take you? What if you are honest about your job in a landscape that shows mercy to no one? Newton stars Rajkummar Rao in and as. The film has him in a Naxal-dominated village, where he is given the responsibility to conduct the election. Knowing nothing will change even if people vote, he at least goes out and makes everyone aware of their rights. Amit Masurkar’s moving directorial was our official entry to the Oscars.
You haven’t experienced the power of Rajkummar Rao if you haven’t seen Vikramaditya Motwane directorial Trapped. A man gets trapped on a top floor of a high rise in Mumbai. With no means to contact people from outside, he has to survive, and there is no way he can lose this battle. Trapped will definitely make you close your eye in disgust more than once, but you must watch it to know his range.
BAREILLY KI BARFI
For me, Bareilly Ki Barfi was Rajkummar Rao’s open letter to his audience that he can do this too. It isn’t easy to make yourself notice when the actor opposite you is one from your own clan. Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar make one of the coolest duos in a film that so stars Kriti Sanon.
You must be living in a cave if you don’t know what whirlpool this film had caused. Changing the power dynamics for gender, in this Amar Kaushik directed and Raj & DK written drama, the one in danger were men, and the one coming for them was a woman. Rajkummar Rao played Vicky, tailor and the purest of the souls in the entire village. Watch Stree and see what this powerhouse is capable of.