Rajkummar Rao On Being A 100-Crore Actor-Star, Coping With The Loss Of A Parent , And Holding Onto Love

Ankur Pathak

MUMBAI, Maharashtra — Rajkummar Rao has an understated dignity.

Whether one meets him at a party, a press conference, or at his residence in Andheri, a northern suburb in Mumbai, Rao is a portrait of calm, someone who looks like he's listening to you when you ask him a question and not someone who's waiting for their chance to talk.

Before he could even bask in the success of Stree, a feminist drama that grossed over 150-crore at the box-office, the actor has dived into his next projects, which include a film with Kangana Ranaut (Mental Hai Kya), a love story with Sonam Kapoor (Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga), a film with Anurag Basu (Imli), and another quirky drama, Made in China, to be produced by Dinesh Vijan.

In this interview, Rao talks about the steady rise in his celebrity, making tough decisions, coping with loss, and holding onto love.

After a stunning 2017, you've had an even better 2018, with your film Stree grossing over 150-crores. Do these numbers matter or you don't like to quantify your success in monetary terms?

Honestly, I don't think in those terms. You have known me for years now. I am not counting how many films I have done or how many awards I have won. Because acting is something I want to do forever. It's not like I have a target in mind that this is what I want to do for this much money. I love doing films. Everything else that comes is an incentive of doing what I love.

You have also become quite prolific, balancing mainstream fare like Bareily ki Barfi with more indie stuff, like Trapped. In between, there are movies such as Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana and Behen Hogi Teri. There's a question in people's head -- are they seeing too much of Rajkumar Rao? Do you personally feel saturated with the kind of work that you do?

Ideally, I'd like to do not more than one or at best, two films a year. But before I reach that space, I need to actively create that kind of demand for me. Right now, I can't afford to do one film in two years or a...

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