Actor Rajkummmar Rao says as an actor, he is greedy to work with different filmmakers as he has learnt that he can only succeed if he submits himself completely to a director’s vision.
Rao is known for creative collaborations with filmmaker Hansal Mehta in over six projects including “Shahid”, “Citylights”, “Aligarh”, “Omerta” and the upcoming “Chhalaang”.
Besides Mehta, the actor has also enjoyed successful partnerships with filmmakers like Abhishek Kapoor (“Kai Po Che”), Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (“Bareilly Ki Barfi”), Vikramaditya Motwane (“Trapped”), Amar Kaushik (“Stree”) and mostly recently Anurag Basu’s ensemble dark comedy “Ludo”
Rao said that he is always on the lookout for working with new directors and understand their perspective towards cinema.
“I don’t have a list but I want to work with all the directors, including those in regional cinema. I’m very greedy and try to reach out to them if they want to work with me because film is a director’s medium. The more great directors you work with, the more you grow as an actor,” the actor told PTI in an interview.
“Ludo” follows four different stories with people dealing with unavoidable jeopardies of life. The film started streaming on Netflix from Thursday.
Rao said he signed up for the movie to just be a part of the cinematic world of Basu, who has previously made films such as “Gangster”, “Life in a… Metro”, “Barfi” and “Jagga Jasoos”.
“It was magical, I was in Anurag Basu’s world where you feel everything is so beautiful. That’s his quality. When you’re around him, he makes you feel that life is so good. You feel so happy about life. Just as a person, you feel so happy just seeing him.”
The 36-year-old actor plays the role of Alok Kumar Gupta aka Aalu, a die-hard fan of yesteryear Bollywood star Mithun Chakraborty, opposite Shaikh’s Pinki.
As Aalu, the actor is able to give a glimpse into the heart of a hopeless romantic, stuck in an unrequited love angle with a girl who doesn’t care for him much.
“Being in love is the same emotion, whether your partner loves you back or not. So for me, the primary instinct came from the place that he is madly in love with this girl. And it doesn’t matter if she loves him or not.
“So I was taking it from there and when you have someone like Dada (Basu) with you, things become really really easy because you know you’re in safe hands.”
“Being a Mithun Chakraborty fan, Aalu is shown always in character and that in turn helps him in coping with his emotions.”
Rao said the character is full of physical comedy and he had to focus on his body language to play him right.
“I was dancing a lot on different Mithun Da’s songs and saw many of his videos on YouTube, starting from ‘Gunmaster G9’ from ‘Surakksha’. That was my go to song. And so I was dancing a lot to that song, just to be in rhythm. I wanted to get that body-language where it always felt a little bumpy…”
“It is a human story and I wanted Aalu to react in a very human way. Just because he is slightly louder than my other characters, it doesn’t mean that he does not have a heart. He feels things and reacts to situations in a very different way.”
All in all, the actor said he had a wonderful time working with Basu.
“He is a genius filmmaker and gives his actors a lot of freedom. Just to explore the character in depth. He doesn’t put you in any bracket that ‘you are supposed to do this and this is exactly what you should do’. No.
“He lets you be and if you’re going wrong, then he is always there to guide you. He will stop you and pull you back. So he really trusts his actors. And of course, as an actor, I had my faith in him completely.”
“Ludo” also features Abhishek Bachchan, Pankaj Tripathi, Aditya Roy Kapur, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Rohit Saraf, Pearle Maaney, Asha Negi and Inayat Verma.
Rao will next be seen in yet another Netflix feature “The White Tiger”, opposite Priyanka Chopra and newcomer Adarsh Gourav.
No matter how confident he appears in character, Rao insisted that he still feels jittery when he starts a new movie.
“I still get very nervous before starting a new film. I feel very directionless. I don’t know where I want to take this character or what’s going to happen. So it takes me a couple of days to figure out. And once I get it, then I really start to enjoy the whole process.
“It is never like that I get a character and I say, ‘Let’s do this.’ No. But I like challenges. A character, which is challenging and which I can’t see myself, I like playing those parts, where I can push myself.”