Rajkummar Rao: “I just had to be a part of ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi'”

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In Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari directed ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’, Rajkummar Rao is going to be seen in a never-seen-before avatar, judging by the trailers and songs. Known for trying out roles that are unconventional and giving audiences performance after performance which are award-worthy, playing Pritam Vidrohi in ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ was quite an experience for the actor.

BizAsiaLive.com caught up with Rao ahead of the film’s release.

Your character of Pritam Vidrohi in ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ comes across as something quite different to what you’ve done previously. What made you sign the film?
Well, that’s exactly the reason. It’s something I’ve not done earlier in any of my films. That’s what I look for as an actor; to do different things. I look for something that’s unique and something that can push me and challenge me. My character is a performance-driven part and I just had to be a part of this film.

You are familiar personally with a character from a small-town as you’ve not only portrayed one previously but because you are from a small town yourself. What would you say were the challenges of playing Pritam?
As you’ve seen in the trailer, Pritam has two personality traits. So, my challenge was to bring out those two trait and still make it look believable. I had to make it look that people could still relate to both the parts. In the same scene, he can be himself but then a different side of him can come out. That was the biggest challenge for me.

How do you think the audiences will relate to the story?
Well, most of the people in our country live in small towns and this film is based in the small town of Bareilly. I think people will definitely relate to all the characters in the film. They will feel that they’ve seen these characters around them. I think that’s our biggest USP. Our characters are very relatable. They’re very real. The whole world the film creates is very realistic in nature.

How would you describe director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s stamp on ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’?
She is a wonderful director and it was a lot of fun working with her. It’s like a couple of friends have come together to make a film. The experience of Bareilly Ki Barfi for me was exactly like that. Ashwiny is, of course, extremely talented which we saw from her first film ‘Nil Battey Sannata’. This is a very different film but it’s very rooted. The characters have been nicely etched out. It was great fun with her.

You’re sharing the screen once again with Pankaj Tripathi after ‘Newton’. How would you describe your relationship?
Pankaj is one of the finest actors we have working in our industry. He’s somebody who always improvises and, as an actor, I love that because I do the same. I try and bring something new to the table and that’s the fun. When you get a co-actor like him, you can always play along with the scene. You can take the scene to a different level. You need good co-actors for your own performance to improve and to come out how it should.

You and Ayushmann Khurrana have been friends for some time so what was it like now working together professionally?
It was great fun. It was quirky. For the first time, he’s playing a bully. He’s very talented and passionate about what he does. When you have actors who are on the same wavelength, you can work together to make a scene come alive. Acting is not a solo job; you’re always reacting to your co-actors. You’re always dependent on somebody else. I feel very fortunate that, with Bareilly Ki Barfi, I had such talented people with me.

How do you feel? Are you usually nervous before a film’s release?
(laughs) No, I’m excited and nervous as well. I try and balance myself – I don’t feel too happy and I don’t feel too nervous as well. For me, the most important thing is the journey and the process of making a film. And, as I told you, I had a great time making this film so my work is done. Now whatever has to happen will happen. That’s something that’s not in my control.

BizAsiaLive.com would like to thank Rajkummar Rao for talking to us. ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ is set for release on 18th August.

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