Rajkummar Rao Curated

Award-winning Indian Actor

CURATED BY :      +44 others


  • How often do you hold back the urge to talk about some issue on social media?

  • How does a box office hit empower you as an actor?

  • How does it feel after having your first 100 crore hit?

  • Do you feel that you can work for a commercial movie?

  • What’s the trick to get under the skin of a character?

  • Of all the characters that you have played so far, which one is a reflection of your own true personality?

  • Do you observe your co-stars and follow their approach to acting?

  • What is your way of acting and making a movie?

  • Do you find hard to talk about your process of acting?

  • Which was your boldest move so far?

  • What was life like before you entered the film industry?

    I grew up in Gurugram. I binge-watched Hindi movies, and that’s where my fascination for actors and stories began. I decided to become an actor in the ninth grade. Soon after, I became a regular at school-level theatre in Delhi. I continued performing through college, and after graduation moved to Pune to join The Film and Television Institute of India, to pursue acting. I came to Mumbai in 2008, but for six years before that, I was learning as much as I could, and continue to do the same even today.

  • As a proverbial outsider, was it difficult for you to break into the film world?

    It was difficult. It took me two years to crack my way in, but I was prepared for the struggle. I knew that once I was in Mumbai, I would have to look for work because nobody knew who I was. I would try and meet as many casting directors as I possibly could, and would request them to audition me. Two years later, I got the chance to audition for my first feature film, LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha.

  • Now, you’re considered as one of the most dependable actors in Bollywood—no mean feat for an outsider. Does that put extra pressure on you?

    (Smiles) Since I wasn’t aware of the fact, there was never any pressure. I enjoy my work, it’s not just a means to earn a livelihood. This is the only thing I can do, and the only thing I’ve ever dreamt of doing since I was a kid. For me, the process of being in front of the camera and portraying a character is meditative. Acting gives me immense happiness, and through my work, I want to entertain people.

  • What’s your process of picking films?

    My first film chose me. At that point, I didn’t have options to choose from. The truth is, I was looking for a break. Before LSD, I did supporting roles in many films. LSD and Ragini MMS were successful, and I played the lead role in both, but it took me two more years to get films like Shahid and Kai Po Che! where I was truly noticed as an actor. I am a greedy actor and would love to hog the limelight for a long duration. If someone, however, offers me a movie where I have only four scenes, but an impactful character, I won’t hesitate to take it up. I always say this, if someone offered me Satya, I would do Bhiku Mhatre’s part, and not the main lead’s role.

  • When you started out, did you believe you would come this far?

    No, and I still don’t know how far I’ll go. I’m not futuristic. I don’t plan what’s going to happen in the next five years. For me, all I know is that I want to act every day of my life. I want to be part of some exciting stories. After all, you can’t control success. In showbiz, someone’s fate changes every Friday. I don’t stress too much about that.

  • Stree grossed over Rs 150 crore. Do numbers matter or you don’t quantify your success in monetary terms?

    Stree grossing over Rs 150 crore meant many people watched the film, which in turn meant it was catering to a large audience. The more people watch your films, the happier it makes you. Numbers do matter, but there’s no definite figure that determines the success of a film. Shahid was not seen by a large audience; it did not make Rs 100 crore, but it’s a special film to me. The best would be when good films make good money.

  • Did you have an eerie experience while filming Stree?

    When I was shooting in Chanderi, a small town in Madhya Pradesh, at 2:30 am, Raj (Nidimoru) sir and I saw an apparition at the guest house we were staying in. Someone told us when there’s negative energy around, the electricity always goes off. Just then, we heard a loud sound followed by power failure.

  • One of the finest performances of your career is the survival drama Trapped. In order to appear weak for certain portions of the film, you followed a rigorous diet of black coffee and two carrots a day for eighteen days. What was the process like?

    I don’t think there’s anything extraordinary in that. My character was stuck in an apartment, without food. I had to make my character look real. If my character is hungry, then I need to look the part. Only then will I be able to find truth in my performance. I can’t hog, and then go and act hungry in front of the camera. It’s better if I just go hungry, it makes my job easier. I can go to extreme lengths for a role.

  • You often pick offbeat films. Do you love masala films as much as you like independent projects?

    I have no grudges towards any genre. There’s an audience for every kind, that’s why we’re making those films. However, my preference is realistic cinema, where the character is more relatable, and the story, humane. The film can be funny, it can be entertaining, but I must be able to connect with the character.

  • Do you feel the Hindi film industry is working towards building an ecosystem of healthy coexistence of all kinds of genres?

    Definitely. The audience is now beginning to accept content-driven cinema. In the last two years, these films have done well, and I’m happy to know that people are accepting such stories. Our films are also becoming more rooted, more Indian in nature. We’re telling small town stories and people like these characters.

  • You featured in a web series based on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Do you enjoy the web space or films?

    The process is the same. However, in a web series, you can stretch a scene as one does not have time constraint. As an actor, nothing changes.

  • Considering you weren’t raised around industry folk, have you found friends here?

    I have close friends, and close colleagues too. You meet people at work, and sometimes the bond turns into a life-long friendship.

  • Who do you see as your competition in the industry today?

    I see my last performance as my competition. I don’t treat my job like a sport, where I have to compete with people to win a title. My job deals with emotions, it’s an art. Sometimes, the script is so strong that the audience falls in love with the character. For example, in Joker, Joaquin Phoenix is unbelievable. He was lucky to get that part. In fact, I would have loved to play the role. Had Matthew McConaughey or Robert De Niro been brought on board for the part, they would have made it their own.

  • Tell us something not many know about you.

    People perceive me as an intense individual. I have a fun side that comes out with friends. I laugh uncontrollably on stupid matters.

  • What’s next on the cards?

    After Made In China, I’m doing Hansal Mehta’s Turram Khan. I’m also part of Anurag Basu’s next. Then, there’s Roohi Afza with Jahnvi Kapoor, and the Netflix adaptation of The White Tiger.

  • You are one of the best actors the industry has today - what is your biggest fear as an actor?

    I don’t want to find my comfort zone, I don’t want to know that this is what people like and so I should keep doing it. I don’t want to be in that trap, it’s quite scary. That’s why I want to keep pushing and keep trying different genres, different characters.

  • Today, Rajkummar Rao comes with a certain brand value. Does that put added pressure on you?

    I am not aware that there is this credibility that I carry now and honestly I don’t want to know it. I don’t want to take any kind of pressure. I’ve been working in films that I have wanted to work in, I’ve been listening to my heart for a long time and I just want to do that. I just want to keep doing that because I can’t work under pressure. I can’t think about what people think I should do and keep doing that.

  • What was the reason for changing your name and do you think it has helped you professionally?

    I was only Rajkumar actually, if you see my credits in LSD or Ragini or Wasseypur. Well, my loved ones wanted me to add that extra ‘M’, I met people for that and they suggested that I should do this to my name. Rao is something that I always wanted to change to because I would read articles where people would compare me to other Yadavs or by mistake they would start writing - Rajpal Yadav or whatever, so I decided it’s not fair for me or even for him as actors. My siblings they all use Rao, Rao is like a title given to Yadavs in Haryana. So decided I wanted to use Rajkumar Rao but then my loved ones also asked me to add the M. It took me a while to finally take this call whether I want to do it or not do it and I ended up doing it. But, it is not like just because of that extra ‘M’ suddenly things changed for me. I think eventually it’s your hard work and commitment which pays off.

  • But do you see a discernible difference in the film industry’s attitude towards you post Trapped, Newton and Bareilly Ki Barfi ?

    There is definitely a change that has come my way. I am way busier than what I was in 2016, but it’s very natural because someone is investing a lot of money and they also want to be sure and I am glad that people who took that risk in my earlier films be it Kai Po Che, Queen, LSD or Ragini or all my films for that matter, but it’s fine. As I said earlier, it took people a while to realise that yes - he can pull it off and he can pull of a Newton or a Bareilly Ki Barfi, so as long as that is happening and it’s not happening 10 years later, it’s fine.

  • Do you personally feel that it has taken longer than usual for the industry to take you seriously?

    I actually never saw it like that. Since 2010 I have been working non-stop and I feel blessed for the kind of love and admiration I got from a lot of people including critics and filmmakers. Yeah, probably they were not giving me work, probably they were not giving me those big films to act in but I got a lot of respect for whatever work I had done. So I never really thought of it like that. I also didn’t plan it like - “2017 I will show it to everyone and I’m going to do so many films and I am going to prove it”. It just happened that way, I never planned it like that. So, I think everything happens for a reason, every thing has a time and in my case it was supposed to happen in 2017, when people would take me seriously and would probably think that I can carry a film on my shoulders now. I also think that I have grown as an actor compared to what I was in 2010. Also, life teaches you, I am more experienced, I feel rich when it comes to life experiences now than what I was in 2010. So whatever happens, I am very happy that it is happening now. So no complaints, it wasn’t as if I was sitting at home doing nothing, I was working.

  • You don’t air your political opinion or views on social media, is it because you want to avoid any kind of controversy?

    No, whenever someone asks me, like you just asked me and I replied. I don’t have an issue, if someone asks me I would definitely speak my heart out. On social media, if I feel strongly about something I do write but I can’t write every day. I can’t just say every day that this is wrong and that is wrong and this should not happen. We all know that it is happening, sometimes I just end up retweeting something and sometimes I just feel very sad about it. There were days when I actually took it very personally and there were days when I felt I was going under depression because I am thinking so much about it, and then I realise I would also need to focus on my work. I can pray that we don’t go wrong and we have a better environment to live in where we all feel fearless and can express our opinion.

  • We see almost similar visuals in Shahid and Omerta - the training in Kashmir for example, however post that their lives take totally different turns. Having played both these characters, what do you attribute this difference to?

    It’s a scary world actually, the process that I was going through while I was filming Omerta was scary too. It’s very subjective and depends on the kind of frame of mind you are in at that point of time. Shahid could have also chosen that path, but he came back, he realised that this is not the right path for him. But there are people of course who can’t realise that and who just end up becoming what Omar became - the deadliest terrorist that he was. He’s still in prison and I don’t know what’s happening to him right now. It’s your consciousness which makes you do things. But, I can imagine that you are so disturbed and moved by seeing what ever that is happening and you take it very personally, that I have to do something about it and as I told you there are people who are just waiting for that to happen.

  • How much time did you take to understand the psyche of Omar Saeed Sheikh and get into the character that the man is?

    It took me a while to figure out, as you rightly said, personally also I could not connect with him at all. I didn’t know anybody like him, I didn’t know about his world, how they function or what they do. But, when I was reading about him, what I could see was that there was a lot of hatred and anger inside him, which was driving him in what ever things he was doing. So, I wanted to cultivate the same emotions in me. I am not at all like him, there is no hatred no anger inside me. It’s there somewhere but it’s not driving me, it’s not my most important emotion. For that, I started watching a lot of disturbing documentaries, disturbing videos, listened to a lot of hate speeches, things that really disturbed him in 1994, how he was moved, and wanted to do something. I started doing all those things with myself. I started putting myself in that situation. Apart from that I also was in London, picking up the language, learning about the culture there and simultaneously was growing my beard to physically also resemble him. I was also working out, trying to be strong and muscular, physically.

  • What would be a good theme song for your life

    Rocky’s (Hollywood film 1976) song Eye Of The Tiger.

  • What fairy-tale character do you associate yourself with?

    I associate myself with a genie. A genie can be whoever he wants. I would love to be a different character in every film. I also want to fulfill the wishes of all my loved ones. A genie would enable that.

  • One mistake you would never repeat in a relationship...

    You should remember that a relationship requires a lot of understanding.

  • One thing you'd like to tell haters...

    If someone out there hates me, then I'd try to be better.

  • Your first thought in the morning...

    I utter a prayer.

  • Name a fictional place you would like to live in for a week?

    I would love to live in Harry Potter’s world.

  • What’s the worst rumor you have ever heard about yourself?

    Some people believe I am married. That’s the only rumour I have heard about myself.

  • You are allergic to?

    Lazy people.

  • Is it easy to anger you?

    Not really. I don’t get angry easily

  • The happiest moment of your life was?

    Getting my first film, Love Sex Aur Dhokha, my first National Award for Shahid (2014) and getting into the FTII.

  • In this first-of-its-kind Filmfare cover shoot, Patralekhaa was your hair and make-up artist/stylist/photographer. Tell us more about that…

    Given the lockdown, we didn’t have all the required hair and make-up products. But still Patralekhaa did a great job. She gave me a fine haircut and styled me for this Filmfare cover shoot with whatever was available. It reminded me of our days in Amsterdam while shooting Queen. Patralekhaa used to style my hair there as there was limited crew. I’ve never bothered about my clothes. But Patralekhaa changed that. She urges me to be more creative about what I wear in my day to day life as well.

  • Since Patralekhaa has moved in with you during the lockdown, what have you both discovered about your relationship?

    It’s amazing to realise I can spend so much time with her. There’s never a moment where we feel that we want our own space or we want to do our own thing. Of course, we’ve been together for nine years now. We love doing things together. We watch a whole lot of shows and films. Through time, we’ve also become best friends, which I believe is great for any relationship. You don’t need anyone else. You can spend all your time with your partner. You laugh together. You discuss your passion together. We both love films. We discuss cinema all the time. It’s fun to discuss what we liked and what we didn’t like about a film.

  • What’s your routine like these days?

    Patralekhaa and I wake up around 7:30 am. After freshening up, we sit in the balcony just to smell the fresh air and hear the birds chirp. We read as we have coffee. Later, we start our workouts. We work-out for almost one and a half to two hours every day. Then we cook and have lunch. Later, we watch a show or film together for a few hours. Then around 6:30 pm, when it’s a little cool, we sit in the balcony again. We may have some snacks or we play Ludo with our friends online. That’s also fun. Then Patralekhaa does her cardio because she works out twice a day. Meanwhile, I play my guitar and then do some meditation. We have dinner. Around 10 pm we hit our bed. We watch a film or a web series. Before midnight, we’re knocked out.

  • How are the duties split?

    She cooks most of the time. I help her as well. (Smiles) I do all the stirring. I also whip up some dishes. Like I prepared sabudana khichdi and some dals.

  • Did you always cook?

    Never man! I didn’t know cooking. But it’s not bad… it’s not that difficult. I’m enjoying trying out stuff. But I’m also missing being on a film set.

  • Any conscious change you’ve brought in your life in this period?

    I’m working out regularly. I used to work out earlier as well. But I did more of cardio. Now, I’m maintaining a balance of both cardio and muscle building.

  • Your dog Gaga must be extremely happy now that you’re home all the time.

    Yes, she’s so happy. She’s thrilled because she’s getting to spend all the time with us. I’m sure she must be wondering what’s happened to these people. Why aren’t they stepping out?

  • You mentioned you watch a lot of content. What has caught your fancy?

    Right now, I’m about to finish the series, The Outsider. We follow a daily schedule in the afternoon and at night. We must watch something for around one and a half hour. We finish three episodes in a day.

  • For someone, who has been living out of suitcases all the time, how has this sudden change been?

    After I finished the White Tiger in Delhi at the end of December last year, Patralekhaa and I went for our annual holiday. I made a conscious decision to start my next film in March. I decided to take a break during the first three months of 2020. Then the virus struck. Never did I imagine that those three months would be extended till God knows when. Since the past three years, I’ve been constantly working. This is a break I could’ve never planned for myself.

  • Are you in touch with your colleagues?

    They’re waiting, like the rest of us, for the lockdown to end. I’ve done four films, which are ready for release. White Tiger is a Netflix original, so it’ll go online. But, apart from that, there’s Hardik Mehta’s Roohi Afzana, Anurag Basu’s Ludo and Hansal Mehta’s Chhalaang. I don’t know what’s going to happen as I don’t see theatres opening anytime soon. I came across some articles saying that producers are pondering upon the idea of releasing films straight on the OTT platforms. We just have to wait and watch.

  • Reports on social media and news channels can put you off. How does one stay positive amidst it all?

    I’m not on Twitter so much. I watch a lot of stuff on the OTT platform. I keep myself engaged with reading. I’ve also started meditation, which is a great thing. I believe everyone should do it. I’ve started cooking as well. Patralekhaa has been preparing some awesome food. I help her out a little bit here and there. There were hardly just one or two moments when I was low and felt the need to go out. But then we are all staying home for a bigger cause.

  • What is the best way to stay calm during these times?

    That’s the only thing you can do. There’s no other option. Of course, there are so many people out there, who’re staying alone. It can get pretty tough. I’m fortunate to have Patralekhaa. I can’t imagine being alone but if I had to, I’d do it. I know it’s pretty hard. But you have to think about the future. There’s nothing more important than your life. By sacrificing a couple of weeks or months, you can participate in making this world a better place. That’s the only thing we can do… pray and hope that things get normal soon.

  • How has this period changed you as a person?

    I’m not going to take things for granted anymore. I realise how amazing it’s to spend time with your loved ones. I’m talking so often to my family right now. I mustn’t have spoken to them so much in the past couple of years. I’ve been video calling my brothers and sisters. All this while, I was occupied with work. We’ve been talking about our childhood days. Getting nostalgic and sharing memories is beautiful. At the end, you need to live for your loved ones. Nothing matters more than them. This race that we’re all in… I don’t know why we’re running so hard. Eventually, nothing will matter.

  • People say the world deserved this break…

    Yeah... (Smiles) Now, we can hear birds chirping. I feel nature is rebooting itself. We were just taking it for granted for many decades. I was talking to one of my producer friends last night. He said he hoped people come out of this situation as better human beings.

  • Once the lockdown is lifted, what are you looking forward to doing?

    I’m going to meet my team, the people who’ve been with me for so many years. My hairstylist, my make-up man, my personal assistant… everyone from my management team. I’m going to meet them and enquire about their wellbeing and whether things are fine with them. After that I just can’t wait to go on a film set.

  • In this first-of-its-kind Filmfare cover shoot, Patralekhaa was your hair and make-up artist/stylist/photographer. Tell us more about that…

    Given the lockdown, we didn’t have all the required hair and make-up products. But still Patralekhaa did a great job. She gave me a fine haircut and styled me for this Filmfare cover shoot with whatever was available. It reminded me of our days in Amsterdam while shooting Queen. Patralekhaa used to style my hair there as there was limited crew. I’ve never bothered about my clothes. But Patralekhaa changed that. She urges me to be more creative about what I wear in my day to day life as well.

  • Since Patralekhaa has moved in with you during the lockdown, what have you both discovered about your relationship?

    It’s amazing to realise I can spend so much time with her. There’s never a moment where we feel that we want our own space or we want to do our own thing. Of course, we’ve been together for nine years now. We love doing things together. We watch a whole lot of shows and films. Through time, we’ve also become best friends, which I believe is great for any relationship. You don’t need anyone else. You can spend all your time with your partner. You laugh together. You discuss your passion together. We both love films. We discuss cinema all the time. It’s fun to discuss what we liked and what we didn’t like about a film.

  • What’s your routine like these days?

    Patralekhaa and I wake up around 7:30 am. After freshening up, we sit in the balcony just to smell the fresh air and hear the birds chirp. We read as we have coffee. Later, we start our workouts. We work-out for almost one and a half to two hours every day. Then we cook and have lunch. Later, we watch a show or film together for a few hours. Then around 6:30 pm, when it’s a little cool, we sit in the balcony again. We may have some snacks or we play Ludo with our friends online. That’s also fun. Then Patralekhaa does her cardio because she works out twice a day. Meanwhile, I play my guitar and then do some meditation. We have dinner. Around 10 pm we hit our bed. We watch a film or a web series. Before midnight, we’re knocked out.

  • How are the duties split?

    She cooks most of the time. I help her as well. (Smiles) I do all the stirring. I also whip up some dishes. Like I prepared sabudana khichdi and some dals.

  • Did you always cook?

    Never man! I didn’t know cooking. But it’s not bad… it’s not that difficult. I’m enjoying trying out stuff. But I’m also missing being on a film set.

  • Any conscious change you’ve brought in your life in this period?

    I’m working out regularly. I used to work out earlier as well. But I did more of cardio. Now, I’m maintaining a balance of both cardio and muscle building.

  • Your dog Gaga must be extremely happy now that you’re home all the time.

    Yes, she’s so happy. She’s thrilled because she’s getting to spend all the time with us. I’m sure she must be wondering what’s happened to these people. Why aren’t they stepping out?

  • You mentioned you watch a lot of content. What has caught your fancy?

    Right now, I’m about to finish the series, The Outsider. We follow a daily schedule in the afternoon and at night. We must watch something for around one and a half hour. We finish three episodes in a day.

  • For someone, who has been living out of suitcases all the time, how has this sudden change been?

    After I finished the White Tiger in Delhi at the end of December last year, Patralekhaa and I went for our annual holiday. I made a conscious decision to start my next film in March. I decided to take a break during the first three months of 2020. Then the virus struck. Never did I imagine that those three months would be extended till God knows when. Since the past three years, I’ve been constantly working. This is a break I could’ve never planned for myself.

  • Are you in touch with your colleagues?

    They’re waiting, like the rest of us, for the lockdown to end. I’ve done four films, which are ready for release. White Tiger is a Netflix original, so it’ll go online. But, apart from that, there’s Hardik Mehta’s Roohi Afzana, Anurag Basu’s Ludo and Hansal Mehta’s Chhalaang. I don’t know what’s going to happen as I don’t see theatres opening anytime soon. I came across some articles saying that producers are pondering upon the idea of releasing films straight on the OTT platforms. We just have to wait and watch.

  • Reports on social media and news channels can put you off. How does one stay positive amidst it all?

    I’m not on Twitter so much. I watch a lot of stuff on the OTT platform. I keep myself engaged with reading. I’ve also started meditation, which is a great thing. I believe everyone should do it. I’ve started cooking as well. Patralekhaa has been preparing some awesome food. I help her out a little bit here and there. There were hardly just one or two moments when I was low and felt the need to go out. But then we are all staying home for a bigger cause.

  • What is the best way to stay calm during these times?

    That’s the only thing you can do. There’s no other option. Of course, there are so many people out there, who’re staying alone. It can get pretty tough. I’m fortunate to have Patralekhaa. I can’t imagine being alone but if I had to, I’d do it. I know it’s pretty hard. But you have to think about the future. There’s nothing more important than your life. By sacrificing a couple of weeks or months, you can participate in making this world a better place. That’s the only thing we can do… pray and hope that things get normal soon.

  • How has this period changed you as a person?

    I’m not going to take things for granted anymore. I realise how amazing it’s to spend time with your loved ones. I’m talking so often to my family right now. I mustn’t have spoken to them so much in the past couple of years. I’ve been video calling my brothers and sisters. All this while, I was occupied with work. We’ve been talking about our childhood days. Getting nostalgic and sharing memories is beautiful. At the end, you need to live for your loved ones. Nothing matters more than them. This race that we’re all in… I don’t know why we’re running so hard. Eventually, nothing will matter.

  • People say the world deserved this break…

    Yeah... (Smiles) Now, we can hear birds chirping. I feel nature is rebooting itself. We were just taking it for granted for many decades. I was talking to one of my producer friends last night. He said he hoped people come out of this situation as better human beings.

  • Once the lockdown is lifted, what are you looking forward to doing?

    I’m going to meet my team, the people who’ve been with me for so many years. My hairstylist, my make-up man, my personal assistant… everyone from my management team. I’m going to meet them and enquire about their wellbeing and whether things are fine with them. After that I just can’t wait to go on a film set.

  • Setting your films in small-towns seems to be your style. Even a bold topic like a live-in relationship in Luka Chuppi was set in a small town…

    I genuinely believe those are the big towns. We have become smaller-towns – the way we’re living in cities. Honestly, the new India is no longer a small-town. We shot Stree in Chanderi (Madhya Pradesh). There’s a small theatre there. Amar (Kaushik, director of Stree) went back to screen Stree there. With the advent of the digital medium and the reach of cinemas, small towns are evolving organically. Whether Stree or Luka Chuppi (was set in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh), they just happened to be set in those smaller cities. Earlier, we used to go abroad to shoot because of the whole ‘Western influence’. But today, it’s more about stories. Now it’s stories about India, for India and by India. In Angrezi Medium, we blended both the worlds. We even went abroad and showed the fascination we have for London. Having said that, you can’t just sell a film based in a small-town. It has to have substance.

  • Please tell us about your film with Kriti Sanon and Rajkummar Rao…

    As of now, I can’t reveal more details. But yes, we’re making a film with Paresh (Rawal) sir, Dimple (Kapadia) ma’am, Kriti (Sanon) and Rajkummar (Rao). It’s based in Delhi. Kriti and Rajkummar adopt old people and their life becomes hellish. The comedy is done in a subtle manner. I believe Rajkummar is unbelievable with comedy. You see him in Roohi. He’s hit the ball out of the park.

  • When will you be directing again?

    Not for a while. Raabta (Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon starrer) taught me a lot. It taught me that story is the most important thing. Even this year, our film Love Aaj Kal didn’t do well. Maybe, because we picked the wrong story. If that goes wrong, everything else can be great but it won't matter. The story has to be relatable. For a director your film becomes like your mashooka (beloved). You can’t see anything wrong with it. My job is to show the director what’s wrong with their story. So as of now, I am concentrating in telling stories as a team and as a producer. The director in me has to wait for the right time.

  • Will Angrezi Medium have another part?

    It all depends on Irrfan (Khan) saab.

  • How did your motorcycling life begin?

    My first bike ever actually belonged to my elder brother. Was a Bajaj Pulsar that I used to borrow from him and ride around my hometown with friends. Of course, at the time, I couldn’t buy one of my own. When I came to Pune to study acting, he gave me his Bajaj Avenger. It was quite something (despite being a pseudo cruiser) at that time for me and I have so many fine memories. But as I got busy, riding became lesser. A few cars happened after that. But a few months ago, somehow the motorcycle bug bit again and this Fat Bob happened.

  • What are the things you considered before buying it - looks, power, reliability?

    I actually contemplated a lot of bikes. And to be honest, whatever most motorcycle buyers look at – well, I went through the same drill. I have to admit though that I was bowled over by this design. I really like its road presence and the way it goes. I had heard a lot about Harleys but had never ridden it. But once I did, I realised this was the one for me.

  • Do you see yourself reach a shoot location on a bike?

    I am hoping too. I know city riding is tough with traffic and pollution but I really want to use this. It would be cool to ride to work on this.

  • Any nice places you have ridden?

    I must admit, I am not a hardcore biker like some enthusiasts. My earlier rides was mostly out of necessity and then of course chilling. I like to enjoy the ride. It is not much about speed or racing but the whole experience of freedom and riding on your own is what works for me. And if the companions and fellow riders also think the same then these rides become even better. I have a few close friends who are also avid yet responsible bikers. I hope to ride with them soon.

  • Do you have riding scenes in your upcoming movie Made in China?

    The main character of Made In China is a businessman. He is also a family man so like many Indians he is always seen riding a humble scooter around. But I have had quite a few bike scenes in my earlier movies. Of course, the most memorable was the one in Bareilly Ki Barfi where in a scene I have to act like an uncouth biker who stops his motorcycle in the middle of a road and is unapologetic about stopping traffic. Of course, I will do nothing like that in real life, ever. I have been riding for a long time but in that movie I had a scene where I had to show that I am learning to ride. It was fun

  • What does your family think about you investing in a big bike?

    They have told me to be careful. But they are happy. Actually this bike is a gift from Patralekha (his actor girlfriend) so is even more special to me. We discussed and she bought it for me so I am going to be extra careful. And that’s my message to other motorcyclists and road users too – be patient and enjoy the ride. There is more to riding a motorcycle than just speed.

  • What would be a good theme song for your life?

    Rocky’s (Hollywood film 1976) song Eye Of The Tiger.

  • What fairy-tale character do you associate yourself with?

    I associate myself with a genie. A genie can be whoever he wants. I would love to be a different character in every film. I also want to fulfill the wishes of all my loved ones. A genie would enable that.

  • What's your first thought in the morning?

    I utter a prayer.

  • Name a fictional place you would like to live in for a week.

    I would love to live in Harry Potter’s world.

  • What’s the worst rumor you have ever heard about yourself?

    Some people believe I am married. That’s the only rumour I have heard about myself.

  • What is the happiest moment of your life?

    Getting my first film, Love Sex Aur Dhokha, my first National Award for Shahid (2014) and getting into the FTII.

  • As a child, were you a popular child?

  • Did your parents have an issue about you getting into acting career?

  • What did you major in college?

  • At the young age when you did theater, did you then realize that you wanted to take up acting as your profession?

  • Why is acting considered “meditative”? How does it work?

  • What was your Big Break?

  • What are your tips to make the most of the opportunities that come in your way?

  • Do you find you can be somebody else when you’re playing somebody else?

  • What would you advice to people who want to follow their passion and turn it into paycheck?

  • When you were in Bombay, did you ever feel bitter of not coming from a background which was show business?

  • What would you like to be remembered for?

  • When you change lines or maybe dialogues, do you enjoy that?

  • How do you retain the purity of being an actor in times where there are multiple factors like brands, image and money playing a key role in any movie?

  • What did you major in college?