Rajkummar Rao, in an exclusive interview with OTTPlay, shared his thoughts on the lack of family entertainers in the repertoire of the current generation of actors.
There are only a few actors in the country who have made their mark in both movies as well as on OTT platforms. Rajkummar Rao is hands-down among the most sought-after actors who with every outing increases his fan base and how! In the past year, the talented actor had back-to-back releases on OTT including Ludo (Netflix), Chhalaang (Amazon Prime Video) and The White Tiger (Netflix). All these films hit the screens last year.
Now, the actor is gearing up for another OTT release which is Hum Do Hamare Do co-starring Paresh Rawal, Ratna Pathak Shah and Kriti Sanon. The film is set to stream on Disney+ Hotstar from October 29.
Ahead of the release, Rajkummar caught up with OTTPlay for an exclusive interaction wherein the actor explained the concept of the film which is adopting parents. The actor stated, "When Dinesh Vijan (producer) told me about the idea, I found it very unique because we never heard of adopting parents. We've always heard about adopting a kid. So I thought that it would be a unique idea and then I got to know about the team — Paresh Sir, Ratna Ma'am and Kriti who is also a dear friend. So I thought it would be a great team to work together."
We see in the trailer that Rajkummar is hiding the fact from Kriti (his love interest) that he is an orphan thus he adopts Paresh and Ratna as his parents. When asked if lying from your partner is wrong as well as difficult in today's technology era, the actor quipped that it's a major spoiler and only the film can give the right answer.
Rajkummar said, "See, it's an entertaining film and we're not making a hardcore realistic drama. So of course we have taken care of that point. But I can't tell you, of course, much about how it happens, why it happens. For that, the film will be our answer."
This is the first time the Roohi actor has shared the screen space with Ratna while he has earlier worked with Paresh in Made in China. On being quizzed if there were any key learnings from both the veteran actors, Rajkummar replied, "I learned a lot from both of them. The kind of passion and the hunger they have to do good work clearly shows in their work. Especially in this film, I was just observing how they perform a particular scene, how they behave on set and I realized how even after working for so many decades they still come with that same passion and they want to make the scene even better than what's written on the paper."
The actor further praised Paresh and Ratna stating, "They didn't just take it for granted that, of course, if they do it, just like by reading it and just performing it that will also be great. But no, they don't do that. They invest their time and energy to make the scene much better. We all know Paresh sir's timing and the way he would improvise on that and the way he would treat everybody with a lot of respect and admiration. There was a lot to learn from both of them."
While watching the trailer for Hum Do Hamare Do, it came out as a concept that is quite similar to 14 Phere. The Vikrant Massey and Kriti Kharbanda starring film also revolve around fake parents and a wedding. When asked about the same to Rajkummar, the actor said that he hasn't seen 14 Phere, so can't comment on the similarities.
Meanwhile, Rajkummar and Kriti have reunited with Hum Do Hamare Do after Bareilly Ki Barfi. While praising Kriti and her evolution as an actor, the Trapped actor was all praises for her. He shared, "Kriti and I have been friends right after Bareilly Ki Barfi. We have been meeting each other on different occasions. It's fun to work with friends, especially with the kind of growth that she has shown in a couple of recent things. She has become this wonderful actor."
Rajkummar added, "She, of course, started with a bang. Then, when you see how she has grown so much as an actor be it Mimi, Panipat and now Hum Do Hamare Do. It was a very proud moment for me to see her perform the way she was performing on set."
Does having four back to back OTT releases ease out the box office pressure for the actor? Rajkummar responded, "Well, I won't say that. No, it doesn't, certainly, the Friday pressure is not there. But the hope of people liking the film, people liking your work, that always remains the same. No matter if it comes to OTT or theatres, we wanted our films to be watched by audiences across the world."
The actor added that he wants his films to do well, be it any medium. Rajkummar said, "We want films to do well at the box office or even on different OTT platforms. So the pressure of the box office is not there. But the pressure of how people would take the film, how they would react to it, that thrill remains the same."
It was back in 2017 when Rajkummar made his OTT debut with the ALTBalaji series Bose: Dead/Alive wherein he played the titular role of Subhas Chandra Bose. However, the medium has become a boom in the past couple of years.
Giving his take on the OTT boom, the actor opined, "We can't deny the power of OTT platforms, it's got millions of audiences There are subscribers and they are consuming content every day, they are looking for better content every day. So I think the pressure of making better films has come on all of us when it comes to OTT. We have the power to just switch channels and just go and watch something else if your film is not holding up well, as per the expectations. But now it's a booming medium, I think it will just grow from here. I believe that theatres and OTT will coexist together. It's a very powerful industry and a very powerful medium. There have been films and shows that have done so well on OTT platforms all over the world, for example, Money Heist. We all know who The Professor is, no matter if it's a language that we don't understand. But we still know about him, that's the power of OTT platforms."
So when will we see Rajkummar in a web series? The actor laughed and said, "I'm waiting for something exciting to come my way and whenever that happens, of course. I would love to do a web series and I'm very open to exciting stories no matter what the medium is."
In the past few years, there's been a lack of family entertainers in the repertoire of the current generation of actors. Agreeing to it, Rajkummar said, "Yes, we need a fresh and unique concept now because we have certainly evolved as an audience also. We are looking for content, which is new, which has got something unique or the treatment is something different from what we've been seeing for many years now."
The actor shared that in regards to the same, Hum Do Hamare Do fits the bill. Rajkummar added, "We're offering something, it's a high concept film. It's a very unique concept as nobody has ever really thought about adopting parents and making the marriage work. As an audience also I would love to watch something very fresh and something which I've never really thought about, that could be the take on this story."
After Hum Do Hamare Do, Rajkummar has a series of films which will be released in the coming months. Giving an update about the same, the actor revealed, "Badhaai Do shooting is done and HIT also we are almost done with the film. Badhaai Do will be coming up post Hum Do Hamare Do, I'm very excited about the story, the film and the way it has shaped up. I have seen the film, that's why I'm feeling pretty confident about it. About HIT, we are in the middle of the shoot and it's going very well. Sailesh Kolanu is the director to look out for, he is amazing. He's a wonderful human being and a fantastic filmmaker. There's also Monica, O My Darling which we are done with the shoot and the post-production work is going on."
Filmmaker Anubhav Sinha and Rajkummar are all set to unite for a social drama titled Bheed. Sharing his excitement on the same, the actor shared, "We are yet to start with Bheed. I always wanted to work with Anubhav sir and I think it is the right story for both of us to come together. It's hard-hitting as in the kinds of films he makes, a social drama. I am just really excited and looking forward to starting shooting for the film."
After playing supporting roles in the 2010s and then going on to win the National Film Award for Best Actor for Shahid in 2013, Rajkummar has come a long way. On describing his incredible decade-long journey in the movies, the actor said, "I'm very grateful, honestly, for whatever has happened in my life. I never thought that all these things would happen to me. So every day, I'm just full of gratitude. I just thank God that I'm living my dream, the dream that I saw sitting in Gurgaon that I want to act in films and it's happening. So, there's just a lot of gratitude in my heart and nothing else."