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Gajraj Rao The  Impregnating Patriarch In Badhaai Ho, Believes In Miracles

Subhash K . Jha

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BadhaaiHo

“It’s a miracle, it’s magic,” actor Gajraj Rao says , and he isn’t talking about his character in Badhaai Ho  impregnating his  wife at an age when couples cradle their grandchildren.

Gajraj is  dumbfounded  by the success the film has got him. “The calls, the messages…friends and strangers are alike are calling from all over the country and  from outside. I never  imagined this film  would change my life and career. But it has!  It  is  all destiny,”  says the actor who has been  around since 1998 .

I tell him  remember  him in the hardhitting real-life tv crime drama Bhanwar where he had played a child rapist.

Recalling his beginnings as an  actor Gajraj says, “It isn’t as if Badhaai Ho is the first role  I’ve been recognized  for. Off and in films like Black Friday , Yahaan and  No Smoking I was noticed and  praised. My last screen  appearance  was  in  MeghnaGulzar’s  Talvar where I had a brief  but interesting role.And my stint in the webseries  Tech Conversations With Dad  for TVFconnected  me to the  young audience. But earlier  when I was  recognized by someone  at the airport or  at an event it was  like, ‘Aapko maine kahin dekha hai?’. Then  I’d launch into  my own  bio-data to tell the  person who I am. After Badhaai Hofor  the  first time I  am being called  out by my name. When someone shouted, ‘Gajraj’ at a public place for the  first time it was  music to my ears.”

 Interestingly this  ultra-skilled actor doesn’t see  his years  of struggle as struggle. “It was  not as if acting was  my only means of livelihood. I  made sure my family didn’t have  to suffer the  consequences of  my passion for acting.”

While pursuing his acting career Gajraj also dabbled in  the  business of  garment export. He also  tried a hand at  Hindi journalism  for a while .And he owns an ad-making agency Code Red  Films.

All these pursuits serve as financial  security for  Gajraj and his  family.  “I firmly believe acting cannot be a  lucrative  profession. Unless  you are a superstar. That  a major role in  Badhaai Ho has come so  late in  my career can only be called destiny. I  never expected to get a pivotal role  like this.  It was Ayushmann Khurrana(who plays  Gajraj’s son) who recommended me for the role. I can’t thank  him enough,  and the director Amit Sharma and the writers  for writing such  an interesting role for an actor who has  never done  a central  part before.”

The world of Kaushik, the character that Gajraj plays in Badhaai Ho, is  familiar to him. “My father was  in  the railways , just like my character in  Badhaai Ho.I’ve spent all my growing up  years in  a flat  in a railway colony. Doing this film was in many  ways a  process  reclaiming  my past.”

The one trait that Gajraj shares with  his character  in Badhaai Ho is their love for  the wife.

Says  Gajraj affectionately, “My wife told me to enjoy all this attention for a  fortnight and then come down to earth.  It is very important  for an artiste  not  to get carried away  by attention.Badhaai Ho isn’t getting  everyone’s love because  of one performance  or one artiste. Everyone poured their  most positive and  sincere energy into  it. I  firmly believe good deeds result in  good rewards.”

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