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“I haven’t done anything  like  Srikanth before,”  Is Rajkummar Rao’s  Blind Act In  Srikanth As Good As Naseer’s Sparsh?




The last  portrayal of  a blind man that was  as convincing as  Rajkummar Rao in Tushar Hiranandani’s  Srikanth was  Naseeruddin Shah in Sparsh.

 Rao  spent considerable time  with  the  real-life Srikanth  Bolla. “I  met Srikanth because he is the person whose life I would be portraying on screen and he was very open about his life. I  have spent a lot of time with him. He is such a great guy and so full of life. After going through so many hardships what he has achieved in life is phenomenal. He is a go-getter and a man with lot of passion for his work and compassion for everyone. I had so many questions for him and he was kind to answer all of them with patience. Again spent a lot of time with him, had put him on tape and would watch those videos again and again to understand the detailing of his body language and mannerisms.”

  Speaking of  actors who  have played  blind in the past, Rao says, “Naseer sir in Sparsh and Al Pacino in Scent of a woman are some of my favourite   performances. I saw these films at FTII and loved their work. I don’t know, my intention was never to change anything. I have given it my all and my take to play a visually impaired was very different to whatever I had seen in past. Meeting real life visually impaired people gave me so many nuances to use in my performance.”

 Rao admits Srikanth was  a special challenge in  his career. “It certainly was very very challenging.  It was very difficult. I had to go through a rigorous prep. I started with visiting blind schools and spending hours with real-life visually impaired people. Just observing them for hours from far and then to talk to them at length knowing about what they feel about different situation… How they handle things. It was important to study their mannerisms and body language. I have not done anything like Srikanth before this is the first time I’m playing a visually impaired character or a character with some kind of disability and I knew it would be very challenging and somewhere I was very nervous and scared .I like things which are challenging because that’s the fun of being an actor when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. Whenever you play a character with some physical trails there is a very thin line of making it caricature or do it with authenticity and authenticity comes with enormous amount of preparation and research. There have not been many films made on visually impaired characters and as an actor I knew this was my opportunity to portray something which has not been seen before. Also it’s a biopic so that’s another responsibility. Srikanth had a difficult  life but what he has achieved is something not many people can do. I got to live his life throughout the filming process.”

Ask him about films not  doing well at the boxoffice, and Rao says  he is not  worried.  “Good films are doing well 12th Fail, Madgaon Express, Chamkila. A good story and well intended film would always find its audience. Srikanth is very inspiring and very entertaining. I feel the kind of response we got from the audience for our trailer gave us lot of positivity that people would want to watch Srikanth. True stories always attract everyone if it has something new to offer.

Where does  Rajkummar  Rao  place Srikanth? “I can’t place my films, I love them all of them. I just feel blessed that I have so many amazing films in filmography that I will always be so proud of. I am very fortunate that got to work with some of the finest makers of our industry. It’s a director’s medium and you only grow as an actor working with good makers. My ambition will always be to push my limits as an actor. There is a lot of fire in me and am very hungry as an actor.

 The  actor extraordinaire has another deeply moving film Mr & Mrs Mahi coming up.Is this going to be the year of Rajkummar Rao?

He  laughs. “Thank you so much. Aapke munh mein ghee shakkar. I’m so proud of Mr and Mrs Mahi. It’s a film with a big heart and so relatable. I wish every year to be like this where I have four amazing but very different films coming in one year. Of course saying that I won’t necessarily do  four films every year.But whatever  I do my audience should get entertained and be happy, giving their important time to watch my films. I wish every year becomes a year of great films for our industry.”

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