Rajkummar Rao On His First Meeting With Srikanth Bolla: "I Was Totally Zapped"

Alaya F, Jyotika and Sharad Kelkar also round out the cast of Srikanth

Rajkummar Rao On His First Meeting With Srikanth Bolla: 'I Was Totally Zapped'

Image was shared on Instagram. (courtesy: rajkummar_rao)


It has been 14 years for Rajkummar Rao in the movies and the actor says he continues to be hungry for challenging roles quite like his upcoming film "Srikanth", in which he plays the visually impaired industrialist Srikanth Bolla.

The actor, who made his film debut with 2010's Love Sex Aur Dhokha, has carved a niche for himself with films across genres like Shahid, Trapped, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Newton, Stree, and Monica, O My Darling, among many others.

In Srikanth, Rao essays the role of the titular industrialist who pursued his dreams despite his visual impairment, ultimately founding Bollant Industries. Directed by Tushar Hiranandani, the film will hit the screens on May 10.

"I don't really plan. Whatever character, film I'm doing at that moment, that's (becomes) my dream role. I'm only focused on that character and that story. I'm sure there's much more ahead for me.

"Like, two-three years ago I didn't know that I would be able to do 'Srikanth', but it happened. (Today) There's more hunger in me as an actor, and there's more fire. There'll be way more challenging characters (coming) my way," the National Award winner told PTI in an interview here.

Asked if he would like to do an action film or a potboiler movie, Rao said he didn't have any such desire.

"But if somebody offers me a film like that with a great story attached to it and somebody sensible is making it, then I don't mind it," he added.

The 39-year-old actor, who has been part of critically-acclaimed biographical projects like Shahid, Omerta and Bose: Dead/Alive, said there is a “duty” towards the real-life character he plays on screen.

"In biopics, you're portraying a real-life character. Some people know that character, if not all. So, there's always that comparison. If you hit it right, you'll get a lot of love because people would be like, ‘Wow, he's actually recreated the same person for us on screen'.

"But if we hit it wrong, then there's a big problem. It's not a responsibility, but there's some duty towards the person whose life you're portraying because he has his people around who know him for such a long time. So, there's some kind of duty towards his life," he said.

Rao was Hiranandani's first choice to play the lead role in "Srikanth" and the actor said he was a bit scared initially to take up the role.

"I love challenges. And, something that scares me excites me even more. And 'Srikanth' did that to me. I've never played a visually impaired man before. I didn't know if I would be able to do it.

"But that's the fun where you push yourself out of your comfort zone. There was so much research that had to be done. Whenever I get an opportunity like that, I totally cherish it," Rao said.

The Gurugram-born actor said he wasn't well versed with Bolla's life story until Hiranandani reached out to him for the film.

"But when I got to know about his story, I was inspired... I thought it would be such an inspiring story. I knew the way Tushar wrote it that it won't be a sad film. It would be a film which will make you smile, cry a little but will give you so much. It will also tell you about an important and amazing journey of this great guy called Srikanth," he said.

Rao recalled his first meeting with Bolla and described the tech entrepreneur as someone who was "full of life".

"He is witty, confident, go-getter and loves talking... I was totally zapped because he's so confident about everything in life. Sometimes I would ask him (director Hiranandani) that 'Are you sure he's blind because he comes across as if he is way more normal than us'," he said.

Alaya F, Jyotika and Sharad Kelkar also round out the cast of "Srikanth". The film is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishna Kumar and Nidhi Parmar Hiranandani.