Bollywood actor Rajkummar Rao has made quite a mark in the Indian film industry and has proven himself to be a versatile and bankable actor.
In a recent conversation with popular social media page, Humans of Bombay, Rajkummar spoke about his struggles in the early days of his career and how the Bollywood Badshah Shah Rukh Khan inspired him to become an actor.
“Growing up, I was fascinated with Shah Rukh Sir, I used to stare at his posters and often think that if an outsider could make it as big as him, then maybe there was hope for me,” Rao said.
Recalling his early days in Mumbai, Rao said, “It wasn’t rosy though – I didn’t get a lot of work after I came to Mumbai. I only managed small ads here and there… and made about Rs 10,000 a month – but still, there were days where I didn’t have money, and I’d call my friends asking to share their meal.”
However, “giving up was not an option” for him.
Rajkummar started his career running after assistant directors and casting directors, hoping for a chance, only to be called in “for the smallest of roles,” despite persistent efforts to convince them to give him bigger roles. However, he did not let that demotivate him, “constantly following up with Atul Mongia till he finally called for the audition of Love Sex Aur Dhokha.” That was the turning point in Rao’s career and is his words, “everything I had worked for culminated in that one moment.”
However, the struggle did not end there and while he continued to do successful projects, it was not until the release of the Kangana Ranaut starrer Queen, that he got the recognition he was striving for and gave him the chance to meet his childhood idol.
“[After the release of Queen] I was shooting in Mehboob [Studios]. And I heard that Shah Rukh sir was also shooting there. So I thought this was my chance – maybe I could go meet him. I sent a message across to him – I didn’t think he’d know me, but, he called me to his trailer,” Rao said.
He continued, “He made me feel so special. I was already a fan, but that day I was probably his biggest. I was nervous and in awe throughout. I once spoke to his posters…and now there he was, in front of me. How can I even explain what that felt like?”
“Remember, no matter what anyone else says, no one is going to believe in you, the way you do – so hustle, and let the Universe do the rest,” he concluded.