Rajkummar Rao on working on Stree: 'We had no idea how it would do'

The Mr. & Mrs. Mahi actor made his debut in 2010 with a small appearance in Ram Gopal Varma's Rann and later appeared as a leading man in Dibakar Banerjee's Love Sex Aur Dhokha the same year
As still from Stree
As still from Stree

Rajkummar Rao says breaking into Bollywood wasn't easy and he is happy he gets to do films for a living as he had no plan B.

His latest release Mr. & Mrs. Mahi follows a married couple who face several obstacles in their path to achieve their dreams. Also starring Janhvi Kapoor, the film is directed by Sharan Sharma (Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl).

The FTII graduate made his debut in 2010 with a small appearance in Ram Gopal Varma's Rann and later appeared as a leading man in Dibakar Banerjee's Love Sex Aur Dhokha the same year.

“My obstacle was to get that first film, that first job, and it took around two years. Every day I (would) go out looking for work, and it wasn't easy. But there was no plan B. This was the only thing I was meant to do and supposed to do. And, I'm doing it every day,” he told PTI in an interview.

The Gurgaon-born actor batted for mid-budget content driven films, which often face troubles in finding an audience.

“Today, we are fortunate that we are getting to do the kind of films we want to do and work with these makers. The only obstacles would be for these films (mid-budget content driven) to reach out there and for people to come to theatres, so that we can make many more films like this, and tell these beautiful stories again and again,” he said.

Over the years, Rao has successfully managed to garner critical and commercial success through diverse films, including Shahid, Aligarh, Bareilly Ki Barfi', Trapped, Newton, Stree, The White Tiger, Monica, O My Darling and Badhaai Do.

Citing the example of his previous release, Srikanth, in which he played the role of a visually challenged entrepreneur, the National Award winner said good films eventually find their audience.

"It is up to you (media) to talk positively about films, and motivate people to go out and watch films in theatres, at least good films. We've had examples where good films have found their audiences. I am hopeful that our film (Mr. & Mrs. Mahi) is good and that there will be a large number of audiences for it. Maybe it will start slow, but with word of mouth, which is the best PR around a film, it will just grow from there,” he added.

Rajkummar is thrilled about Stree 2, a sequel to his 2018 horror-comedy. Also featuring Pankaj Tripathi, Abhishek Banerjee, and Aparshakti Khurana, the horror comedy was one of the most commercially-successful and critically-acclaimed film of the year.

Based on the urban legend of 'Nale Ba' in 1990s Karnataka, Stree was directed by Amar Kaushik and produced by Dinesh Vijan and Raj Nidimoru & Krishna DK.

"I was blown away when Raj and DK told me about the idea and gave me the script. It was so refreshing, I totally loved it. Then Dinoo (Vijan) joined as a co-producer, Amar came on board. As a team, we knew we were making something unique and funny. But how it would do none of us had any idea,” he said.

"It became such a big success that we are having part two of it. What changed after that is that people see that it did around Rs 132 crore at the Hindi box office. The makers (tend to) trust you more after commercial success or if your film is a big hit,” he added.

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