There may be better actors than Rajkummar Rao, but none as fearless. This actor can do anything for a character. He has played the nerd, the terrorist, the jilted husband , the kidnapper and the jihadi,all in one self-effacing swoop. A look at Rajkummar’s most fearless roles.
1. Love Sex Aur Dhokha(2010): In his very first foray into filmdon Raj played a sex-starved monkey who lures a female colleague at his place of work into an intimate relationship to make a sex tape out of their encounter. I have not seen too many actors play such a lowdown piece of trash so early in his career. Raj’s character Adarsh(yes that was his name!) was the armpit of humanity. To Raj playing a scumbag is as interesting as playing a superhero, maybe even more so. Being good is very boring to Raj.
2. Shahid(2013): Three years after playing the sex-video sleazebag Rajkummar Rao rose on the moral scale to play the controversial lawyer-activist Shahid azmi who spent his life fighting for the terror-accuseds until he was gunned down in his own office by unknown miscreants. This Hansal Mehta bio-pic showcased Rao’s raw energy and his supreme ability to penetrate the very core of the human heart in pursuit of those truths that we hide even from ourselves.
3. Trapped(2016): Playing a a man trapped in an apartment in a highrise for nearly two weeks without food or water,Raj shed over 10 kilos to look like a man who is unlikely to survive his ordeal.Such dedication to depicting desolation was evident only in Tom Hanks when he did Castaway. Alas, the material provided for Raj’s survival story could barely survive its own ridiculous plot premise.
4. Omerta (2018): To the life and goals of man who wants to change the world with his vigorously violent methods, Rajkummar Rao brings a smirking serenity,an imperturbable certainty to every (violent) action manned by a core of “truth” obtainable only to those who believe they are among the Chosen Ones.I specially liked Rao’s conversations in London with his screen-father (Keval Arora). So calm so unruffled , secreting such terrible violence. Rajkummar Rao conveys the unplumbed turbulence of an ocean that’s deceptively calm on the surface.His performance is magnificent without aiming to be so. Omerta is not an easy film to watch. It cuts the protagonist’s movements down to size in episodic chunks and then regurgitates the vivid moments into scenes of colour-blinded documentation. There is a moment where Omar pretending to be an ordinary tourist in Delhi named ‘Rohit’ is accosted by an aggressive cop on the road who tells him bluntly that he ‘looks’ like a Muslim.That moment provides us with a blinding flash of recognition of the problem as to why global terrorism has come to a flashpoint.There are many dialogues and images in this film that will make you wince and squirm.In the uncut version of the film that I saw Rajkumar Rao is fully nude having sex with a sex worker.Nothing artificial here.
5. Stree (2018): Rajkummar Rao, he takes ownership of the film and its peculiar flavour of fear and fun, instilling the two elements simultaneously in several scenes. I dare any other actor to have so much fun with fear. Watch him and Atul Shrivastava in the sequence where 'Deddy' tells son to not go to prostitutes for 'Frandship', but opt for self-help instead. It is priceless.Stree moves in mysterious ways through a labyrinth of lip-smacking interludes, some razor-sharp others blunt to the point of blandness. Even when the momentum of the eerie gets overly airy, there is still enough steam in the storytelling to keep us interested, if not enthralled, to the end.And when all fails, there is always Rajkummar Rao. An actor we can depend on to rescue even the most inept scene from doom.
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