There’s a quote in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993), “Life always finds its way”. Well, I constantly try to extract positive insights from movie quotes and I can relate that quote with the rise and rise Rajkummar Rao in 2017 and I have modified that quote as, “Talent always finds its way”.
We saw him in Love Sex Aur Dhoka, Ragini MMS and he proved his worth as an actor. He gave one of the best performances of his career through Shahid, proving he is here to stay. But, he was still not much known to the mainstream audience, not that it really concerns actors like Rao whose priority is to give valuable contribution to cinema and prefer glory over glamor.
But when you show so much dedication in your role and acting, there are always people who will appreciate and recognize you. 2017 brought that recognition to Rajkummar Rao and he ruled the year undoubtedly. With Trapped, Newton, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Behen Hogi Teri, a special appearance in Raabta, Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana and the interesting web series Bose: Dead or Alive, Rajkummar Rao won everyone’s hearts with his impeccable performances one after another.
Vikramaditya Motwane directed Trapped is Rajkummar Rao’s finest performances and also one of the greatest ones of Bollywood. Entirely shot on one person, i.e. Rao, his expressions, the change in his attitude and the transformation as he is trapped in a room and adapts to the situation, make the movie an intriguing watch with claustrophobia and you can only applaud the level dedication Rajkummar Rao showed in his character. Actors like him make cinema a treasure.
In Newton, Rajkummar Rao took another distinct role and gave full justice to it. An idealistic government clerk who is standing tall to his beliefs even in a naxalite dominated area and carries out election is a story far better than most of typical Bollywood stuff. I don’t really give importance to Oscars and all, because if a film is good, it is good regardless of awards and Newton is a special movie, made even more vital by Rao’s performance. His conversations and arguments with Pankaj Tripathi and other colleagues of him were mind blowing.
Only a great actor can make any role, even a supporting role, worth remembering. Rao’s character of Pritam Vidrohi in Bareilly Ki Barfi was such a charm and funny that it entertained the audience perfectly. A shy and always afraid Pritam and then, his transformation into the street smart UP ka londha were absolutely hilarious.
Rajkummar Rao was just unstoppable with his films in 2017. Although I didn’t like Behen Hogi Teri much, Rao was effective in the film. His character portrayal in Bose: Dead or Alive is worth witnessing. You can understand the kind of research and hardwork Rao must have put in to perfect the role of Bose. This is how a legend should be portrayed on screen.
The change might have been delayed but it arrived in 2017. Audience took notice of Rajkummar Rao, loved him and also embraced the beauty of content driven cinema. Barielly Ki Barfi, Newton and other films like Hindi Medium, Mom, Lipstick Under My Burka and Babumoshai Bandookbaaz showed a very good hold at box office and entered the profitable zone. This proved that a reckoning has come in Bollywood and audience wants quality films.
I can easily say Rajkummar Rao is the modern advocate of content driven movies along with actors like Irrfan Khan, Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar. Rao also has an amazing line up of movies in 2018 and I am sure he will keep giving us masterpieces in the form of his acting.
Thank you Rajkummar Rao for 2017. Wish you a very good luck.