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Girls liked me in 'Ragini MMS': Raj Kumar Yadav

Raj Kumar talks to IBNLive about his choice of roles and philosophy behind enacting any character.


Updated:September 21, 2011, 5:24 PM IST
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Girls liked me in 'Ragini MMS': Raj Kumar Yadav
Raj Kumar talks to IBNLive about his choice of roles and philosophy behind enacting any character.

New Delhi: A prolific theater actor before getting into films, Raj Kumar Yadav is a known face via films like 'Love Sex aur Dhokha', 'Ragini MMS', 'Shaitan' and frequent TV commercials. He has earned reputation primarily as a bad guy and partially as a poor boy so far. Raj Kumar speaks to IBNLive about his choice of roles and philosophy behind enacting any character.

Q: Gurgaon, Haryana is not known for film personalities, still you have become a hero. How did it happen?

A: I always wanted to come into acting. I can't exactly recall how had it started, but I guess the idea seeped into my mind when I was in class one. I remember I was supposed to sing 'Nanha Munna Rahi Hoon', which I forgot midway, but probably the memory remained in my heart. Some years later I discovered my side which was completely dedicated to theater. Then I found the confidence to become an actor.

Q: Was there anyone in particular who helped you in exploring yourself as an actor?

A: I was completely involved in plays during my graduation days at the Delhi University. I was a regular performer for Kshitij group. Sri Ram Center for Performing Arts at Mandi House in Delhi was like my second home. I was assessing my limits as a performer, and thus I tried my hands in every sort of roles. That experimentation actually helped later.

Q: And when did you decide to have a formal training at Film and Television Institute of India, Pune?

A: I did not know much about FTII in Delhi, in fact I didn't know anything about it. Of course, I knew the big names who were FTII pass outs, but that knowledge was not enough to made me sure about my future. Then I met one of my seniors from FTII who insisted on me joining the institute, which I eventually did.

Q: Did this decision of joining FTII help?

A: I think it was one of the better decisions I have taken in my life. The life style at FTII was totally based on films. We used to have good discussions and film screenings, which made me familiar to some finest screen performances. There were teachers who helped me in striking the correct mannerism. I still respect those teachers a lot and I am very grateful to each of them.

Q: Any memory of 'Hostel', one of your films at FTII?

A: (Laughs) One of my friends from the sound department asked me to participate in the film. Believe me it was fun.

Q: Did the struggle start after FTII or you got your first break in Dibakar Banerjee's 'Love Sex Dhokha' quite easily?

A: Don't ask. I came to Mumbai in 2008 and started to run from pillar to post to impress directors. Finally, somebody tipped that Dibakar Banerjee is going to shoot a digital film with moderate budget. Then, I met Neha, my co-actor and the casting assistant of the film, and got my first film after lots of hassles.

Q: The scene between you and Neha in 'LSD' was path breaking in many senses. How was it feeling on the sets?

A: It might look like a difficult scene to enact on the screen but it was not so difficult in actuality. Several workshops were held before the actual shooting and thus we had become good friends. Further the director had made me very easy and comfortable on the sets.

Q: Any particular experience during the shooting of 'LSD'?

A: Yes. It was funny actually. I was a struggler so I was into bodybuilding too. During my first round of audition for 'LSD' I went like a dude as I was told. I was wearing a tight t-shirt to flaunt my body and had gel on my hair. However, After the first round of audition I got a call that I have to loose weight and I had to shed several kilograms. I became 64 kilograms from 71 kilograms.

Q: Next time you were seen in 'Ragini MMS'.

A: I was helping my friend Vinod with the casting of the film, but we did not find anyone suitable for Uday's role. One day the producers decided to pitch me as Uday and so it happened.

Q: Your roles in 'LSD' and 'Ragini MMS' were similar to each other up to an extent. Did not you think that you may get typecast?

A: That was the challenge. I had to play the character in such a way that it could look like Uday as well as distinguished from my earlier role in 'LSD'.

Q: How was it different?

A: Adarsh of 'LSD' was clever, he felt about the plight of the girl but did not do anything, while Uday of 'Ragini MMS' was more vulnerable. Even acting wise, both were different. In fact I have heard girls saying "Toh aur kya karta bechara" (What else he could have done?), so I guess both were different at several parameters.

Q: Your films and TV commercials so far suggest that you are creating a separate image for yourself that is of a quintessential cynical bad guy. Don’t you think it can harm you in a longer run?

A: It's true that whatsoever role I have done so far in 'LSD', 'Ragini MMS' and 'Shaitan' portrays me as a character with a grey shed, but they had many traits which made me evolve as an actor. But, the forthcoming projects I am doing are going to change that perception.

Q: Then tell us something about your upcoming projects.

A: I am again working with Anurag Kashyap in 'Gangs of Wasseypur' where I am playing a local gangster. Then I have 'Dhuan', where I am donning a cop. Hansel Mehta's next film is also in the pipeline, which is based on a true story. I am very hopeful about this film as it is giving me the scope to showcase my variety. This film is based on the life of a dead lawyer Shahid Azmi.

Q: I don't know how to put it but your face does not pass off as conventional Hindi film hero face. How do you still manage to get central roles

A: That is true. I think our cinema has changed a lot and now people do prefer characters closer to real lives. New directors do not fall into the trap of established conventions, and further we do a lot of preparation before any role, so it's not very difficult.

Q: Do you follow any philosophy as an actor?

A: See, I will not do the same types of roles time and again. I am not into acting for money or just fame. It was a long cherished dream, thus I am up for those characters that can excite me as an actor. I want to do good films like 'Rambhajanwa Zindabad'. It's a satire cum black comedy based in a small town. I will prefer roles that are realistic, to which people can relate to.

Q: I had read somewhere that if given a chance then you would like to reborn as 'Marlon Brando'. Do you have any fetish for bad characters?

A: (Laughs) Certainly not. I just want to incorporate human elements into my characters. He was one man with fantabulous personality still very human in its appeal. So, its not like I have any fetish for bad guys, but it's just a feeling that "Kash Main Aisa Hota" (Alas! I could be like this)

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