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‘I am the chosen one’

ANUJ KUMAR
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Raj Kumar Rao
Raj Kumar Rao

Raj Kumar Rao on winning the National Award

Raj Kumar Rao could not hold his tears when he first heard the news of being adjudged the best actor for the National Award. “Director Suparn Verma broke the news and my eyes became moist. It is not that one works for awards but National Award is something that every actor aspires for and considering it has come for a film like Shahid that is relevant for the society at large makes it all the more sweet,” says Raj, as one manages to catch hold of him between the shoot of Dolly Ki Doli .

Based on the life of activist lawyer Shahid Azmi, who fought for innocent youth lodged in jails under terror charges, the Hansal Mehta film has been a critical and commercial success. “The award is a tribute to what Shahid stood for and I hope it will go a long way in addressing the concerns of youngsters who were helped by Shahid,” says Raj adding he will soon meet the family of the slain lawyer. “I had never met Shahid. I came to know about his personality and his principles after spending time with his mother and brother. I didn’t want to copy him but wanted to keep it real and believable.”

The Gurgaon boy emerged on the scene with Love Sex Aur Dhoka and went on to do small parts in films like Shaitan and Talaash. But even if he is in a single frame, he manages to make his presence felt. Like the scene in Talaash where the focus is on Aamir Khan and Rani Mukerji but it is him with a single line dialogue who gets etched in the memory. “I don’t go by the length of the role. To me script is most important. If I want to be part of an interesting story.” He did it in Queen where he could have easily been reduced to a male chauvinist but Raj made even that relatable. “Script sense is the primary requisite for an actor,” he underlines.

“I am the chosen one. I know I have age on my side and can take the risk of saying no, ” says Raj.

The award is a tribute to what Shahid stood for and I hope it will go a long way in addressing the concerns of youngsters who were helped by Shahid

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