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Raj Kumar Rao on winning the National Award for the best actor for “Shahid”

A name to reckon with Raj Kumar Rao
A name to reckon with Raj Kumar Rao

Raj Kumar Rao could not hold back his tears when he first heard he was adjudged the best actor for the National Award. “It is not that one works for awards but the National Award is something that every actor aspires for and considering it is for Shahid that is relevant for society at large makes it all the more sweet,” says Raj. 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 him,” says Raj. “I had never met Shahid. I came to know about his personality and his principles after spending time with his mother and brother. ”

Raj emerged on the scene with Love Sex Aur Dhoka and went on to do small parts in films like Shaitan and Talaash. “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, I will do it irrespective of the length or shade of my role.” After completing his theatre training in Delhi, he joined FTII and after that applied for an audition for Dibakar Banerjee’s Love Sex Aur Dhoka . Unlike Irrfan and Manoj Bajpayee, who spent a lot of time struggling, Raj is a name to reckon with today. “I am the chosen one. I know I have age on my side and can take the risk of saying no to work which I don’t like .” Raj is now looking forward to Citylights, again with Mehta. Releasing next month, Raj says it is a searing take on urban migration.

Raj has shared the award with Malayalam actor Suraj Venjaramudu. “I haven’t seen his work but will catch up soon.”

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

This award is a tribute to what Shahid took for and I hope it''l go a long way in addressing the concerns of youngsters who were helped by Shahid

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