Rajkummar Rao was the undoubted the star of 2017. He had five releases – Trapped, Behen Hogi Teri, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Newton and Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana. He also starred as Subhas Chandra Bose in ALTBalaji’s web series Bose: Dead/Alive. It’s safe to say, Rao’s performance was the best thing about all these projects.

This year, we see Rao yet again in a different avatar. In Omerta, he plays terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born Muslim of Pakistani origin. Directed by frequent collaborator Hansal Mehta (Shahid, City Lights, Aligarh), the film will release this April.

Over our numerous conversations with the actor about his process, we learnt many inspiring lessons about staying grounded, how to manages your ego, and how to deal with rejection. Here are our favourites.

ACTING HAS NO LIMITS

“How does it (colour of skin) matter? I am an actor. I am not here to sell my fairness. I used to laugh actually. I found those people to be very ignorant. They are still stuck in that era, Hero matlab gora – chitta, 6 foot. I am an actor. Give me any part…Robert Downey Jr. was nominated for an Oscar for Tropic Thunder. He played an African-American. Acting has no limits.”

DON’T SURROUND YOURSELF WITH YESMEN

“I’m surrounded with very real people who work in films, but are very real. We don’t keep yesmen around us who are just there to tell you how great you are. Keep people who will tell you, ‘You know what – that was really horrible!’ And you have to believe it – you can’t take it personally. I love doing my own thing. I feel worried when people say, ‘Don’t step out of the car, let me open the door.’ No! I want to take my own boarding pass from the counter. I want to talk to the guy behind the counter, I want to know his life! I want to talk to the guy in Uber! I want to live my real life. I chose to be an actor because I fell in love with the craft and that’s about it.”

ALSO READ: INSPIRING LIFE LESSONS BY NAWAZUDDIN SIDDIQUI FOR FOR ACTING STUDENTS

IF YOU’VE DONE BAD FILMS, IT’S OKAY TO ADMIT IT

“I’ve done a couple of shit films in my life and I tell everyone that those are shit and I was the most horrible thing in those films. You have to accept it – if something’s bad, it’s bad. You can’t say, ‘Because I worked hard on this film and it’s my baby, I’m proud of it.’ No, I’m not proud of it. Those were shit films.”

DON’T CHASE MONEY

“You have to ask why. Why are you doing it? In my case I’m doing it not for fame or money or because I want people to scream out my name. I did it because I found something in it. I found myself. I found a voice through acting. For me, the process of filmmaking, going onset and living that character for those 2 months of my life is the biggest high. I don’t think I’m doing a favour on anybody by being an actor.”

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