“Films no longer restricted to region'”

“The films are no longer restricted to a region. Films of SS Rajamouli sir, or the ones like Pushpa: The Rise, KGF: Chapter 2 have done great businesses worldwide…” says actor Rajkummar Rao promoting his upcoming film Hit: The First Case in Kolkata. Souvik Ghosh reports
Q. Hit: The First Case addresses mental health issues which are very rarely talked about.
A. It is very important to talk about mental health issues. A lot of research has found that a huge percentage of people, especially younger ones, are unaware of being in depression or in clinical depression. We should not look at mental health as a taboo. We should take help from doctors, experts, and therapists. My character in this film goes to a therapist for counselling. So we have tried to trigger the beginning of the conversation on this issue. It’s a very important cause and I hope people take it seriously.
Q. Tell us one obstacle you have faced in portraying this character?
A. It was the portrayal of a person who was getting panic attacks. I had no reference to panic attacks. So I had to get a lot of research done, watch a lot of videos of real people. So that was very challenging. The action sequences, which I did for the first time on screen, were also not easy.
Q. How was your experience working with Sanya Malhotra in Hit: The First Case?
A. It has been great. Sanya, who is a dear friend of mine, is a fabulous actor. A great co-actor like Sanya always brings the best from the opposite actor. The task becomes easier. I have been following Sanya’s works for a long time. I was looking for an opportunity to work with her in a film. “Hit” has given me that chance. So I am more than thrilled to share the screen space with her. She is fabulous in the film.
Q. You completely immerse yourself in every character you portray, like you had shaved your head to play Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. How do you come out of the characters you play? Is there any process?
A. Getting inside the psyche of a character is much tougher than getting out of it. Getting out is always easier. But it takes some time depending on the intensity of the character and the film. But eventually one has to come out. So I take two-week off, spend time with friends and families, and reboot myself before starting a new film.
Q. A tough competition is running between the South Indian film industry and Bollywood. How do you view this?
A. I feel the distinctions between the film industries have ended. I think we all are making pan-India films. The films are no longer restricted to a region. Films of SS Rajamouli sir, or the ones like Pushpa: The Rise, KGF: Chapter 2 have done great businesses worldwide. So it’s high time that we all become a part of a single industry and call it the Indian industry instead of dividing it into Tollywood, Bollywood or Kollywood.
So you are back in Kolkata promoting this film!
I am so happy coming back to Kolkata. I love this city. My wife is a Bengali herself. I have a deep connection with Bengali culture.
Q. Are you interested in featuring in Bengali films?
A. I have tried that. I had done a film, titled Ami Saira Bano, which wasn’t completed due to certain reasons. I was very excited about the film. Apart from that, I have no Bengali project now in hand. I have studied in FTII following Satyajit Ray sir, Ritwik Ghatak sir, Mrinal Sen sir. So I am very eager to feature in a good Bengali story. I like to learn new languages, I will be delighted to be a part of a Bengali film. (TWF)