Rao in 2011
August 31, 1984
Gurgaon, Haryana, India
|Residence||Mumbai, Maharashtra, India|
|Other names||Rajkummar Rao|
Rajkummar Rao (born Rajkumar Yadav on August 31, 1984) is an Indian actor who appears in Hindi films. He made his film debut with the 2010 experimental film Love Sex aur Dhokha and achieved success in 2013 with the drama film Kai Po Che!, for which he was nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was awarded the National Film Award for Best Actor and the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Shahid Azmi in the 2013 biographical film Shahid. In 2014, Rao portrayed the leading man in the box office hit Queen.
Early life and education
Rajkummar Rao was born in Gurgaon, India, into a middle  class Ahir family. Rajkummar caught the acting bug on a theatre stage in his 10th grade. He finished his schooling in Gurgaon and graduated in Arts from Delhi University. He was simultaneously doing theatre with Kshitij Repertory and Shri Ram Centre (SRC) in Delhi. In 2008, Rajkummar graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune and shifted to Mumbai.
2010–2012: Early work
After graduating from FTII, Rao spent the next year visiting studios and meeting casting directors. In 2010, he got his big break when he was cast in Love Sex aur Dhokha, after responding to an ad that mentioned Dibakar Banerjee was looking for newcomers.
Rao next signed Ekta Kapoor’s Ragini MMS where he played a negative role. Both Love Sex Aur Dhokha and Ragini MMS succeeded, and his performances in both films were appreciated. He also appeared in Bejoy Nambiar's Shaitan. Raja Sen of Rediff, while criticizing the film, singled out his performance as "reliably terrific".
In 2012, Rao performed a series of small, but significant roles in films like Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2, Chittagong and Talaash. Anurag Kashyap selected Rao for Gangs Of Wasseypur, after watching his performance in Love Sex aur Dhokha. For the role of Shamshad Alam, he visited Wasseypur to perfect his character and accent. However, his character's screen time was considerably reduced in the final script. Rao who was eager to work with Anurag Kashyap, went ahead with the movie anyway. In the critically acclaimed Chittagong, he portrayed the role of freedom fighter, Lokenath Bal. In Talaash, he played the role of a junior officer to Aamir Khan's character. Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN commented, "...it takes Rajkumar Yadav just one scene - in which he's merely a spectator with a single line of dialogue - to show what a good actor can bring even to a small part."
2013–present: Critical acclaim
In 2013, Rao played the role of Govind in the film Kai Po Che!, Abhishek Kapoor's adaptation of Chetan Bhagat's novel The 3 Mistakes of My Life. The movie was a commercial and critical success, and earned praise for the lead performances. Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV remarked, "No praise would be enough for Raj Kumar Rao. Delivering a measured performance as the self-effacing man lost in “the magic of numbers”, he is a consummate scene-stealer." He followed Kai Po Che! with a leading role in the biopic Shahid, based on the life of the slain lawyer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi. It earned praise from the critics with Anupama Chopra writing: "Shahid is Raj Kumar’s triumph. His Shahid has strength, anguish and a controlled anger, but also real charm. His smile lights up the frame. See Shahid for him." The role earned him a National Film Award for Best Actor (shared with Suraj Venjaramoodu for Perariyathavar) and a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor.
Rao then starred in the coming-of-age dramedy Queen (2014) opposite Kangana Ranaut. He played Vijay, a man who calls off his wedding with his fiancée. Rao's performance was well received; Saibal Chatterjee wrote that "He brings remarkable restraint to bear upon his interpretation of the disgustingly conservative city slicker who cannot see beyond his nose. Rarely has an object of derision stood his ground with as much firm intent as he does." The film received unanimous critical acclaim and proved to be a box office hit.
As of April 2014, Rao has completed work on Hansal Mehta's drama City Lights and is filming with Sonam Kapoor and Pulkit Samrat for the romantic comedy Dolly Ki Doli. He has also signed on alongside Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan for Hamari Adhuri Kahani, a romance from director Mohit Suri.
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|2010||Love Sex aur Dhokha||Adarsh|
|2012||Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 2||Shamshad Alam|
|2012||Talaash: The Answer Lies Within||Devrath Kulkarni|
|2013||Kai Po Che!||Govind||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|2013||Shahid||Shahid Azmi||National Film Award for Best Actor
Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor
|2015||Dolly Ki Doli||Sonu Sarawat|
|2015||Hamari Adhuri Kahani||Filming|
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- "61st National Film Awards For 2013". Directorate of Film Festivals. April 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-16.
- "Rajkummar all set to Romance Hema Malini". www.cinesprint.com. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "Exclusive: I really admire Ranbir's work: Rajkummar Rao". Pinkvilla. 2014-05-13. Retrieved 2014-08-13.
- "Raj Kumar : Making of an actor". Mint (newspaper). Retrieved May 13, 2013.
- "Raj Kumar Yadav – a rendezvous with MAM...". mad about moviez. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
- ""I still don’t get car parking in my society" - Raj Kumar Yadav". Filmfare. Retrieved Jun 12, 2013.
- "‘I would love to be born as Marlon Brando’". Tehelka. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
- "Shaitan is more SprayTan than Satan". Rediff. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
- "'Talaash' review". CNN-IBN. Retrieved Dec 8, 2012.
- "Movie review: Kai Po Che!". NDTV. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
- "Movie Review: Shahid by Anupama Chopra". Hindustan Times. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- "Filmfare Awards 2014: The complete list of winners". IBNLive. Retrieved Jan 25, 2014.
- "Heart slowed down when I heard that I won National Award: Rajkumar Rao". Firstpost. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- Chatterjee, Saibal (8 March 2014). "Queen movie review". NDTV. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Mehta, Ankita (6 March 2014). "‘Queen’ Review Roundup: Watch it for Kangana's Superb Performance". International Business Times. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Box Office: Bewakoofiyaan does below average business". Rediff.com. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- "Queen Closes In On 60 Crore". Box Office India. 11 April 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- Jha, Subhash K. (17 April 2014). ""It's been a long hard struggle" - Hansal Mehta". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- Goyal. Divya (6 April 2014). "Sonam Kapoor shoots 16 hours non stop for ‘Dolly Ki Doli’, despite high fever". The Indian Express. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- Singh, Apurva (12 April 2014). "Mahesh Bhatt: ‘Humari Adhuri Kahani’ to be completed with Vidya Balan". The Indian Express. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
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