Rao at Berlin Film Festival in 2017
1984 (age 32–33)
Gurgaon, Haryana, India
Born and raised in Gurgaon, Rao graduated in arts from the University of Delhi and later studied method acting at the Film and Television Institute of India. After graduating, he moved to Mumbai for a film career and made his film debut with the 2010 experimental anthology film Love Sex Aur Dhokha. After starring in brief roles in several of the highly successful Hindi films of the following two years, he achieved success for his breakout role in 2013 with the drama film Kai Po Che!, for which he was nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. That same year, 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 biographical drama Shahid. In 2014, Rao played the leading man in the successful dramas, Queen and CityLights. Rao received critical acclaim for portraying a journalist in the biographical drama Aligarh, which earned him a second nomination for Best Supporting Actor at Filmfare.
Early life and education
Rajkummar Rao was born into Yadav family in Gurgaon, India. Rajkummar caught the acting bug on a theatre stage in his 10th grade. He finished his schooling in Gurgaon at Blue Bells Model School and graduated in Arts from Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College (ARSD)–University of Delhi. 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 for a film career.
2010–2015: Debut and 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 critical acclaim and was financially successful.
Rao next starred in Hansal Mehta's drama City Lights (2014). In 2015, he appeared alongside Sonam Kapoor and Pulkit Samrat in the romantic comedy Dolly Ki Doli (2015). In April 2015, Rao featured with Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan in Hamari Adhuri Kahani. Both Dolly Ki Doli and Hamari Adhuri Kahani were box-office flops.
Rajkummar Rao to play Bose in Ekta Kapoor-Hansal Mehta’s web series. 
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|2010||Love Sex Aur Dhokha||Adarsh|
|2012||Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 2||Shamshad Alam|
|Talaash: The Answer Lies Within||Devrath Kulkarni|
|2013||Kai Po Che!||Govind Patel||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|D-Day||Moin (voice)||Cameo appearance|
|Shahid||Shahid Azmi||National Film Award for Best Actor
Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor
|2015||Dolly Ki Doli||Sonu Sherawat|
|Hamari Adhuri Kahani||Hari Prasad|
|2016||Aligarh||Deepu Sebastian||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|Behen Hogi Teri||TBA|
|5 Weddings||Harbhajan Singh||Pre-production|
|Omerta||Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh|
|Ami Saira Bano||TBA||Bengali film; Delayed|
|Bareilly Ki Barfi||TBA||Filming|
|Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana||TBA|
- "Rajkumar Yadav is now Rajkummar Rao". NDTV. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "61st National Film Awards For 2013" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-16.
- "Rajkummar all set to Romance Hema Malini". www.cinesprint.com. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "Raj Kumar : Making of an actor". Mint (newspaper). Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- ""I still don't get car parking in my society" - Raj Kumar Yadav". Filmfare. Retrieved 12 Jun 2013.
- "'I would love to be born as Marlon Brando'". Tehelka. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- "Shaitan is more SprayTan than Satan". Rediff. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
- "'Talaash' review". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Movie review: Kai Po Che!". NDTV. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "Movie Review: Shahid by Anupama Chopra". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
- "Filmfare Awards 2014: The complete list of winners". IBNLive. Retrieved 25 Jan 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.
- "'Hamari Adhuri Kahani' - Movie Review". Mid-Day. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "Vikramaditya Motwane's 'Trapped' opens to standing ovation at MAMI". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 Oct 2016.
- "First look: Rajkummar Rao, Rakul Preet Singh, Hema Malini in Ramesh Sippy's 'Shimla Mirchi'". The Indian Express. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- "Rajkummar Rao next is a black comedy titled 'Newton'". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2 Sep 2015.
- TOI: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/First-look-Nargis-Fakhri-and-Rajkummar-Rao-look-jaw-dropping-impressive-in-the-5-Weddings/articleshow/55560406.cms
- "Omerta: Rajkummar Rao's film hints at a terror angle, see pic". The Indian Express. Retrieved 10 Nov 2016.
- "Raj Kummar Rao is playing a transgender and Anurag Kashyap wants to take him for a date". The Indian Express. Retrieved 16 Sep 2016.
- "Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao, Kriti Sanon team up for 'Bareilly Ki Barfi'". The Indian Express. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
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