Rajkummar: A National Award doesn't guarantee you anything

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Actor Rajkummar Rao is unstoppable. After the success of Bareilly Ki Barfi, his next release, Newton, made a lot of noise as it was selected as India’s official entry to Oscars 2018, and his drastic physical transformation — a paunch and half shaved head — for web series Bose, is also getting him all the appreciation. 
“It feels great and I am content,” says the actor, adding that it all started when he won the National Award on October 18, four years ago, for his film Shahid.
The 2013 film, helmed by Hansal Mehta, was a biographical film based on the life of lawyer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi, who was killed in 2010 in Mumbai , and featured Rajkummar in the lead role.
Asked if winning a national award gives an actor the much needed high and push, Rajkummar says, “Of course, it’s a great feeling to get a national award and that too, at such an early stage of your career. But then, you never know, as it doesn’t guarantee you anything, especially in cinema and films. [Also] personally, I never thought like now that I have got an award, so this should come my way or that should happen because there is no formula to success. The only formula is to be honest to what you do and that’s what I try.”
The actor, who went on to star in films such as Queen and City Lights (2014), Aligarh (2016) and Trapped, adds that he never planned his career path and went with the flow. “I take things as they come. I don’t believe in connecting too many dots. I just focus on one film; put all my heart and soul into it, and once it’s over, move on to the other one. That’s my mantra.
On whether winning a national award opened more doors for him, the actor says it helped, but only to a certain extent. “I won’t deny that after I won the award, people started taking notice of me. So, the number of scripts I read now is much more than I was reading earlier. So, that has definitely changed.”
He adds, “I feel people start trusting you as an actor, which is very important. Filmmakers, now, have that kind of faith in me and respect for me and that’s what I aim for.”