A huge Irrfan Khan fan, Rajkumar Yadav isn’t keen on being pigeon-holed. Right from his début with Love Sex aur Dokha (2010) to the recent Kai Po Che, Yadav has sketched his characters with originality and freshness. His latest, Shahid, a biopic where he plays real-life lawyer Shahid Azmi, is said to be the “role of a lifetime” and has already won accolades from the likes of Irrfan Khan, Manoj Bajpai and Anurag Kashyap on Twitter.
Journey to Shahid
Yadav admits to having moved on from Kai Po Che. “Success has not gone to my head so far. My ideologies are simple and realistic. I am on the look out for more challenges, varied roles and can never get stuck in an image,” he reasons. And doing a biopic so early in his career is a definite high. “It was Anurag Kashyap who recommended me to Hansal Mehta (director). It was a huge responsibility and a great challenge,” says the actor, who found that except for some newspaper reports, he had precious little as reference points to play the real-life lawyer. He did the next best thing – he visited Azmi’s home in Mumbai and spent a lot of time with the late lawyer’s mother and friends. “He is truly inspiring. He always believed in taking the right path,” says the actor who became a fan of the 22-year-old Azmi.
On the sets
About frontal nudity in the film, he says, “It was shot as part of the torture scenes in the police station. It is an emotionally disturbing scene and was shot towards the end of the film. But by that time, I had completely turned into Azmi. I insisted on having the entire crew on the sets as I wanted to feel the humiliation.”
A die-hard Bollywood fan, it apparently took him weeks to get over Amitabh Bachchan’s Vijay Dinanath Chauhan in Agneepath. “I always knew I could never do a nine-to-five job,” says Yadav, who is looking forward to his next after Shahid, a love story with Kangna Ranaut titled Queen.