Actor Raj Kumar Yadav is a man of few words. He prefers to let his work do the talking, and rightly so. After all, he is among the most talked about actors in recent times. Last seen in the hit film Talaash, Yadav is all geared up for his next release, Kai Po Che, directed by national award winner Abhishek Kapoor. Based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel The 3 Mistakes of My Life, Yadav essays the character of Govind. The story underlines the three mistakes made by him. Like his earlier films, this too is a character-driven role and Yadav believes that it is quality, and not the length, that matters.
Yadav had a humble beginning to his film career. His desire for good work landed him a role in Dibakar Banerjee’s unconventional movie Love Sex Aur Dhoka, which was followed by Ragini MMS and Shaitan—all small budget but content-driven films that stood out from the big-ticket Bollywood films. Yadav’s performance was noticed and that set the tone for big offers.
On his career’s meteoric rise, Yadav says, “It is God’s blessings. I am happy with the choices that I made and in the age of professionalism, good work is bound to get noticed.” Hailing from Gurgaon, Yadav honed his acting skills at the Film Television Institute of India, Pune. Thanks to the growing concept of casting directors, Yadav’s wait for his first break didn’t stretch long. “After graduating from FTII, I approached different casting directors; Atul Mongia was one of them. He showed my showreel to Dibakar, who found me fit for the role. His only condition was that I had to shed six to seven kilos. Mongia also did the casting for Ragini MMS.”
Among his recent works, Shahid directed by Hansal Mehta and produced by Anurag Kashyap Film Pvt Ltd, deserves a special mention. Based on the true story of slain human rights lawyer Shahid Azmi, the movie is currently being screened at various film festivals and is gaining much appreciation. On the role, Yadav says, “It is a painful story which had to be told. During the shooting, I got very attached to the character and it wasn’t easy getting over it after the shoot ended. The cause of the movie stays with you. I hope the movie serves its purpose.”
Yadav has the highest regards for Hansal Mehta and Anurag Kashyap. “I bonded very well with Hansal and as a director he gives a lot of space.” Shahid is Yadav’s fourth movie under the Anurag Kashyap banner. So does he believe in being groomed under the watchful eyes of a godfather? “I believe in good work; godfathers don’t count. I agree Anurag has been kind to me, but it is the mutual admiration for each other’s work that made us do several films together.”
A noticeable thing about Yadav’s career is that he has managed to make a mark for himself in many multi-starrers such as Chittagong, Gangs of Wasseypur 2 and Talaash. On working with Aamir, Yadav says, “He is a superstar, yet so humble. He gives 200 per cent to his work. He is a role model for new actors.”
After Kai Po Che, Yadav will be seen in Queen, playing the solo lead against Kangna Ranaut. He says it is a unique love story based on long-distance relationship. Unlike his first few movies, where he cheats on his love, we hope Queen has a happy ending.
Yadav is not a party animal and likes to keep to himself. So, in an industry where networking is so important, what’s his survival technique? Yadav gives a witty answer, “The only network that matters is your mobile network that should be clear; let your work do the talking for you.”